ATLANTIC CITY, OCT. 15 -- Mike Tyson sees no way he can lose. Not Friday night in Convention Hall against Tyrell Biggs. Not ever.
"No matter what performance I give, there's nobody who can beat me," said Tyson (31-0, 27 knockouts) on the eve of a scheduled 15-rounder (HBO at 10 p.m.) with Biggs (15-0, 10 knockouts).
By beating Tony Tucker by a decision in August, Tyson became the first undisputed heavyweight champion -- recognized by boxing's three sanctioning bodies -- since Leon Spinks upset Muhammad Ali in February 1978. Tyson, a 10-1 favorite Friday night, and his comanagers, Jim Jacobs and Bill Cayton, seemingly couldn't be more confident that Biggs poses no threat to the title.
George Benton, Biggs' trainer, professes that he has a "plan" to win. But Jacobs ridiculed "this magnificent plan," saying, "I heard the plan that Trevor Berbick had, I heard the plan that Pinklon Thomas had, and I heard about the plan of James (Bonecrusher) Smith, and Tony Tucker." These were Tyson's four most recent victims.
"People have told me about what Benton is saying and the plan he has," said Cayton. "They have told me that Tyrell Biggs has the best jab in boxing. That he is a magnificent boxer. That he is going to be trouble for Mike like Mike has never had. And I believe them. I think they're telling the truth. So that I think you'll be pleased to recognize the great ability of Mike Tyson when he knocks Tyrell Biggs cold."
Tyson, only 21, has plenty to learn, and is still climbing to his peak. He likes to let Jacobs and Cayton do most of the talking; Jacobs and Cayton like to keep him busy in the ring. Because of his frequent bouts, Tyson was asked at a news conference when he had time for "fun." His trainer, Kevin Rooney, handled that question: "He'll have fun Friday night."
Rooney sees Tyson improving with each opponent. "Everything in general," he said. "He's a better fighter all around."
Biggs' only chance appears to be to score points with his jab. But Tyson seemed unworried. "No way he's going to beat me no matter what he does."
Only Michael Spinks, who destroyed Gerry Cooney in June, appears to be a match for Tyson.
"My managers have their own opinion about Spinks," said Tyson. "I would fight him. I would love to fight him. I'll fight anybody."
Now, Jacobs and Cayton, wily managers, appear content to let Tyson develop his skills, and let the demand for a Tyson-Spinks fight drive up the guarantee, before coming to terms with Spinks' advisers. That can't happen, it appears, before next fall.
Jacobs and Cayton want Tyson to fight former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes in January, then travel to Japan for a March fight, then perhaps meet Britain's Frank Bruno early next summer. Jacobs said Tyson can make $25 million next year; Friday, he'll earn $2.5 million to Biggs' $1 million.
The 6-foot-4 1/2 Biggs will have a nine-inch reach advantage over Tyson, and Benton has said -- and this is all he has said about his "plan" -- that Biggs will find a "safety zone" in the ring from which he can throw punches but not receive many in return.
But most observers believe Tyson will put Biggs away with his punching power; Biggs' only hope of survival would be to backpedal as Bonecrusher Smith did against Tyson in March.
That fight demonstrated how an opponent's strategy often has to be revised when Tyson goes on the attack. If Smith hadn't planned to keep so distant from Tyson, he was persuaded to as soon as the aggressive Tyson landed powerful shots in the first round.
Tyson's body punching can be devastating. His most lethal weapon is his left hand -- a jab followed by a hook. And he has plenty of power with a straight right hand.
"I'm in great shape," said Tyson. "I'm the best fighter in the world."