ATLANTIC CITY, DEC. 8 -- Mike Tyson made an emphatic statement tonight. "He's back," people cried as he tore into Alex Stewart, knocking him down three times and winning overwhelmingly in 2 minutes 27 seconds.
With the three-knockdown rule in effect for the scheduled 10-round nontitle bout, referee Frank Cappucino was ordered by the New Jersey state boxing commissioner at ringside to stop counting as Stewart sat dazed in a neutral corner, the victim of a street-brawl barrage that was every bit as ferocious as Tyson at his best before he lost the heavyweight title in February to Buster Douglas.
Tyson, 24, now 39-1, came out swinging so hard that once he fell. But Stewart (26-2), of Brooklyn, was swept off his feet by Tyson's wicked blows -- a haymaker right to the jaw the first two times, and a finishing hook before about 16,000 in the Convention Center.
"I had to go after him and felt I had to put him away early," said Tyson, after topping an evening of one sided-bouts that also featured victories by Simon Brown and Julio Cesar Chavez. "I just wanted to explode on him. I knew he wasn't going to keep getting up for long. I'll fight anybody."
In the flush of the easiest victory of his career, Brown pledged allegiance to promoter Don King. Brown has decided that he wants the controversial promoter to handle his future.
Germantown, Md.'s Brown (33-1), the International Boxing Federation welterweight champion, took less than two minutes to stop sadly overmatched Ozzie O'Neal (14-10-2) of Youngstown, Ohio, who now has been knocked out in six of his last 10 bouts.
Chavez, the most acclaimed junior welterweight in the world, also won a mismatch -- although at least he was served up a ranked contender. Chavez ran his record to 73-0 while successfully defending two titles by stopping Ahn Kyung Duk of South Korea at 2:14 of the third round.
Brown has been negotiating with King since splitting recently with manager Alan Baboian and promoter Don Elbaum, who are battling Brown in court in an attempt to attach a portion of his purses. "I love Don King," Brown said tonight after his quick work -- or, more accurately, workout.
King gave Brown the chance, however brief it was in this nontitle appearance, to show his punching power -- Brown's first action since stopping Tyrone Trice in his seventh title defense in April.
"That's the man I got in my mind to work with," Brown said of King. "You can't be with a better man than King to get the kind of fights I want."
Brown hopes that King will land him a major money-making fight -- with World Boxing Council welterweight champion and good friend and Germantown neighbor Maurice Blocker, or World Boxing Association champion Aaron Davis.
"If I can't fight to unify the title, I want to move up in weight," Brown said. "I've been hollering for Sugar Ray Leonard for three or four years. I've been knocking on his door but he won't answer."
Brown said details of his arrangement with King were all but settled. "Things look great," he said. "It won't be long."
Brown weighed 150 pounds for tonight's fiasco, the outcome of which was never in doubt from the moment it was scheduled.
Brown sent O'Neal, the so-called "Wizard" but who is only a junior welterweight, to the canvas with a hook about 40 seconds into the fight. Referee Cappucino called off Brown, who threw repeated left uppercuts, after 1:53. O'Neal was helpless.
A stool was brought to him and placed under him near the ropes. "Ozzie O'Neal -- he's okay, let's give him a hand," said the ring announcer a few minutes later.
Ringside observers questioned the sanctioning of such a mismatch. But as they were, Canadian heavyweight Razor Ruddock (25-1-1) scored almost as fast a knockout, disposing of Mike Rouse (14-6-1) of Portsmouth, Va.
Ruddock dropped Rouse for a five-count a minute into the fight. Then Ruddock finished the job at 2:37 with a right hand. Rouse hit the canvas so hard it sounded like cannon fire. Referee Tony Orlando stopped counting at six.
Tyson's performance was reminiscent of his riotous 91 seconds against Michael Spinks. It was the 19th time Tyson had knocked out a rival in the first round.
After being totally overwhelmed, Stewart said: "This is a devastating loss. I didn't expect to get caught in the first round. He caught me early -- that's it."
Tyson mentioned Ruddock as a possible next opponent while waiting for the Evander Holyfield-George Foreman outcome in April. "I'd love to fight Ruddock," Tyson said. "I'd like to show everyone he's not as bad as he says he is."
Chavez had an easy time defending his WBC super lightweight and IBF junior welterweight titles in a scheduled 12-rounder. Ahn (29-2) was knocked down twice in the second round -- first time by a right, second time by a left, both times on the chin.
Chavez hurt Ahn with a short right in the third, then dropped him a third time. Finally, Ahn ducked under a barrage, taking a grazing and tumbling once more. He remained glued to the ring post in his corner as referee Tony Perez signaled a merciful end.
"I think he should have had more guts," Chavez said.
Earlier, Tyrell Biggs kept a shaky career going with a lopsided unanimous decision over Rodolfo Marin of Puerto Rico.
A Don King fighter, Marin had been 17-0 and was being moved up in competition. But Biggs (19-3), who was stopped in seven rounds by Tyson in 1987, proved too experienced.
Although bleeding from the nose much of the fight, Biggs used a sharp jab to keep Marin off balance over the 10 rounds. If Biggs's best days are behind him, King's man Marin may have seen his too.