Mike Tyson misses the roar of the crowd, the glare of the spotlight and the sounds of a heavyweight bout.
And he needs the money.
So the former champion, who squandered $300 million and now is in debt, will end a two-plus year stretch of virtual inactivity by fighting Englishman Danny Williams at Freedom Hall in Louisville on July 30.
"I love to do what I do to pay all of my bills," Tyson said at a news conference yesterday in Louisville.
Tyson (50-4) now is known more for his debt, his face tattoo and his increasingly bizarre behavior in and out of the ring than his once-feared boxing skills. But in spite of that -- or maybe because of it -- he remains a major draw for the sport, especially in a heavyweight division devoid of star power. His bout with Williams will be on Showtime pay-per-view.
The 6-foot-3 Williams (31-3), who will turn 31 next month, is four inches taller than Tyson and has an eight-inch reach advantage. As usual, however, Tyson's biggest obstacle likely will be himself. His adviser, Shelly Finkel, said at yesterday's news conference that Tyson looks the best he has in years. And his trainer, Freddie Roach, said, "there is not a champion out there that he cannot beat."
But Tyson, who turns 38 today, has fought just once since getting knocked out by Lennox Lewis in the eighth round of their fight on June 8, 2002 -- and that was for just 49 seconds, when he floored Clifford Etienne more than 15 months ago.
"I have been foolish not to fight," Tyson said. "I have been a fool for 16 months."
-- Jake Schaller