Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
In an upset surpassed perhaps only by his loss to James "Buster" Douglas during the pinnacle of his career, Mike Tyson was knocked out by British heavyweight Danny Williams on Friday night at 2 minutes 51 seconds of the fourth round in front of a stunned crowd of 17,273 at Freedom Hall.
Williams, who stood up to a barrage of big punches by Tyson early, threw an almost inconceivable amount of power punches -- 16 in a row -- to stagger Tyson in the fourth. Tyson followed with a desperate, lunging right hand that missed, and Williams went back to work. He landed a five-punch combination, ending with a right hand that sent Tyson falling backward into the ropes. Tyson crumpled to the canvas as the crowd erupted.
"No doubt this is the greatest feeling in the world," said Williams, a 9-1 underdog who improved to 32-3 with his 27th knockout. "And by far my biggest moment in boxing. I said I would get him after the fourth round, but we didn't quite make it that far. I proved people wrong. They have to take me seriously now."
A dazed Tyson left the ring without speaking and did not attend the post-fight news conference. He instead went to the Norton Audubon Hospital for a CT scan on his left knee, which appeared to give out in the first round.
Williams, meantime, made his Cinderella story even sweeter by asking his girlfriend, Zoe Browne, to marry him in the ring. She said yes. Williams did not think Browne was coming to the fight, but she surprised him with their two young daughters in the ring after the knockout.
Tyson (50-5, 44 KOs), who was fighting for the first time since he knocked out Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds 17 months ago and just the second time since his humbling loss to Lennox Lewis in June 2002, looked sharp at the start of the fight and looked as if he might make short work of Williams.
He staggered Williams with a left hook midway through the round and landed another moments later that left Williams hanging on desperately. Tyson also landed two booming body shots in the round.
Williams seemed to hurt Tyson momentarily in the second with a left hook, and there was good action throughout the round, with the fighters trading blows in the corner.
"He hurt me for a few seconds," Williams said. "But if you've seen my fights, you'll know I'm always at my worst in the first few rounds."
Tyson not only was scoring with big shots, he was showing some of the head movement and quickness that helped define his prime. But the tide turned in the third round.
Williams, who checked in at 265 pounds, had two points deducted in the third round on questionable calls by the referee -- for a punch thrown after a clinch and for a low blow. During a timeout in the round, a cut appeared around Tyson's right eye. Knowing he had to end the fight quickly, Tyson was aggressive for the rest of the round, but, as he said he would, Williams did not back down.
"Williams was laying on him, I think his weight wore him out," said Tyson's trainer, Freddie Roach. "He had a great amount of firepower. Mike moved his head well through good combinations. Williams took a lot of hard, hard shots. He's got a lot of heart."
By Round 4, Tyson, who was fighting at 233 pounds -- his third-heaviest weight for a fight -- appeared fatigued, especially after a big left hook from Williams. Then, toward the end of the round, Williams started on the combination that ended it. Peppering Tyson -- right, left, right, left -- in the 16-punch combination that had a nearly 100 percent success rate.
"I was sure I was going to win," Williams said. "I trained for this kind of fight. Tyson still has tremendous punching power, but I saw from the [Evander] Holyfield fights that if you keep throwing punches, he doesn't recover all that well."
Tyson now may not recover financially. Friday's upset seriously hurt -- if not derailed -- Team Tyson's plan to recoup the staggering debt the boxer has incurred after squandering an estimated $400 million.
Tyson is $38 million in debt, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records, owing money to at least 246 creditors. His handlers recently submitted a bankruptcy reorganization plan that, starting with Friday's bout against Williams, would schedule Tyson for as many as seven fights in the next three years.