Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe

Tyson stunned by early KO

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Mike Tyson saved one more shocking sight for last.

Beaten and battered, Tyson laid helplessly along the ropes last night, blood flowing down his face. The former baddest man on the planet stared ahead with a look of resignation on his face as his latest comeback -- and perhaps his tumultuous career -- collapsed with stunning suddenness.

Unheralded British heavyweight Danny Williams did to Tyson what Tyson had done to so many of his opponents in his prime, knocking him out with a savage flurry in the fourth round that may have finally exposed Tyson as a shot fighter at age 38.

In his corner, Tyson apologized to his trainer. Across the ring, Williams celebrated and then proposed to his girlfriend -- who accepted.

Somewhere, lawyers began trying to figure out how Tyson could pay off $38 million in debt when his price will plunge after such a devastating defeat.

"People forget this isn't a peak Mike Tyson. This was a Mike Tyson who was 38 years old," Williams said. "I thought I could win."

Williams ended a wild slugfest with a flurry of punches that sent Tyson sprawling into the ropes late in the fourth round. With blood streaming down his face, Tyson appeared to contemplate the end, then made a halfhearted effort to get up before the fight was called to an end at 2:51.

"I'm sorry. I'm disappointed," Tyson told trainer Freddie Roach.

Tyson's handlers said later he injured his knee late in the first round. He was taken to a local hospital to get stitches for a cut near the corner of his right eye and a precautionary CAT scan. The fight was a free-for-all from the opening bell before an excited crowd at a nearly full Freedom Hall. Tyson landed some huge left hooks early, only to take punishment himself when Williams got over his initial stage fright and began brawling.

"He was a strong guy with a lot of heart," Roach said of Williams. "He showed us things that we didn't see in films. He seized the opportunity of a lifetime."

Tyson, who left without talking, won the first three rounds, but Williams was landing well to the head and when he began throwing punch after punch with Tyson near a neutral corner, Tyson couldn't answer back.

It was Tyson's first fight in 17 months, and only his second since taking a beating from former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis two years ago. But Lewis was a legitimate world champion, while the 31-year-old Williams's biggest claim to fame was winning the British heavyweight title.

The crowd of 17,253 came to see a knockout by Tyson, and when Tyson rocked Williams with a big uppercut and some left hooks in the first two rounds it looked like they would get what they came for. But Tyson was cut in the third, and Williams showed he was going to be the bully in this fight. He hit Tyson on the break, losing a point, then hit him low, and the referee took another point.

The bully was being bullied, and Tyson couldn't stand up to it.

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives