Originally created 07/10/98

Tyson must apply personally

LAS VEGAS -- If Mike Tyson wants to fight again, he's going to have to pick up a telephone and let Nevada boxing officials know his intentions.

On the first day Tyson could formally ask to return to the sport he once dominated, Nevada officials made it clear Thursday they want to hear from Tyson personally before setting a hearing on his request for a new boxing license.

"I want to hear from Mike directly," said Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission. "I will need to talk to him before we do anything."

A year after Tyson's license was revoked and he was fined $3 million for biting Evander Holyfield's ears, the former heavyweight champion became eligible Thursday to apply for a new license that would allow him to return to the ring.

No such request had been made to the commission by midday, however, and both Ratner and members of the commission say it will have to come from Tyson himself. That's because, they don't know who is representing Tyson.

"Every time we turn around we have another person representing him or meeting with him," said Dr. James Nave, a commission member. "As far as I know, nobody has given us anything in writing to indicate they are representing him."

In the year since his license was revoked, Tyson split from promoter Don King and his former co-managers, Rory Holloway and John Horne, claiming they took millions of dollars from him that were rightfully his.

In February, Tyson aligned himself with Hollywood agents Jeff Wald and Irving Azoff, but that relationship has since cooled. Recently, fight manager Shelly Finkel said he represents the boxer.

Finkel said in June that Tyson would apply for a new license this month, with hopes of a comeback fight in October or November.

Nave, who was influential in the decision to revoke Tyson's license instead of suspending him from boxing for a set period of time, said he and other commissioners have paid little attention to the one-year anniversary of the license revocation.

"I know people will find that hard to believe but we really haven't talked about it," Nave said.

Nave said he remains comfortable with the decision the commission made in the wake of the June 28, 1997, WBA heavyweight title fight that ended when Tyson was disqualified in the third round after biting a chunk out of Holyfield's right ear, then biting his left ear.

"My number one emotion at the time was sadness and it remains so," Nave said. "What a wonderful night that could have been for the sport. Then, in a split second, it disappeared."

Tyson, whose only venture into the ring since the biting was an appearance at Wrestlemania in March that paid him $3.5 million, reportedly has been training on the East Coast for an eventual return to the sport.

If the commission grants him a license, he would be expected to first have a tuneup fight such as he did when he fought Peter McNeeley after being released from prison in 1995.

The biggest money fight for Tyson remains a rematch with Holyfield, who has beaten him twice. Holyfield has not ruled out such a fight, especially since he has been unable to come to terms on a title unification fight with WBC champion Lennox Lewis.


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