DETROIT -- Former boxing great Thomas Hearns is trying to lure the Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis fight to Michigan, filing paperwork with the state requesting to stage a bout at the Pontiac Silverdome on April 6.
Tyson and Lewis were scheduled to fight for the heavyweight title that night in Las Vegas, but Nevada officials voted 4-1 last month to deny Tyson a license to fight in the state.
Tyson also applied in Texas for a license to fight. Texas appears to be the front-runner at the moment, with Michigan having a lesser chance. Tyson also is expected to apply for a license in California.
Hearns, now a promoter, remains optimistic.
"Right now, I think we have a 50-50 chance," Hearns said Friday.
His company, Hearns Entertainment Inc., on Wednesday filed notice and a $50 fee with the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services, said Maura Campbell, department spokeswoman.
The application doesn't name boxers who will fight at the event. Out-of-state boxers typically are licensed the night of an event.
Michigan can only deny a boxer's license if he is on suspension in any other state, in jail or fails a pre-fight physical, Campbell said. However, a bill being considered by a state House committee would require boxing license applicants to demonstrate "good moral character."
State Rep. Andrew Raczkowski, who introduced the bill, issued a statement Friday urging the Legislature to approve it so Tyson would be unable to fight in Michigan.
"For the good of the state and the sport as a whole, unsavory characters should be denied access," Raczkowski said.
Shelly Finkel, Tyson's adviser, has said seven states have expressed interest in a Tyson-Lewis fight.
Lewis has said his WBC mandatory defense against Tyson won't happen on April 6 and that he might fight another opponent. Lewis, however, remains under contract for a Tyson fight.
The WBC has let it be known that it expects Lewis to fight the top-ranked Tyson before he fights anyone else.
"I understand that Texas and California are very strong contenders," Lewis trainer Emanuel Steward said Friday.
Texas officials would say only that they received Tyson's application and that department of licensing Executive Director Bill Kuntz will decide whether to approve it. Deputy Director Brian Francis said there was no timeline for a decision.
Officials at the Astrodome in Houston and the Texas Motor Speedway have expressed interest in hosting the fight.
A copy of Tyson's Texas application was not immediately available.
Steward, who runs Detroit's famed Kronk Gym, said Lewis has expressed no preference on a location for a proposed fight with Tyson.
Hearns said the ultimate decision on the fight's location rests with HBO, Showtime and Finkel.
In January 2001, state regulators suspended Tyson's Michigan boxing license for 90 days and fined him $5,000 for refusing to submit to a urine test before an October 2000 fight against Andrew Golota at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Michigan regulators said Tyson tested positive for marijuana after he defeated Golota.
"Mike knows how Detroit is. He's been here before," Hearns said.
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