Originally created 11/21/02

Tyson to fight Etienne



LAS VEGAS -- Mike Tyson will begin his latest comeback in the same ring where he took a beating his last time out against Lennox Lewis.

Tyson will fight Clifford Etienne on Feb. 22 at the Pyramid arena in Memphis, Tenn., where Lewis stopped him in the eighth round of their heavyweight title fight.

"I guess they liked my show the last time," Tyson said Wednesday in confirming the fight.

Tyson's manager, Shelly Finkel, said a press conference would be held next Tuesday in Memphis to formally announce the fight.

Tyson hasn't fought since losing to Lewis on June 8 in a fight that drew a crowd of 15,327 and is generally considered the biggest sporting event in Memphis history.

He will likely have more success against Etienne (24-1-1), who was knocked down twice and managed a draw July 27 in his last fight against Francois Botha.

Tyson's fight with Lewis in Memphis was boxing's most lucrative ever, with ringside ticket prices of $2,400 and pay-per-view sales trailing only the second fight between Tyson and Evander Holyfield.

Memphis got the bout only after Nevada boxing authorities refused to let Tyson fight in Las Vegas, partly because of a melee he and Lewis were involved in at a January press conference announcing the fight.

The city got generally high marks for its first major championship fight, however, and it brought an estimated $30 million into the economy as well as the attention of hundreds of journalists during the week of the bout.

Tyson was also pleased with the reception he got in Memphis, where he was a bigger attraction than Lewis for most fans in the days leading up to the bout.

The 35-year-old Tyson needs to look good against Etienne not only to get a rematch with Lewis but also to bolster his confidence that also took a beating against the heavyweight champion.

Sixteen years after he became the youngest heavyweight champion ever at the age of 20, Tyson was exposed by Lewis as an aging fighter with limited skills who can't intimidate anyone anymore.

Tyson had a rematch clause in his contract for the first fight, though both fighters were allowed to take a fight before meeting again.

Lewis has also not fought since beating Tyson, though he is expected to return to the ring in the spring to defend his WBC heavyweight title against No. 1 contender Vitaly Klitschko.