Nevada says no to Tyson's license request

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

LAS VEGAS -- Mike Tyson was trying his heavyweight best to be contrite and humble. He said he was sorry, and that next time he would learn to control his anger.

When it came time for Nevada boxing regulators to speak their piece, though, Tyson was already out the door.

The former heavyweight champion didn't stick around Tuesday to hear the Nevada Athletic Commission reject his bid for a boxing license to fight Lennox Lewis on April 6.

He was already out in the parking lot, calling Lewis out.

"I think Lennox is a coward," Tyson said. "I'm going to fight him any time I see him in the streets."

That might be the only place the two meet after the commission's 4-1 decision that knocked Tyson out of a Nevada fight with Lewis that would have perhaps helped salvage a boxing reputation as tattered as his personal life.

Tyson can still apply for a license elsewhere, and his advisers figure to scramble to keep one of the richest fights in history intact. But even Tyson seemed to realize that he may have sabotaged his chances of ever meeting Lewis in the ring.

"I didn't think I was going to get licensed, but (adviser) Shelly Finkel was forcing me to come anyway," Tyson said as he headed for a limousine after the hearing.

Tyson left the hearing minutes before the vote.

A fight that would have made Tyson more than $20 million and meant millions more to a fragile Las Vegas tourism economy was either dead or headed elsewhere after the commission rejected Tyson's explanations for a number of problems he has had in the last few years.

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