Don’t get excited about Tyson’s win
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson proved he can beat up an inferior fighter Saturday night in England – and that really doesn’t prove anything.
His fight against unknown and not-very-good Julius Francis went just the way it was supposed to, as Tyson bullied and dominated Francis, who is the current British heavyweight champion. Sort of a no-harm, no-foul (no pun intended) kind of fight that seemed to please the 21,000-plus fans in attendance but did little for boxing or for Tyson except get Tyson an easy win after his last few disastrous fights. This was only Tyson’s second win in his last five fights.
The fight, shown on same-day tape by Showtime, did prove that Tyson can still fool most of the public, at least in England if not in the United States.
Tyson, who couldn’t even sell-out his last two Las Vegas fights, did fool enough British fans into paying to see him dispose of a soft and flabby Francis, who outweighed Tyson by 20 pounds. But that extra weight was all blubber and Tyson took advantage of that once the first bell rang.
That first bell took forever in coming, I might add. First the fighters each made elaborate ring entrances under lots of noise, blaring strobe lights and music and it took forever before they were both in the ring and ready to fight.
After the usual poker-faced staredown, the bell finally rang and the “fight” began. Francis, 21-8 with 11 KO’s, was made-to-order for Tyson. He came right at him and tried – something he at least deserves credit for. Francis proved an easy target for Tyson.
Tyson began by missing some wild lefts and rights aimed at Francis head, so he adjusted and started hitting that body and put Francis down with a body shot. Francis got up, went down again at the end of the round from a stiff left jab, and again got up and beat the count.
Tyson, now 47-3 with 41 KO’s and one no contest, still was hitting a lot of air with his head shots, but he did connect on some shots as Francis offered little in return. Francis was down three more times in round two and the fight was stopped on the third knockdown. Official time of the KO was 1:03 of round two.
Don’t be fooled by what happened. Tyson always looks good when things go his way. It’s when the other guy fights back that Tyson’s problems begin.
Francis did nothing to cause Tyson any problems and the former champ had a field day against a foe who didn’t offer much in the way of an attack or show any semblance of a strategy that would allow him a chance to win. Tyson walked right through him and had a field day with Francis.
So Tyson’s career continues and after a few more not-so-dangerous fights, he will challenge Lennox Lewis for the undisputed world title and people will buy it. Maybe P.T. Barnum was right. There is a sucker born every minute!
– Some other stuff about the fight. Tyson was a 16-1 favorite at those few places that posted a line on the fight. The fans cheered and were for Tyson even though Francis is their champion and a native of Woolich, England. The referee for the fight was one Roy Francis. No, he wasn’t related to Julius, but it struck me as funny anyway.
Finally, if you didn’t know, only the referee scores the fight in England. If the fight would have gone the full 10-rounds, after the final bell the ref would have walked over and raised the hand of the winner – and that’s that!
– Yerington’s Jesse Brinkley fought at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas last week and knocked out Omaha’s Jason Dietrich in the second round. Brinkley, who headlined and won at the annual “Back Alley Fights” in Yerington in September of last year, fights as a middleweight. He is expected to headline this year’s Yerington fight card also.
– Well, January is gone and, as far as fight fans are concerned, it was a poor month for fights that looked good on paper but turned into busts in the ring.
The Roy Jones snoozer and the James Toney fights come to mind. Both stunk, as did most of the TV fights shown last month, and I include the Tyson mismatch among them. Maybe February will be better.
This month, there will be the usual Friday night fights on ESPN2 as well as the Sunday FOX fights and both premium cable channels, HBO and Showtime, have cards coming this month.
Showtime features Kostya Tazyu defending his WBC super lightweight title against Ahmed Santos and Zab Judah fighting Jan Bergman for Judah’s IBF junior welterweight title. That’s on Feb. 12. By the way, the junior welterweight and super lightweight titles are the same, just different names. Both are fought with a 140-pound limit.
HBO has a Feb. 19 card featuring Oscar De La Hoya in his first fight since his first loss to Felix Trinidad. Oscar fights Derrell Cooley and in the semi-main on that card, and Arturo Gatti tangles with Joey Gamache in what should be a war.
Let’s hope this month the TV fights are better than they were last month. My feeling is they will be, because it would be difficult to have worse fights than what we got last month.
Alan Rogers is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer.