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Listen up Mike: There’s hardly any sympathy for you

July 10, 1997

Mike Tyson is getting precious little sympathy.

From former heavyweight champions to 12-year-old athletes, even Tyson’s own former manager cheered the Nevada State Athletic Commission after it stripped Tyson of his boxing license.

``The No. 1 thing is if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime,″ former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier said.

The commission decided Wednesday that when Tyson bit Evander Holyfield twice during their June 28 heavyweight championship fight, he crossed that ``fine line between boxing and chaos.″ The commission fined him $3 million, 10 percent of his purse for the three-round fight.

Some people thought the penalty was too steep. Frazier laughed at that suggestion. ``It’s a steep bite he took out of the man’s ear.″

Tyson seemed unfazed by the decision: He showed up in Spring Valley, N.Y., and bought a new Ferrari 456 GT _ retail price in the $200,000-$250,000 range.

Wide World of Cars sales representative Nick Saradakis said Tyson signed about 30 autographs. ``There’s no question he’s a real gentleman.″

Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield’s right ear, was penalized, and then bit into the left one. Referee Mills Lane, who disqualified Tyson after the third round, said the commission’s decision ``was exactly correct.″

``A brilliant decision,″ agreed Bill Cayton, who guided Tyson’s early career with the late Jim Jacobs and trainer Cus D’Amato. ``It couldn’t be wiser.″

Others like Rock Newman, manager of former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe, were less enthusiastic.

``There’s a national hue and cry to destroy Mike Tyson,″ Newman told ABC Radio Sports. ``That played a big part in this decision. Another well-publicized, highly administrative, high-tech lynching of a famous, rich black man.″

Tyson can apply for reinstatement of his boxing license after a year, but some feel the punishment should be permanent.

``I think that he shouldn’t be able to box at all. A year (suspension) wasn’t enough,″ said Paville Booker, 12, of Pasadena, Calif., one of several young athletes headed for a sports leadership camp with a heavy emphasis on self-control.

Twelve-year-old Abeni Carr, also of Pasadena, said Tyson ``set a bad example for children that want to become boxers or baseball players or whatever.″

Some residents of Catskill, N.Y., where Tyson used to train, criticized the commission’s decision.

``The only reason they did it is because he’s Mike Tyson and they hate the fact that he came from the streets,″ said Linc Harris.

Oscar De La Hoya, the gold-medal winning boxer and welterweight champion who some believe can save the sport’s popularity after the Tyson debacle, feels that Tyson should have kept street-fighting tactics out of the ring.

``People should not blame boxing for what Mike Tyson did,″ De La Hoya said. ``Tyson is responsible for his actions, not Oscar De La Hoya or any other fighter.

``The commission took action and did right in suspending him.″

Former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, now chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, also applauded the decision.

``We must preserve the integrity of this sport which has given so much to our youth and our society,″ he said. ``Our children now know that such a terrible display of brutality will be met with a harsh penalty, and that it will not be tolerated in any state.″

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