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How Danny Williams Should Try to Fight Mike Tyson

BY Frank Lotierzo ON July 19, 2004
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With his upcoming bout with former Champ Mike Tyson, British Heavyweight Danny Williams has been under the microscope. He is getting more attention than he ever has in his life. No doubt he is being pulled in more directions than he ever has before by people he doesn't even know, who he'll most likely never see again. That is unless somehow he pulls off the unimaginable, and actually beats Tyson on July 30th. It has crossed my mind lately as to if he has any type of fight plan that is being implemented into his training?

This is a must when heading into a fight with Tyson. No way can a fighter who is not a great talent like Williams just show up with gloves on and throw punches and hope to win. There is a way to fight Tyson, and there are things that a fighter shouldn't do against him, especially early in the fight!

Williams must keep it in the forefront of his mind that Tyson harbors fear and has self-doubt before all of his fights, just like any other fighter does. The difference is, Tyson starts off extremely fast, but is vulnerable to having his confidence shaken more so than other past greats. Tyson feeds off his opponents fear, and second guesses himself when the opponent meets him with stern resistance. Mike Tyson is the ultimate front runner. The key is to try and not let him gain confidence as the bout progresses.

When fighting Tyson the mental aspect plays a huge part. Williams has two choices. He can show Tyson respect and try not to make him mad, which will kill any chance he has at possibly scoring the upset. Or, he can fight fire with fire, in the hopes that he'll plant a seed of doubt in Mike's mind, thus increasing his chance of winning. I say, stare Tyson down at center ring. Glare back in the nastiest face possible showing him that if nothing else, he has to fight in order to get the win this time. In others words -- Mike, you don't win tonight by just showing up wearing gloves and a Sonny Liston-George Foreman type scowl.

No doubt at the first bell Tyson will storm out of his corner throwing bombs looking to win the fight in the first round, either mentally or physically. Williams should also come out fast, but looking to tie Tyson up and push him back. Williams must impose his physical size and strength on Tyson. Although he is a tremendous puncher, I don't believe Tyson has freakish physical strength. Remember, Buster Mathis Jr. backed him up in the first couple of rounds in their fight, and Buster doesn't punch as hard as Lalia Ali, and I doubt that he's much stronger. The fact is Tyson can't fight a lick when forced or pushed back. The problem is not many have tried this, nor do they know how to do it. If Williams keeps his hands up and his chin over Tyson's shoulder, he can't get hit with anything meaningful while walking him back.

Williams also must try and extend the fight, make it to the third round. The longer the fight goes, the less effective Tyson becomes. Granted, for the first couple rounds Tyson is as dangerous as any Heavyweight ever. However, he does wind down. Swarmers like Rocky Marciano and Joe Frazier were slow starters and a little bit vulnerable early. The difference with them, as opposed to Tyson, was the longer the fight went the more dangerous they became and the more they worked their opponents over. Rocky and Joe got stronger as the fight progressed. On the other hand, Tyson doesn't have nearly the stamina that Rocky and Joe had. The longer opponents were in against Marciano and Frazier, the more of a beating they took, compared with Tyson whose opponents chances of being successful increase the deeper the fight goes.

When fighting Tyson, his opponent must try to land something solid, at least get the crowd standing. Tyson senses this and sometimes he'll panic thinking his opponent is winning the crowd over. The trick is, Williams must do so throwing straight, conventional punches. Williams must throw nothing but jabs and straight right hands against Tyson, especially early. He shouldn't even think about throwing hooks until later in the fight. This will do two things: it will keep Tyson from walking him down with impunity and will knock him off balance keeping him out of range where he is most effective. Tyson has to be inside to make his short reach work for him, as is the case with all swarmers. The other thing this does is it makes Williams less vulnerable to Tyson's looping punches. The fact is, straight punches get there first, and you don't have to be in Tyson's power range to land them. This will also enable Williams to bring his hands back high while keeping his chin tucked. This will give Williams the best chance at scoring without putting himself in position of being caught with one of Tyson's looping hooks.

A little lateral movement to the left will suit Williams also. This will force Tyson to use some energy in trying to corner Williams, and it may force him to take some chances, leaving himself open and in position to be countered or to walk into something big. Remember, Williams doesn't have to get it all in one shot, he just has to be consistent in chipping away and landing something telling during the course of the round as the fight progresses.

This is the biggest spot of Danny Williams’ career. As Cus D'Amato used to pound into Tyson's head, make the fear your friend. You have nothing to lose, just don't be foolish. Don't show Tyson any respect in the week leading up to the fight. Be ready for his early attack at the bell, and meet it smartly. Use your size and strength and let him feel that not only can you manhandle him, but you're going to do so throughout the fight. Keep your chin down and your hands up. Throw nothing but straight jabs and right hands for the first third of the fight. If the opportunity presents itself, hit Tyson on the break or at the bell like Evander Holyfield did. Send a message early that you're not like some of the others who folded under the pressure. Williams shouldn't worry about losing points, this fight most likely isn't going to a decision.

Try and extend the fight, Tyson has been out of the ring and is rusty. No doubt he questions his stamina. Fight smart and be patient in the early going, don't panic because he'll slow down and start looking for one punch. Try to make him think during the fight, and don't let him fight on instinct. When you sense him thinking, that's when you have to let your hands go. Straight punches in the beginning followed by hooks and uppercuts when he is following and becomes desperate.

If Danny Williams is in peak shape, which I'm assuming he will be, than he can make it very difficult for Tyson. It's paramount that he establishes his physical and mental strength early. If Williams can make it to the sixth round he has a shot as long as he hasn't taken a beating up to that point. If Williams is around after the sixth round, Tyson will be starting to wind down while looking for one punch. This is when Williams must pick up the pace and try to pull the fight out.

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