Choose One: USA Vs. Iraq Lewis Vs. Tyson II By Rick Folstad  
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Thursday January 30, 2003

? ???? There’s supposed to be drama in a prize fight. There’s supposed to be suspense, momentum shifts, knockdowns, rallies and last-second possibilities.

In a good fight, you never know anything until it’s over, and even then, you’re not sure.

Bad fights aren’t like that. Bad fights – one-sided fights – are like watching a cheesy horror movie. Once you’ve seen it, you don’t want to sit through it again.

Last June, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis put on a bad fight, had starring roles in a cheesy horror movie. Their fight was a one-sided affair, Lewis somehow escaping aggravated assault charges when it was finally over in the eighth round with Tyson on his back.

What Lewis did to Tyson is outlawed in most states. You can’t pound on a man like Lewis pounded on Tyson and walk away without someone calling the cops.

Unless a million people are paying to watch you do your hammering.

Now Lewis is getting ready to toy with Tyson again in June, and there are people out there actually ready to buy tickets.

Somehow, Tyson still sells.

Why would the heavyweight champion of the world agree to a rematch with the man he almost hospitalized a year earlier?

Silly question. Unconcerned with his legacy, Lewis would like another easy $40 million. Tyson? Along with the millions, he just wants another chance.

The problem here is one of honesty. After all but cramming Tyson into a back-alley trash can in their first fight, Lewis looked across the heavyweight horizon and didn’t see anyone he thought worthy of his time and skills. He then scoffed at the idea of fighting someone like Vitali Klitschko, comparing him to Michael Grant, saying Klitschko was not a worthy challenger.

Wait a minute, Mike Tyson is?

That’s like saying Eric Clapton plays a good guitar, but you’d rather jam with Billy Parker and the Prom Kings.

Klitschko and Lewis were tentatively scheduled to fight in April, but apparently, Lewis doesn’t see the point. He’d rather go for the sure thing, fight the old guy with the fading skills, the bad temper, the short arms and the strange tattoos.

These are not Tyson’s best years. You have to go back to the Regan Administration to remember when he was the scariest man on the planet. Today, he’s like an aging circus clown with a big red nose and floppy feet. He was pretty entertaining the first few times you saw him take a fall, but after tripping 10 times, you grow tired of watching him struggle to get back to his feet. You almost feel sorry for him.

And that’s a worthy challenger for Lewis?

In an earlier time, you could say Lewis was just doing the right thing, following the stipulations of their first contract that called for a possible Lewis-Tyson rematch.

But when was the last time Lewis cared about contracts or mandatory challengers or title belts? When was the last time a world champion followed the rules? Who fights by the book nowadays?

Besides, how many times do they follow the rematch clause when the fight is a mismatch? Rematches are for close fights, not muggings.

For Lewis, fighting Tyson again is an opportunity to make millions without taking a big risk.

For Tyson, a rematch would be an opportunity to show the world that the first fight was just a fluke, that he wasn’t quite ready that night.

If there’s a wild card to be played, it’s Clifford Etienne, who fights Tyson Feb. 22 on Showtime. If Tyson beats Etienne, the Lewis fight – unfortunately – will probably be on. If Etienne beats Tyson, who cares about a Lewis-Tyson rematch? On second thought, who cares anyway?

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