Published: July 27, 2004
— With thousands of people looking on, Mike Tyson and his opponent Danny Williams put in workouts in downtown Louisville. As WAVE 3’s Craig Hoffman reports, everyone seemed to be rooting for Tyson.
Security was tight as an estimated 6,000 people slowly packed 4th Street Live! — all waiting to catch a glimpse of one-time world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
Just about everyone we spoke to had no doubt Tyson would win Friday’s fight against his British opponent, Danny Williams. “I’ve been a fan of his for years,” said Ray Scott. “He’s a very good
fighter, a hard fighter. I like the way he fights.”
“I think it’s awesome,” said Mychael Wallace who was just yards away from the ring where Tyson would spar. “I’ve waited all my life — I’m a great big fan of Mike Tyson’s. I think it’s an awesome event for the city of Louisville.”
Williams worked out before Tyson, and you’d think fight fans visiting from London would back him, but that wasn’t the case. At least not for David Corby, visiting from England.
“I got to go with Tyson,” he said, adding that even though he’ll be rooting against a British boxer “you still have to do with the best man you think is going to win.”
A little after 12:30, Iron Mike Tyson arrived and the crowd went crazy. During his 20-minute workout, it seemed as if fans felt every powerful punch he threw. Fans absorbed every second, taking pictures and shouting.
Experts say Tyson looked quick, sharp and ready.
And for those who got to meet Tyson face-to-face, it’s a moment they’ll never forget. “Man I was excited,” said Leandre Alexander. “He touched my hand — was going to sign my poster, but didn’t have a pen.”
Chris and Sherri Taylor and their three children drove down from Madison to watch the workout. They’re also pulling for Tyson. “Even though he’s had his troubles, I think he’s paid his dues,” Chris said. “He’s just trying to make a living now.”
As the former heavyweight champion left the ring, he was thronged by his handlers, security, and the media.
Tyson told WAVE 3 News, he’s grateful for the way Louisville is treating him. When asked how it felt to be in Louisville, Tyson replied: “it’s an awesome feeling, man, awesome. Just awesome. I hope after this if this is very successful, I hope we can do it again. I love these people. I am very appreciative to the applause and the vicinity.”
Tyson has been on the sidelines for 17 months. He says he’s in debt and Friday night’s fight will help pay some bills. Tyson predicted he’ll win by knockout. He declined to give a specific round, simply saying: “When I hit him, he’ll know it.”
Promoter Chris Webb with Straight Out Promotions says there have also been numerous requests for ringside seating from NBA, NFL and NHL players, former boxing champions, Chris Rock, N’SYNC, Jay-Z and Reca-Fella Records, Paramount Pictures, Def Jam Records and many more.
By Craig Hoffman