Jirov set to watch Tyson

By
TysonTalk

Published: July 30, 2004

Seeks chance with ex-champ

Mike Tyson is either acting, or reformed, or reborn, or matured, or confused, or needy, or just plain shot. Maybe, he is all of the above. Vassiliy Jirov doesn’t care. Jirov just wants his chance.

“Of course,” said Jirov, who has been quietly training for the possibility near his home in Fountain Hills.

Tyson trainer Freddie Roach and adviser Shelly Finkel have repeatedly dropped Jirov’s name as a potential opponent after tonight’s comeback bout in Louisville, Ky., against Great Britain’s Danny Williams.

Still, Jirov’s chances are as hard to figure as the former heavyweight champ himself. The ring in Louisville tonight might as well be a psychiatrist’s couch. It’s hard to tell whether Tyson is in Muhammad Ali’s hometown for punches or psychoanalysis.

Multiple choices and perhaps personalities abound in the ongoing media diagnosis of which Tyson will show up.

There is the kinder, gentler version. Flip that one over, and there is the burnt-out fighter without any of his old ferocity and perhaps chaos.

“I’m not Moses,” Tyson said at a news conference when asked about his age, 38, a couple of days after his arrival in Louisville from Phoenix. He celebrated his birthday on June 30 with a surprise party while training at Central Boxing near downtown Phoenix.

Moses might be the only personality who has been eliminated in the search to define Tyson’s new identity.

Boxing is the “hurt business,” Tyson once said. He’ll get no argument from, Jirov, a former cruiserweight champion who lost his heavyweight debut but earned respect in a bout that might have ended Joe Mesi’s career.
“I’ve got the power, now just bring the body,” said Jirov, who knocked down Mesi three times in the final two rounds of a 10-round bout in March.

Jirov plans to watch Tyson’s fight on pay-per-view, but the night also offers a live boxing option for Valley fans. An eight-fight card is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Glendale Arena.

Junior-featherweight Rafael Valenzuela of Phoenix hopes to go 2-0 against Chandler’s Angel Gonzalez, who will make his debut. Phoenix heavyweight George Garcia, a former national amateur champion, is scheduled for a debut against Dean Guthery (0-1) of Prescott.

But Jirov figures to stay at home to check out Tyson’s first bout in 17 months.

“If it’s the same Tyson, he’ll make that early rush,” Jirov said.

Roach said he hopes tonight’s fight goes four or five rounds. Tyson has been in the ring for exactly 49 seconds – in a first-round stoppage of Clifford Etienne – during the 26 months since he lost to Lennox Lewis.

If things go according to plan, always a big if with Tyson, he’ll take a couple of weeks off and fight again in September or October.

“I’d prefer to fight once or twice before then,” Jirov said. “But if everything – the money and all – were right, of course I would say yes.

“My management has been talking to me about it. I’m ready, I know that.”

Which, for now, is a lot more than anybody knows about Tyson.

Norm Frauenheim

Source: azcentral.com