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Mike Tyson News: Tyson swarmed by fans in Phoenix

Posted on Monday, May 09, 2005 @ 16:56:56 UTC by tysonian
Source: SI
Picture:Chris Farina/Top Rank

PHOENIX (AP) -- Tattoos and all, Mike Tyson showed a new face Monday.

The 38-year-old heavyweight, part of an open-to-the-public show featuring Julio Cesar Chavez and his son, took time to pose for pictures, banter with awed children and sign autographs before a workout at the Central Boxing Gym.

His son, Manuel, sat with him at the center of a circle of 20 onlookers while his hands were wrapped. About 80 people jammed the ringside bleachers and open spaces in the rough brick building, which gained notoriety years ago when Tyson chose it as his summer training headquarters because of its lack of air conditioning and austere ambiance.

Gym manager Harwood Hamilton thought even more would show up later when the Chavezes arrived. Their flight to Phoenix was delayed.

"I would expect the crowd to be a little bit bigger for the Julio Cesar fans, because it is a Mexican crowd," Hamilton said.

Tyson's next fight, his first in nearly a year, is June 11 in Washington against Irishman Kevin McBride.

"I'm getting in shape. I've got a fight coming up," he said, declining a longer interview.

Legendary Julio Cesar Chavez posed with Iron Mike Tyson while working out and sparring before a large crowd at Central Gym today in Phoenix, Arizona.

More quotes available in the extended section of this post (click 'Read More' below).

Tyson's only connection with the public event was that he trains at the gym that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum chose as a place to hype the Chavezes and Phoenix native Jesus Rodriguez, an undefeated (16-0) middleweight also on the Los Angeles card.

Chavez is widely regarded as the greatest fighter Mexico has produced, going 106-5-2 with 88 knockouts since he debuted as a pro in 1980, when he was 17. He will fight Ivan Robinson of Philadelphia in a 10-round, pay-per-view bout May 28 in Los Angeles. Chavez Jr. is on the undercard.

But Tyson, only three years removed from brawling with Lennox Lewis at their pre-bout news conference, took the crush of fans in good humor.

"I've got to walk with this guy," he told autograph-seekers before disappearing into the dressing room. "I'll be back." True to his word, he was back in a few minutes.

Steve Gonzales, a business operations executive with the nearby state Department of Health Services, said either Tyson or Chavez would have drawn a crowd.

"I think it's both," he said. "Being Arizona, I would think the Chavezes are drawing big. I like everybody, I just like the sport of boxing, and I just work next door, so it made it real convenient to come down here."

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