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"About training the twelve year old Mike at Tryon reform school: 'Everything I showed him-he would go back to his room and practice it over and over. At three in the morning one could hear movement and the snorting from Mikes room, learning, perfecting what Id taught him the day before. The third-shift staff had to put him to bed every night.' [Fire, 41]"

~ Bobby Stewart

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Mike Tyson News: Finkel Speaks About Next Year Plans: ''The biggest fight of all next year is Roy

Posted on Sunday, May 02, 2004 @ 05:17:05 UTC by tysonian

While nondescript heavyweights have been vying for championship belts, former undisputed titleholder Mike Tyson has been on the sideline. That's about to end: Tyson is coming back.

Manager Shelly Finkel envisions Tyson (50-4-0, 44 KOs) being a busy fighter the second half of 2004. Three bouts are planned, with the first to be held in July. An opponent hasn't officially been named, but the first choice is non-threatening 6-6, 280-pound Kevin McBride (31-4-1, 26 KOs).

"Mike has been out of the ring more than a year now. In the last six years this is the best training I've seen him do, physically," Finkel said. "He's not in the boxing ring yet. Trainer Freddie Roach will come in in two weeks and start working with him.

"The plan is to stay more active than he's been the past 10 years, so that he could fight three times this year ... July, September and December."

With McBride penciled in as the likely opponent for July at a yet-to-be-named U.S. location, Finkel hasn't decided who will be second on Tyson's hit list. This much is certain: the September bout won't be against a marquee fighter or on U.S. shores. The big-name opponent will have to wait until December.

Finkel wants Tyson-Mesi at Madison Square Garden in the final month of the year. Tyson-Mesi has the makings of a pay-per-view fight, but it hinges on the result of neurological tests Mesi (29-0-0, 25 KOs) took after his bout against Vassiliy Jirov in March. The Nevada Athletic Commission has suspended Mesi pending the outcome of his tests.

With Mesi's future in limbo, nothing is being left to chance. In the event Mesi doesn't receive the okay to resume his career, Finkel is lining up substitutes and the list is impressive. At the top is WBO champion Lamon Brewster (30-2-0, 27 KOs).

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

"That to me would be a big fight at the Garden," Finkel said. "Don (King) and everyone could make a lot of money."

Brewster is similar to Mesi physically and stylewise. Like Mesi, he is 6-foot-1 and comes into the ring at about 235 pounds. Brewster also packs a heavy punch. Of his 30 victories, against two defeats, 27 ended early.

Neither Brewster nor Mesi possess boxing skills, which is a plus for the soon-to-be 38-year-old Tyson. But what separates Brewster from Mesi is his ability to take solid punches. He absorbed a lot of hard shots April 10 during his title fight against Wladimir Klitschko.

He was floored in the fourth, but got up and ended the fight in the fifth. Mesi, on the other hand, is still recovering from the three knockdowns he suffered against Jirov.

Brewster's chin makes him a tougher test for Tyson than Mesi. Being the holder of a title adds to his attractiveness, but he's no shoe-in. Finalizing a deal with King, who promotes Brewster, is always a crapshoot. In case Tyson-Brewster falls through, Finkel is considering Jirov, Monte Barrett and James Toney.

If Tyson goes 3-0 this year, the big payoff comes in 2005. Finkel has his sights set on Tyson-Roy Jones Jr.

This fight has been talked about since May 2003 when Jones (49-1-0, 38 KOs) beat John Ruiz to win the WBA heavyweight title. It never got done, primarily because Tyson showed little interest in returning to the ring. That's no longer the case.

Jones has since moved back to light heavyweight and will defend his WBC title May 15 in Las Vegas against Antonio Tarver. While his mind is on Tarver, thoughts of fighting Tyson remain fresh. The money, however, will have to be right.

"It would have to be very lucrative for him," Jones' trainer Alton Merkerson said. "We reached out to Mike Tyson (last year) but it fell through. Roy was looking forward to fighting Tyson.

"If Roy could pin down a fight where he could make $50 million, $35 million, whatever, which would be the biggest payday for him, I'm pretty sure he would take it."

Moneywise, Tyson and Jones aren't that far apart. The numbers Finkel has mentioned for Tyson-Jones are in the $30 million neighborhood.

"The biggest fight of all next year is Roy Jones," Finkel said. "For $30 million, I think Jones might return to heavyweight."

Source: nj.com

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