Published: December 20, 2003
By TIM GRAHAM
News Sports Reporter
Eighteen months ago, Joe Mesi stated he could beat Mike Tyson.
Mesi might finally get a chance to back up those words.
Tyson on Thursday said he would like to battle his way back toward world supremacy in 2004 with three fights, including one against Mesi in Orchard Park.
Tyson, who lately had been dodging questions about his possible retirement from boxing, made the revelations on ESPN Radio 1050 in New York City. He was a guest on “Wally and The Keeg,” a show hosted by former New York Post columnists Wally Matthews and Tom Keegan.
“I’m going to take my time,” Tyson said. “I think I’m going to fight three fights. I think I’m going to fight Baby Joe Mesi. I think I’m going to fight one fight before Baby Joe Mesi and then fight someone else (after Mesi).
“I’m going to fight three fights and hopefully get a (title) shot.”
Mesi’s camp openly has discussed its desire to stage a late summer event in Ralph Wilson Stadium. The stadium would be scaled down to about 35,000 seats. Tyson is one of only two or three opponents who could draw such a crowd.
Would Tyson like to fight in Mesi’s backyard?
“Yeah, no doubt about it,” Tyson said.
Mesi’s promoter, Tony Holden, declined to comment.
Tyson hasn’t fought since Feb. 22, when he obliterated Clifford Etienne to raise his record to 50-4 with 44 knockouts. Mesi is 28-0 with 25 KOs.
The former undisputed heavyweight champ told reporters in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 6 after Mesi barely defeated Monte Barrett that he didn’t know if he still had the desire to compete.
Tyson changed his mind following Saturday’s clinchfest between John Ruiz and Hasim Rahman in Atlantic City, N.J.
“I don’t like talking about fighters anymore, but I’m feeling confident I can beat both of those guys,” Tyson said of Ruiz and Rahman.
Ruiz won a decision to become the World Boxing Association interim champion. Ruiz will be granted the title if champ Roy Jones Jr. chooses to move back to the light heavyweight division.
Tyson said he eventually would like to fight Jones.
“I realized I don’t have to fight the world champion the first fight back,” Tyson said. “But I can work out periodically and gradually and build up to that level, have a minor league
type effort and build up if everything goes well.”
There would be a few obstacles in putting together a Tyson Mesi bout.
No one is really sure who is handling Tyson’s business affairs. He and manager Shelly Finkel have had a hot and cold relationship, while Louisville, Ky.based Straight Out Promotions has announced it’s working with the self proclaimed “Baddest Man on the Planet.”
Mesi has a television contract with HBO, while Tyson has a deal with rival network Showtime. A source close to Tyson, however, told The Buffalo News that Tyson’s Showtime deal would not prohibit a fight with Mesi.
Mesi would like to fight twice before the planned Ralph Wilson Stadium event. The Town of Tonawanda native already has targeted an HBO date in May but is hoping to arrange a non HBO bout in March.
full story found here : http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20031219/1057717.asp