Scratch Buster Douglas from the list of possible opponents for Mike Tyson's latest comeback bid.
Despite published reports to the contrary, Tyson's promoter said Monday that Douglas would not be Tyson's opponent for his first fight since his release from a Maryland prison.
That leaves Tyson still searching for an opponent for the scheduled Oct. 2 fight, with the list of possible fighters now apparently down to 33-year-old Orlin Norris and 30-year-old Zeljko Mavrovic.
Promoter Dan Goossen said that Douglas, the first fighter to beat Tyson, was not in proper physical condition to get ready in time for the fight. Douglas reportedly weighs more than 300 pounds and would have been closely scrutinized by Nevada boxing officials before being allowed to fight in the state.
"Buster Douglas is not in fighting shape and will not be by October," Goossen said. "Mike is anxious to return to the ring and is looking to fight someone that will be physically and mentally ready to fight in October. At this point, Douglas does not fit that description."
Tyson's manager, Shelly Finkel, is now trying to sign either Norris or Mavrovic for the comeback fight. If he can't find an opponent within the next two weeks, though, the Oct. 2 date at the MGM Grand hotel-casino in Las Vegas could be in jeopardy.
The 39-year-old Douglas had emerged as an attractive opponent for Tyson, who was eager to fight the man who knocked him out in the 10th round on Feb. 11, 1990, after entering the ring as a 42-1 underdog.
Douglas lost the heavyweight titles to Evander Holyfield and was hospitalized in a diabetic coma after his weight soared to more than 400 pounds.
After leaving the hospital, Douglas began exercising and this led to his return to boxing. Since coming back in 1996, he has won eight of nine fights against mostly mediocre opponents but was knocked out in the first round by Lou Savarese on June 25, 1998.
Norris, the older brother of former junior middleweight champion Terry Norris, is a former cruiserweight champion. Despite 26 knockouts on his 49-5 record, Norris is defense-oriented and his fights are often devoid of action.
At about 220 pounds, Norris would be closer to Tyson's weight than would Douglas. Norris would have much less of a height advantage over Tyson than Mavrovic, who is 6-foot-4.
Mavrovic (27-1, 22 knockouts), a former European champion from Croatia, is an aggressive fighter. He lost a WBC title bid to Lennox Lewis on a unanimous decision last Sept. 26.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.