Tyson Down For The Count?

Nevada State Athletic Commissioners on Tuesday denied troubled boxer Mike Tyson a license to fight world champion Lennox Lewis, barring the lucrative April bout from Las Vegas.

At a London news conference Wednesday, reports CBS News Correspondent Sam Litzinger, Lewis said he's not afraid of Mike Tyson. But he also said he's not sure if he's ready for a Lewis/Tyson fight in light of the decision by Nevada officials not to sanction a bout in their state.

The five-member panel voted 4-to-1 to deny a state license to the notorious heavyweight after considering his record of violence inside and outside the ring.

The vote came after a last-minute attempt by Tyson to withdraw his application when it became clear that the commission was ready to reject it. The commission declined to let Tyson withdraw his bid for a license.

"I'm not Mother Theresa," Tyson said during the hearing. "I'm not Charles Manson either. Just treat me equal."

The denial prevents him from challenging the WBC-IBF heavyweight champion on April 6 at the MGM Grand, but does not kill the fight because Tyson could be licensed by another state or country.

The commission's vote came one week after Tyson and Lewis were involved in a melee at a New York news conference to formally announce the fight.

Lewis said Wednesday Tyson took a bite out of his thigh during that now infamous news conference brawl and he had to get a tetanus shot. He said he's not sure Tyson will ever fight fair.

"This guy just took a chunk out of my leg, so I'm thinking, 'Who's going to protect me in the ring? Who's going to guarantee that Mike Tyson doesn't bite me in the ring?'"

Lewis said he didn't want to hold a joint press conference with Tyson in the first place.

"I told the head of HBO, 'Me and Tyson can't come face-to-face. You have to remember this man wants to eat my children,'" he told reporters in London.

Shelly Finkel, Tyson's adviser, said he would not comment on whether the fight would occur, but said he would be meeting with Lewis' promoter on Wednesday.

Asked about Tyson's reaction, Finkel said, "He's not happy."

Lewis said he's sorry the scheduled fight fell through.

"We're entertainers, we're combatants," he said. "It's too bad we couldn't get this fight, the biggest fight in history, on."

While Tyson has had plenty of experience before the Nevada commission, four of the five commissioners have been replaced since Tyson was told to take his act on the road after hitting Francois Botha after the bell in a 1999 comeback fight.

Since leaving Nevada, Tyson tested positive for marijuana in a Detroit fight with Andrew Golota, threatened to eat Lewis' children after another fight and went after Lou Savarese even after the fight was stopped.

Just this month, Tyson made news in Cuba for throwing Christmas ornaments and a fit at reporters, and he found out that police in Las Vegas think there's enough evidence to charge him with raping a woman last yea at his Las Vegas home.

His wife, Monica, also filed for divorce.

Tyson originally didn't plan to appear personally before the commission, but that changed after last week's fiasco in New York when he threw a punch at a Lewis bodyguard and reportedly also bit Lewis on the leg.

After that, he made lewd gestures and yelled expletives at an audience member who suggested he needed a straitjacket.

That prompted the commission to order Tyson to appear if he wanted to get a license.

Tyson reportedly was guaranteed $17.5 million plus a percentage of the pay-per-view revenues for the fight.


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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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