Friday, July 4 1997

Life ban would not be unfair: Holyfield


LAS VEGAS, July 3: Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield said yesterday that a lifetime boxing ban for bad-boy biter Mike Tyson would not be an excessive punishment.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission will conduct a special hearing next Wednesday to determine what punishment to inflict upon Tyson for biting each of Holyfield's ears in his disqualification title loss here on Saturday.``A lifetime ban wouldn't be too much,'' Holyfield said. ``But the commission would have to make that decision.''

Holyfield said he would not rule out a future fight against Tyson but said his main goal is unifying the heavyweight championship and a Tyson rematch would come ``not right away''.

The New York Times reported Tyson is likely to be barred for at least 18 months, an unprecedented length, according to an unnamed source. The report also said a lifetime ban is less likely since Tyson's apology on Monday and Holyfield's acceptance of it.

As Commission executive director Marc Ratner put it: ``We're in uncharted waters.''

Holyfield is a biter too!

Former heavyweight Jakey Winters knows how it feels to be bitten during a boxing match.

One night, 17 years ago, a young, up-and-coming Evander Holyfield bit winters on the right shoulder during their semifinal bout in the Georgia Golden Gloves tournament in Atlanta.

``I dropped him with a left hook to the body and doubled up to the head in the second round of a scheduled three-rounder,'' Winters told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel yesterday. ``At that point he was hurt and angry.''

After Holyfield got up, composed himself and withstood another round of punches, he spit out his mouthpiece and bit Winters on the shoulder. The bite broke the skin and caused bleeding. Holyfield had a point taken away and the fight continued.

``It's hard to spit a mouthpiece out. But he was desperate. He was trying to buy time. Evander is no angel,'' Winters said.

Last Saturday night, Mike Tyson bit Holyfield on each ear during their heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas.

``It can happen to anybody...a fighter is oblivious,'' Winters said. ``Like Evander, Tyson reacted badly. I was disgusted, just like I was 17 years ago. Tyson showed poor taste and judgment in the heat of the moment.''

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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