- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 22, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) — Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was arrested on assault charges early yesterday after a street brawl with two guests outside a Brooklyn hotel, police said.

The boxer was treated for minor cuts to his hands after the other men apparently swung at him with a metal pole taken from the lobby of the hotel where Tyson also was staying, police said.

Tyson, 36, was charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, in the 5:30 a.m. fight. The two men, Samuel Velez, 31, of Reading, Pa., and Nestor Alvarez, 24, of Philadelphia, were charged with misdemeanor counts of menacing and harassment, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.

One of the men and their female companion were treated for minor injuries at a hospital, police said. Tyson was not hospitalized.

A source close to the investigation said the two men started the fight with Tyson, adding that the boxer feared that the men would hit him with the pole.

“They did instigate it,” the source told the Associated Press. “They were harassing him, saying things to him. But Tyson was the one who threw the first punch.”

Shelly Finkel, adviser to the Brooklyn-born boxer, did not know any of the details of the confrontation, saying, “I’m in the process of trying to find out.”

Tyson was released yesterday and was due back in court at an unspecified later date, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Tyson walked silently past a small group fans who shouted “Mike, Mike,” as he was led out the precinct in a driving rain.

In 1986, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history, at age 20, but legal troubles soon followed.

He was convicted of rape in 1992 and sentenced to six years in prison. He served three years before being released on parole. In a Fox television interview last month, Tyson said he was so angry about the conviction he wanted to rape his accuser and her mother.

In 1997, after Tyson bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a bout, his Nevada boxing license was suspended for a year and he was fined $3 million. In 1999 he was released from a Maryland jail after serving 3 months for assaulting two motorists.

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