- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Mike Tyson sat with his 3-year-old son, Miguel, napping on his lap during part of yesterday’s press conference for his fight at MCI Center on June 11 against unheralded Irishman Kevin McBride.

The aging Iron Mike was flanked by two of his other young children in what was part comedy show, part lovefest with little bravado during the announcement at the Lincoln Theatre in Northwest.

‘I feel like Mr. Mom,’ the two-time heavyweight champion said, flashing his shimmering gold tooth through his tattooed face. ‘This is so beautiful.’

The troubled fighter went on to call his Irish opponent ‘cute’ and was contrite, introspective and genuinely funny as he talked about the upcoming bout. The pair of combatants even stood together and did beauty pageant-style waves to cameras before they were told to do the traditional chest-to-chest pose.

‘I’m just so happy I am happy again,’ said Tyson, chuckling. Tyson, who turns 39 on June 30, said he is fully recovered from knee surgery that was required after Danny Williams knocked him out in the fourth round in his last fight July 30.

‘I was on crutches, and it was a very depressing atmosphere,’ he said. ‘I just fell into a deep depression. Once those painkillers wore off, it was horrific. I didn’t know what to do … I was just like a little spoiled brat. I was at my worst self.’

Tyson (50-5, 44 knockouts) has lost two of his last three fights and will be fighting for only the second time in 28 months. Tickets will range from $50 to $700, and the fight will be available on pay-per-view from Showtime. Laila Ali, daughter of former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, will battle Erin Toughill as part of the undercard.

Promoter Rock Newman billed the fight as a way to redemption for Tyson, the convicted rapist who bit Evander Holyfield’s ear during a bout in 1997. Tyson filed for bankruptcy last year and has about $40 million in debts after squandering the $300 million he earned over his career.

Newman even compared Tyson’s comeback to that of former D.C. Mayor and current D.C. Councilman Marion Barry, who ‘returned to power from prison and videotape.’

Even a meant-to-be threatening line by McBride’s manager, Rich Cappiello, drew a laugh from Tyson. The 31-year old McBride, who goes 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, is expected to be an easy opponent as Tyson tries to re-establish some semblance of his past career. Yet Cappiello predicted ‘Mike Tyson gets knocked out within five rounds.’

McBride wasn’t so brazen but said he plans to ‘shock the world.’ The fighter, who has a 32-4-1 record with 27 knockouts, wouldn’t predict what round he would score a knockout but suggested it is his time to become a star at Tyson’s expense.

?I have all the mothers in Ireland lighting a candle and saying a prayer for me,’ he said in his rich brogue. ‘I haven’t shown the real Kevin McBride. On the night of June 11th, you are going to see real Irish power.’

Tyson offered some bluster of his own. Asked to name the best heavyweight fighter in the world, Tyson said himself. He was questioned about ex-wife Monica Tyson, whom he credits for helping turn around his life.

‘She doesn’t sleep with me anymore, so I don’t know why she keeps that last name,’ said Tyson, who lived with his wife in Montgomery County while she attended medical school at Georgetown University. ‘I am probably the worst husband in the world to be married to and this woman consistently was a constant friend to me. I would have never been my friend if I married me.’

Tyson finally will get a chance to fight in the District. He was expected to fight Lennox Lewis here in 2002 before city leaders protested, and the bout was moved to Memphis, Tenn.

‘It is going to be a train wreck,? said Tyson, employing a term many use to describe his unruly life. ‘I just hope the people in Washington, D.C., are prepared to handle this.’

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