- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2002

Excuse me. Helloooo. Is anybody paying attention? Everybody, at the count of three, take 10 deep breaths. Now, let's take it from the top.

A while back, Mike Tyson, boxing's latter-day raging bull, made a fool of himself at a pre-pre-pre-pre-fight press conference, throwing jabs left and right while hitting no one in particular. The spectacle led to a special licensing hearing of the Nevada Athletic Commission, which in turn told Neanderthal Man to take a hike.

On Tuesday, the three-member D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission teleconferenced and voted unanimousily to consider Tyson's application for a possible bout against heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis. Interesting thing is, now Tyson is ringside watching the hypocrites throw their moral jabs, and the feminists cry sobbing tears of indignation.

One voice, Council member Kathy Patterson, went so far as to say "I assume that we're looking at prostitution … If we set [Tyson] as a role model for kids in the District, there's all sorts of other horrible things we can do, too."

Give me a break. If Mrs. Patterson had ventured around the streets of this capital city during the many years she's been here, she'd have noticed long, long ago that prostitution is rampant in the District and it is not because of Mike Tyson.

As for Mike Tyson the role model, get real. Let's immediately separate the wheat from the chaff, shall we? Mike Tyson, 35, is a role model, all right. He is a perfect example of someone who needs to be medicated 23.5 out of 24 hours a day meaning he gets a half-hour to shower, shave and dress before he's put back on a leash.

Terry Lynch, excutive directive of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, hit two nails on the head the other day when he said Tyson's well-publicized behavior is "indicative of a person in need of help and guidance. This proposed bout cannot be seen as serving Mr. Tyson's best interests as a person, nor the best interests of the city."

Now, having said that, I still want to know what all the fuss is about. Sure, Tyson is a convicted rapist. Yet, Mrs. Patterson and her sucker-punching colleagues are scheming, as you read this, to help make sure that the already-mean streets of Washington become even meaner by trying to find a "home" in the city for the hundreds of D.C. prisoners who will be released from federal custody in the coming months. Why can't we just leave them in whatever town they've been receiving, at taxpayer expense, their three hots and a cot?

And, sure, Tyson seems to get a kick out of inflicting pain on people. He's a cannibal inside the ring and a pit bull outside the ring. He's been that way for years. As a junior Olympian and young boxer, people marveled at the savagery he sharply and quickly dispensed upon his ring opponents even comparing him to the legendary Jack Dempsey.

Then, after he married Robin Givens and we learned that he would throw violent tantrums, we looked askance and said, "Well, as long as he only acts that way in the ring." But, ho, ho ho. The rape incident, for which he was imprisoned, and several more recent events, including sexual-assault allegations, have proven that Tyson really and truly is a sick junkyard dog, seemingly incapable and unwilling to separate his personas.

Still, is there a rule that says boxers who act like cavemen cannot be licensed? Is there a regulation that forbids granting a license to a former convict? Or are the calls pure judgment calls?

And what about the lame argument that a fight the caliber of Tyson vs. Lewis, which could produce the highest-grossing fight ever for the boxers and promoters, is needed to boost tourism? The numbers are pennies when you consider the fact that the city has lost more than $1 billion in tourism since September 11 and stands to gain a mere $10 million from the proposed fight.

So what is all the fuss about? The Greater Washington Board of Trade opposes a Tyson license, the National Organzation for Women has propped its hands on its hips, and the churches are saying the city shouldn't glorify violence for money.

These are the same folks who say the District is a global destination for business, culture and entertainment. Then again, the hypocrites turned their back on using the city as a backdrop for Denzel Washington's film, "Training Day," which is about dirty cops and gang violence, and for which he has earned an Academy Award nomination.

A lot can happen between now and the tentatively scheduled June bout. After all, the D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission merely said that it would review Tyson's application for a license a cursory move before holding a public hearing on the matter. Moreover, Lewis would need a license as well, and no venue, including the MCI Center, has inked in a date.

So calm down because, it seems to me that, with all the ruckus, the panel's final decision with fall in line with its counterparts in Vegas.

That means, in the end, this boxing fan won't get to see Tyson. However, D.C. officials will have handed him something more important than a license and that is a blessing in disguise.

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