(AP)--Mike Tyson has a date, a trainer and an opponent of sorts for his first fight in more than a year. Unlike his last comeback, he also has a
wide-open heavyweight division in front of him.
Tyson's manager, Shelly Finkel, said Thursday that the former champion probably will return to the ring July 31 against journeyman Kevin McBride.
Finkel said negotiations were continuing over a site and possible pay-per-view broadcast.
"We should have something definite by next week," Finkel said. "There's a lot of anticipation for him to come back."
The fight would be the first for Tyson since Feb. 22, 2003, when he knocked out Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds in Memphis, Tenn.
That was supposed to be the first of a series of comeback bouts for Tyson, who was stopped by Lennox Lewis in the eighth round of his previous fight.
But Tyson hasn't been in the ring since and until recently said he wasn't sure if he wanted to fight again.
With the heavyweight division lacking a big-name champion following the retirement of Lewis, however, the 37-year-old Tyson apparently has the
"I'm totally confident about that," Finkel said, referring to Tyson's desire to fight.
The bout could be televised by Showtime, which has carried most of Tyson's fights since he was released from prison in 1995 after serving time for
rape. Finkel said the fight would be promoted by K-1.
"We're in the negotiating process now," Showtime boxing executive Jay Larkin said. "But this is by no means an announcement."
Tyson has been a fixture in recent months at boxing cards and drew more applause than the main event boxers when he showed up earlier this month at
Madison Square Garden for heavyweight title fights involving Chris Byrd and John Ruiz.
Byrd, Ruiz, Vitali Klitschko and Lamon Brewster all hold portions of the heavyweight title, though there is no dominant fighter in the division. That
increases the attractiveness of Tyson, who still has a huge fan base despite his mediocre performances in recent years.
Tyson seemed reluctant to come back when Lewis was still fighting, perhaps because he had a rematch clause with the former champion who gave him a
beating in their June 2002 fight. With Lewis gone, though, the road to the top suddenly got a lot easier.
"I think he can beat any of the four guys out there that are champions," said Freddie Roach, who trained Tyson for the Etienne fight. "He just needs
to have discipline and get in shape."
Roach said he will train Tyson again, beginning next month in Phoenix. Tyson quit training a week before the Etienne fight because of a dispute with
Showtime over the money he would be paid, though he said at the time he was ill.
Roach said he didn't think he would have any problems over whether Tyson wants to train.
"We had a good camp the last time before the last week," he said. "The division is not good, and he knows he can get in shape and beat any of these
After beating Corrie Sanders to win the WBC title last week, Klitschko said he wanted to fight Tyson. But it appears Tyson will take few chances in
his latest comeback.
McBride is a journeyman at best, a fighter who has not fought any big names and has been knocked out four times. He's a step down from Etienne, and it
remains to be seen if fans will pay money to see Tyson fight someone who is not considered competitive.
Finkel had planned to have Tyson fight twice, then meet unbeaten Joe Mesi in December at Madison Square Garden.
But Mesi's career is on hold because he might have a head injury from being knocked down in a victory over Vassiliy Jirov last month.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.