ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Mike Tyson was granted a boxing license Monday in New Jersey, a state he walked away from nearly six years ago after
swearing at regulators during a licensing hearing.
"He's been behaving himself for quite some time," Athletic Commissioner Larry Hazzard said.
Gov. James E. McGreevey isn't so sure. Soon after Hazzard gave the former heavyweight champ a license on behalf of the state Athletic Control Board,
the governor said he wouldn't allow Tyson to fight at any facility owned or operated by the state.
McGreevey also said he would ask the board to review the decision.
"The governor doesn't think Mr. Tyson has the temperament to engage in good sportsmanship," McGreevey spokesman Micah Rasmussen said.
The governor's decision limits the venues available to Tyson by rendering off-limits the Meadowlands, Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic
City Convention Center, Rasmussen said.
The board had been in talks with Tyson's camp for six months and the fighter filed the application last week, Hazzard said.
Asked whether New Jersey authorities were concerned about Tyson's reputation for violence - he bit Evander Holyfield during a 1997 prizefight -
Hazzard said: "That was a consideration and it has been discussed."
Tyson, who has fought only three times in the last four years, was thrilled to learn New Jersey had approved his license, his manager, Shelly Finkel,
said before the governor issued his statement.
The last time Tyson sought a boxing license in New Jersey, he withdrew it after his outburst in front of regulators trying to determine his
In the 1998 hearing before the board, Tyson apologized for biting Holyfield and presented character witnesses who urged regulators to give him another
But at the end of the hearing, he got angry and refused to read a prepared closing statement.
"I don't want to say it now, 'cause I'm angry," he said.
When lawyer Anthony Fusco Jr., tried to calm him, he swore. Tyson withdrew his application the next day.
Finkel said the boxer hopes to fight former European champion Danny Williams on July 30 in Louisville, Ky., but that the date isn't official yet.
After that, he would fight in New Jersey before the year ends, Finkel said.
Tyson's next fight will be his first since Feb. 22, 2003, when he knocked out Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds in Memphis, Tenn.
"He loves New Jersey. Atlantic City was great to him. He'll either fight in Atlantic City or at the Meadowlands," Finkel said.
His representatives haven't said when or where, or named an opponent.
Tyson's camp had been trying to set a July 31 date with journeyman Kevin McBride and has obtained a license in Missouri.
Hazzard said Tyson's return would be good for New Jersey's boxing industry, which recently lost promoter Don King. King, who withdrew his application
for a promoter's license in April, is banned from doing business with casinos here for at least a year.
"Mike Tyson is still the biggest name in boxing," Hazzard said. "We are either in or out of the boxing business. Until somebody tells me otherwise, we
are still in the boxing business. If that's the case, doesn't it make good business sense to have the biggest name in boxing competing in your state?"