LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) - Despite past legal troubles, bankruptcy and some bizarre fights, Mike Tyson showed Tuesday he is still one of the biggest
draws in boxing.
A few thousand fans packed downtown's Fourth Street Live entertainment district to see the former heavyweight champ work out for his Friday night bout
against Danny Williams.
Tyson, who has not fought in 17 months, is trying to earn another shot at the heavyweight crown. He is still probably the No. 2 attraction in the
sport, behind Oscar De La Hoya, trainer Freddie Roach said.
"Once Mike gets active again and shows that he means business, he'll be back on top," Roach said.
Williams, who is British, worked out before Tyson and drew token applause. The crowd roared as Tyson made his way to the outdoor ring. Fans pressed to
get closer, looking for autographs and photos, but police held them at bay.
"This is what it's about," promoter Chris Webb said, grinning. "This is what I wanted."
A few lucky fans got what they wanted, too, as Tyson shook hands and signed autographs after his workout.
Tyson, 38, served three years in prison for rape, has a bankruptcy reorganization plan pending in New York and once bit off part of Evander
Holyfield's ear in a fight.
That didn't stop Latoyia Lackey from having her picture taken hugging Tyson as he was hustled away, through a still-under-construction bowling
"He's like a legend," Lackey said, wearing Tyson's sweat on her shirt. "I don't normally get excited, but I was excited."
Roach said his fighter was overwhelmed by the support.
"Everywhere we go it's the same way," Roach said. "At first he didn't want to be here because he was a little embarrassed. He said, 'What are all
these people here? For me?"'
Tyson (50-4, 44 KO) worked out for three rounds with trainer Roach, who wore padded mitts for his fighter to punch. The crowd "oohed" and "aahed" as
Tyson threw combinations, making the gloves pop.
Williams (31-3, 26 KO) did a similar routine, sparring with his trainer, Jim McDonnell, and did some sit-ups and jumped rope. He seemed to take it a
little easier than Tyson, working more on technique.
Roach estimated Tyson's effort at about 90 percent.
"He's a fighter and he's a performer," Roach said. "He likes to show his stuff."
Undercard fighter Ulises Solis (18-1-0, 13 KO) of Mexico also had a short workout. Solis will challenge Puerto Rican Nelson Dieppa (20-2-1, 12 KO) for
the WBO flyweight title Friday.
Also defending a title on the nine-match card will be WIBA super middleweight champion Laila Ali (17-0, 14 KO), daughter of Muhammad Ali, who is from
Louisville. She will take on Monica Nunez (9-1, 5 KO).