05.08.04 – By Frank Lotierzo – GlovedFist@Juno.com – Since knocking out former Heavyweight Champ Mike Tyson in the fourth round last week, in what will surely be the upset of the year, British Heavyweight Danny Williams is a wanted man. Since the fight he’s been challenged by former Champ Evander Holyfield, and Olympic Gold Medalist and Countryman Audley Harrison, just to name a few.
In Boxing there are two things that trump all, the title and money. In most cases the title means money. Fresh off his upset of Tyson, Williams is the hottest fighter in the Heavyweight division, everybody wants to fight him. What he has to decide now is what is the best career move for him. What fight can his management team try and make that will set him up best to parlay his victory over Tyson. Too me, there aren’t many options, and the path that should be taken is obvious. What his handlers should consider paramount, is who can Williams fight next that will set him up for another big fight after that?
Obviously, winning the title is what motivates all fighters, or at least it should. However, money weighs into the equation equally.
Right now Williams is riding high after knocking out Tyson. Winning the title would seem to be his next goal. The problem is, Williams must strike soon why he is still hot and in demand. Two of the three current title holders are scheduled to fight in mid November. IBF Champ Chris Byrd defends his title against 3rd ranked Jameel McCline on November 13th, and WBA Champ John Ruiz defends his title against 5th ranked Andrew Golota on the same card. The ideal scenario is for Williams to capitalize on his new found fame before the end of the year.
Suppose for argument sake that Byrd and Ruiz were available, and Williams gets ranked in the top ten off the Tyson win. How much money would a fight with Williams draw against either one of them? Definitely not the outrageous amount you would hope to parlay a knock out win over Tyson into. Another thing to consider is, does Williams have a decent shot to beat either of them?
That leaves WBC Champ Vitali Klitschko, who most think is the top Heavyweight in the World. This would be my second option if I were Williams. A fight with Klitschko would be a very good pay day, and there would be fan interest in it. Plus, it’s for the title. In a potential fight versus Vitali Klitschko, Williams would be a decided underdog, but as long as he didn’t get taken apart in a round or two, he’d remain in the Heavyweight mix.
Other than fighting Klitschko for the title, who’s left? Holyfield issued a challenge to Williams, but he’s lost his last two fights and looked washed up in them. Besides, the money wouldn’t be worth the risk. Audley Harrison also challenged Williams, but right now Williams is a bigger name than he is. Again, the money wouldn’t be that spectacular. James Toney? Toney’s too experienced and good, he has no title, and the money isn’t there.
Another thing to consider is, what if Williams isn’t really that good? In the Tyson fight he looked damn good, but only time will tell how bad Tyson was or wasn’t when they fought. Look at Buster Douglas, he never beat a top fighter until he beat Tyson. Then in his next fight against Holyfield, he got knocked out and was never a factor again. I know he made 25 Million dollars, but he would have made that in a rematch with Tyson. Even if he lost to Tyson in a rematch, he would’ve been 1-1 against him, and there would’ve been a third fight most likely. The point is after he beat Tyson, he only set himself up for one fight. The only way fighting Holyfield would’ve helped him is if he won, which was definitely no sure thing. He also matched up better with Tyson style wise than he did Holyfield.
In all reality Danny Williams has only one option, Mike Tyson. That’s right, Danny Williams should follow up his shocking upset of Tyson with a rematch against him. Fighting Vitali Klitschko would be great because it would be for the title, but a rematch with Tyson should be the priority of Williams and his handlers.
A rematch with Tyson would represent the biggest pay day of Williams life by far. During his 19 year pro career, Tyson has only fought one rematch against a fighter who beat him. That was against Evander Holyfield, and it’s the biggest grossing fight in Boxing history. Tyson-Williams II is a big PPV attraction.
Not only does fighting Tyson again make the most sense from a monetary standpoint, it makes the most sense business wise. Look at the risk reward. Most view the first fight as somewhat a fluke, mainly because Tyson is 38 and hadn’t fought in 17 months. So Williams isn’t really getting major props for being an outstanding fighter. However, if he beat Tyson again he would more than solidify his standing as one of the top Heavyweights in the division.
What’s the down side of fighting Tyson again, none that I can see. If he lost he’s still 1-1 against him. Afterwards he can yell for a third fight saying he granted Tyson a rematch when he was desperate, or he had some ailment or injury that hindered him in the fight. A third fight between them would be another huge payday for both. Thus Williams parlaying the upset win the first time into two paydays instead of one. Remember, Tyson needs money too. A trilogy versus Williams may erase his debt faster than he ever thought.
Of all the reasons for Williams to fight Tyson again, maybe the best is because he’s already knocked him out. This will not sit well with a lot of Tyson fans, but it’s just the way it is. Don’t forget, I like Tyson and was rooting for him against Williams, and picked him to win convincingly. That being said, many know that I always thought Tyson was overrated by the press and many of his fans in his prime.
If the truth be told, Mike Tyson is not the bravest fighter around when it comes to character and grit. Yes, he takes a terrific punch, but it takes a lot less to get inside of his head and convince him that he’s going to lose than it has other past greats. No need to name names, anyone reading this knows who they are. There is just no getting around it, Tyson never handled getting hit well psychologically.
The fact is when Tyson gets nailed hard, he stops fighting and panics. He did this in the 1980’s under Rooney, even though he won those fights. Even against Tillis in 1986 he had lulls where he stopped punching when Tillis caught him clean. It’s been a pattern for him throughout his career. It happened more than a few times where Rooney had to calmly plead with Tyson in the corner to start letting his hands go during some fights he was extended.
In his rematch with Evander Holyfield, Tyson clearly lost the first two rounds. No, he didn’t get killed in them, but Holyfield was dictating and setting the tempo. Nobody will ever convince me that Tyson didn’t panic in that third round when he realized he caught Holyfield with all he had, and Holyfield kept coming after him. Tyson knew the longer the fight went, the worse it would be for him. He bit Holyfield’s ears in my opinion because he didn’t want to get stopped by him again. Why didn’t Tyson mention anything about Holyfield being a dirty fighter or butting him after the first fight? I’ll tell you why, because it didn’t happen.
Mike Tyson has been the ultimate front runner his entire career. When he is having his way, he’s a monster. However, he’s never fought through adversity and won a fight that he wasn’t dominating or knocked down in. In a rematch with Williams, Tyson would harbor self doubt. If Williams stood up to his early onslaught again, Tyson would panic and take another beating and get stopped again.
Not to mention that Williams has total confidence in himself and truly believes now that Tyson can’t beat him. The first time his mind set was he could beat Tyson, now he believes that Tyson can’t beat him, which is huge when fighting Tyson. Williams would be soaring with confidence while staring at Tyson at center ring before the start of a rematch. If Tyson didn’t get him out in the first two or three rounds, he would panic and his confidence would fade. Once that happened, Williams would increase the pressure and punch output like he did in the first fight.
Obviously, carrying out that strategy isn’t as easy as it sounds. Williams would have to weather a fierce start again versus a very desperate Tyson. He was hurt in the first round of their fight. Just because he made it through the first time, doesn’t guarantee it the second time, but you have to like his chances.
Fighting Tyson again is Danny Williams best and only option. He’s even said if they fought again he would want it to be in London. Who can blame him after the horrible officiating by referee Dennis Alfred. Tyson-Williams II is a win win for both fighters. If Tyson wins he can fight him a third time, or he can continue his comeback since he will have salvaged his career.
Williams can’t lose either way, he’s a star if he wins, and most likely will get a third fight if he loses. A rematch with Tyson is the only fight he can take where he can’t lose. The first time Williams said he believed he could beat Tyson, now he’s done it. Williams should give Tyson a rematch, if he wants one.