Tyson returns to the ring Saturday in Las Vegas

When Mike Tyson enters the ring Saturday night in Las Vegas to fight Orlin Norris, many expect to see a quick blowout victory as the former heavyweight champion attempts once again to resurrect a once-great career that has fallen on hard times.

We all know the Tyson saga, what has happened and what could-have-been so I won't get into that. I just want to say that even in a sub-par performance, Tyson should destroy Norris - his opponent/human punching bag.

"I feel good," Tyson said on Sportscenter Sunday as he started the hype to promote the fight. "Like I was 18 or 20 years old. I'm in shape."

The fight, being staged at the MGM Grand, is set for 10 rounds. It was originally announced as a 12-round title fight for a title nobody ever heard of, but few expect it to go that far.

"This is a fight I've always wanted," said Norris, who is, in all truth, a washed-up version of what was once a decent cruiserweight."They made a mistake in picking me as his opponent and I will show them that fight night. I'm coming to win this fight."

The odds don't reflect that because Tyson is listed as an 11-1 favorite at the Carson Station sportsbook with Norris at +7-1.

While it is hard to pick Norris under any circumstances - his legs are shot and he's 34 and, as far as I'm concerned, only there for the payday (a reported $800,000). However, Tyson may be overlooking Norris as he spoke about future opponents while promoting the fight against Norris.

There was talk of Tyson fighting Buster Douglas, the first man to whip Tyson, but that fell apart early.

"Listen, Buster Douglas is a big, fat pig," Tyson said when asked about Douglas as a future opponent. "He didn't take care of himself. I'd like to fight him again if he ever gets in fighting shape again. I'd really like to fight Evander Holyfield again. I'd like to fight Lennox Lewis, too. It doesn't matter, I'll win against any of them."

First, Tyson has to get past Norris, and off his pitiful performance against Frans Botha, you could make a case for Norris. But it would be a weak case as Norris really is through. Tyson may be finished too as a top-flight heavyweight but that hasn't been determined yet. If Tyson loses to Norris, or looks as bad as he did against Botha before getting in a lucky punch, then we'll know if "Iron Mike" is still a viable heavyweight contender.

The fight will be shown live on Showtime at 8 p.m. My official prediction is Tyson in two but in my heart I'd like to see Tyson get his butt whipped by Norris .... I just think this is the wrong opponent to accomplish that but maybe I'm wrong.

A GOOD CARD - Saturday night at the Ormsby House the Carson City Boxing Club hosted an invitational amateur fight card that was a huge success both financially and fight-wise. The local team took the team title as "Best Team" at the card and the slightly over 300 fans in attendance liked that.

In addition to our local fighters, teams from Reno - The Reno Warriors and The Reno Jets - as well as teams from Fernley/Wadsworth, Stockton (Calif.) and Medford (Oregon) sent fighter to compete on the card, whose proceeds went to benefit the non-profit CCBC equipment fund.

There were 14 fights scheduled but there were three walkovers and one fight was called off with the fighters in the ring because there was too great an age difference between the boxers. Of the 10 fights that took place, all were good and scrappy fights that everyone present seemed to enjoy.

Can't list all the fighters but here are the winners: From the CCBC winners were Wade Smith, Sean Warner, Juan Reynoso, Dwayne Pope and Mike Peralta. The Reno Jets had winners David Maaka, Courtney Gardner and Al Gorenson. Stockton winners were Anthony Chavez, Elier Samino and David Martinez. Medford's Lorenzo Rios also won his fight.

The best boxer at the tournament was David Martinez from Stockton and best fight was the match between Omar Smith of the Jets and Anthony Chavez of Stockton. All winners received trophies and runnerups received medals. The card was sanctioned by USA Boxing of Nevada.

Local officials who worked the card were Mike Downey and Jack Howell of Carson City and Minden's Warren Bottino. All were judges for the card. South Lake Tahoe's Howie Reed was the ring announcer. Before the card began, they had a minute of silence and the traditional 10-count was tolled for Reno Jets Coach Ray Tavares, who passed away last month.

- The Reno Jets will host the "Ray Tavares Memorial Invitational" amateur fight card this coming Saturday night at the Boys & Girls Club (2680 E. Ninth Street) in Reno. The card, featuring CCBC fighters and others, starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are priced at $6 general admission with the proceeds going to benefit the Jets team. For more info call 747-2853.

- The Reno Wolf pack college boxing team has a "meet the team" event scheduled for Saturday at noon in Reno. The event features a barbecue and tee shirts and sparring sessions and many of the teams 30 boxers will be there. The event takes place at the Fourth Street Gym (410 E. Fourth Street) and is free to the public.

The UNR teams first competition of the new season takes place Nov. 6 in Las Vegas against the UNLV team.

ALAN ROGERS is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer.


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