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Kudos to Webb, zeros to media

Before I ramble too far, let me say that I never have ‘ nor will I ever ‘ condone the attacks of Mike Tyson on women, visitors in hotel lobbies or the ears of fellow boxers. His behavior has often been downright deplorable. With any luck, Tyson will leave Louisville International Airport on July 30 as quickly and as quietly as he will come in on July 25.
With that out of the way, I wholeheartedly congratulate Chris Webb and Straight Out Promotions for actually doing something, anything, to promote big-name boxing in the city of Louisville.
Despite the constant negative publicity from every media outlet in the Louisville market, Webb and his staff delivered a knockout blow by bringing in one of the biggest ‘ albeit most controversial ‘ names in heavyweight boxing to the home of Muhammad Ali to duke it out against a relative cupcake named Danny Williams.
It may not be the Fight of the Century, but it’s about time there was a big-name fight in Louisville.
Caesars Indiana at Bridgeport brought in former middleweight champ Michael Nunn a couple of years ago and will entertain the likes of former World Boxing Organization champ Ray Mercer later this year. Other boxing matches are held in the tri-state area from time to time, too, and that’s great! But this is a big enchilada.
The Tyson-Williams bout, with an undercard that features Laila Ali (daughter of ‘The Greatest’), is a Showtime pay-per-view event that should bring in many A- and B-list celebrities like those who pack ‘Millionaires Row’ at the Kentucky Derby.
If the July 30 fight sells out 19,000-seat Freedom Hall ‘ and I think it will come close ‘ the ball may get rolling to get Louisville on the boxing map with Atlantic City and Las Vegas.
Ticket prices for ‘Return For Revenge’ range from $40 to $1,500. When tickets went on sale on July 2, all of the $40 duckets were scarfed up, however.
Don’t think there’s a market for $1,500 seats? Think again.
A visit to the Ticketmaster web site last week showed that the best single seat that could be scored was in the first row, but off the floor.
That’s hardly a sign that people are turned off by Tyson.
‘But Tyson is a convicted rapist and an adulterer,’ some opponents say. The last time I checked, dodging the draft is a felony, too, and Ali was convicted of that (it was later overturned). Ali is no stranger to cheating on his wives, but no one cares now because he changed into a better man as he grew older.
I watched local coverage of the Tyson-Williams press conference and simply shook my head as folks continued to pepper the promotors about Tyson’s past. City officials and women’s groups agree: ‘He’s a sexual predator and he’s not welcome in Louisville.’
There are over 600 people living in Jefferson County registered by the state of Kentucky as sex offenders. Tyson will be here a couple of days and leave. What’s the big deal?
When Tyson appeared in Louisville earlier this month to announce and promote the bout, he was a choir boy. Even the cliche stare-down photo-op versus Williams only lasted a half-second before Tyson broke into a smile and offered to shake hands.
Hardly the move of a mad man.
I’m not suggesting the pit bull mentality is gone or that Tyson will never again have a brush with the law. But unlike the rest of the Louisville media market, I’m open-minded enough to give Iron Mike a chance to prove he’s changed.
— Tickets for ‘Return For Revenge,’ which range from $76 to $1,501, can be purchased by visiting ticketmaster.com or by calling (502) 361-3100. So far, more than 7,000 have been sold out of 19,900 seats.

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