Tyson Loses In Street Fight

Posted: August 24, 1988

Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has lost his first fight as a professional boxer.

Mitch Green, a former heavyweight contender, scored a TKO over Tyson early yesterday morning when the reigning boxing king sustained a broken right hand during a street fight in New York City.

No refs. No judges. No gloves. A lot of mouth. A few witnesses. And conflicting reports.

Tyson appeared at a news conference wearing a knuckles-to-elbow length cast, after suffering a hairline fracture of the third metacarpal of the right hand. Bill Cayton, Tyson's manager, said that Tyson's scheduled Oct. 8 bout against Frank Bruno in London might be in jeopardy as a result of the injury.

Green filed an assault complaint against Tyson. Detective Harold Dice, of the 25th Precinct, said Tyson was expected to appear there today to receive a summons charging him with simple assault, a misdemeanor.

Though the break was described as minor, Cayton said that Tyson will wear the cast, ordered by hand surgeon Dr. David Chiu, for three weeks. "Really just to make sure that there is no further risk of any kind to Mike," Cayton said.

After three weeks, when the cast is removed, Chiu will decide whether "the (Bruno) fight can take place with no further risk of any kind to Mike," Cayton said.

Oddly enough, a doctor was not present at the news conference to confirm the details of the injury.

Also left cloudy were the details of what happened in the short scuffle between Tyson and Green, 31, who lost a 10-round decision to Tyson in May 1986.

There were two versions of what occurred.

Tyson claimed that Green, "ranting and raving" that Tyson and promoter Don King owed him money, ripped his shirt and started the fight as Tyson was getting into his car around 4:30 a.m. yesterday outside a 24-hour clothing store, Dapper Dan's Boutique, at 43 E. 125th St. in Harlem. Tyson had had gone there to pick up an $800 leather jacket, with "Don't Believe the Hype" stitched on the back.

Tyson said he injured his hand as the two had words and exchanged punches. No reasons were offered explaining why Tyson was picking up a jacket at 4:30 a.m.

Green's version, according to police, was different. Police spokesman Sgt. John Clifford told the Associated Press that Green told investigators that the fight took place outside an after-hours nightclub at 41 E. 125th St., where Tyson and two other men had been.

Green, of Jamaica, Queens, said in interviews with police that Tyson punched him first after Green told the unbeaten champion that he did not think Tyson won their 1986 meeting.

Green, according to Clifford, said that during the argument "Tyson popped him on the bridge of his nose."

The injury required five stitches, Clifford said. Police were investigating last evening. Green could not be reached for comment.

Tyson said that "Green hit me in the chest. He was upset. I guess I hit him over the eye. I was nervous. I hadn't had a street fight in seven years. I was scared."

Tyson brought two witnesses - San Antonio Spurs basketball player Walter Berry and Berry's cousin, Tom Smalls - to the news conference to support his version of the facts.

Berry and Smalls both described Green as the aggressor, and said he complained to Tyson that King owed him money and that he had been cheated.

"Mitch Green walked in (to the store) talking about how Don King owes him money," Berry said. "He said, 'You're with Don King, he owes me money.' He was really harassing Mike."

According to Berry, Tyson told Green, "Just leave me alone." Green, ignoring the plea, according to Berry, grabbed Tyson's shirt and ripped it, and later knocked the rear view mirror off Tyson's car.

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