LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Danny Williams is under no
illusions about why Mike Tyson came calling four weeks ago with
an offer he could not refuse.
Williams jumped at the chance to face Tyson at Freedom Hall
Friday night and intends to prove the former world champion's
matchmakers made a big mistake.
The British boxer appears to be merely a stepping stone for the
"I was chosen as Tyson's opponent because I have a good record
(31-3), I am big, I look the part and they obviously think I am
going to get knocked out in a few rounds," said Williams, who
weighed in at 265 pounds Thursday. "They think I am a
knockover opponent but they have made a mistake.
"They wanted me back in 2000 but I'm glad it didn't happen then
because I wasn't ready mentally. I think if I had fought him
then I would have lost it before I set foot in the ring."
Tyson (50-4-2, 44 KOs) tipped the scales at 233 pounds Thursday,
marking only the third time in his career that he weighed in
over the 230-pound mark. He weighed 225 1/3 pounds for his last
bout, when he knocked out Clifford Etienne in the first round
on February 22, 2003.
In June 2002, Tyson weighed in at 234½ pounds, then was
promptly pounded by Lennox Lewis.
Williams, 31, has been in an uncharacteristically bombastic mood
since arriving in the United States to begin his training
preparations. But while he insists that Tyson is fading,
Williams has failed to convince anybody he will be the man
to throw the decisive punch.
A three-knockdown defeat to Sinan Samil Sam on a step up to the
European level last year fueled doubts about Williams' mental
strength. Tyson's trainer Freddie Roach also picked out the
issue of Williams' "bravery" after viewing film.
"All I can say is that I am ready," Williams said. "There is no
pressure on me and I am going to raise my game. I know a lot of
people think I am going to get knocked out but I am going to
prove them wrong.
"Tyson has been out of the ring for a long time. I want what he
has got -- big houses and big cars. This is a job and my job is
to go in there and out-box him."
Tyson still has his eyes on a return to the top of his sport and
considers Williams a mere tune-up for his blank bank account.
"I have been a fool not to fight," Tyson said. "I have just
realized that I missed all this tremendously. I really enjoy
the sound of the crowds, the sounds of the gloves hitting the
head and my opponent falling to the mat."
Tyson's camp talk bravely of a challenge to the WBC champion
Vitali Klitschko but for the time being he remains just a
legitimate fringe contender.
If Williams convinces himself Tyson is not the
indestructible force of old, he has the ability to do what
Buster Douglas did in Tokyo 14 years ago.
"Tyson is one of the greatest heavyweights ever to live. To get
to the top I have to fight fighters like him," Williams said.
"He is a tremendous fighter -- but now I believe he is ready for
The likelihood is that Williams will pay early for his audacity.
Which, after all, is precisely the reason he is here in the