Tyson weighs in at 233; Williams at 265

Updated: July 30, 2004, 1:07 AM ET

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 38-year-old Tyson.

"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 taking."

The likelihood is that Williams will pay early for his audacity. Which, after all, is precisely the reason he is here in the first place.