Green Won’t Drop Charges for Tyson Rematch : He Says Heavyweight Champion Hit Him With Sucker Punch in Street Fight

Associated Press

Mitchell Green said Wednesday that he will not drop charges that heavyweight champion Mike Tyson hit him with a sucker punch outside an after-hours Harlem haberdashery.

Green said Tyson hit him after he told the champion he didn’t fight hard in their 1986 bout because promoter Don King cheated him.

“Mike Tyson hit me and ran like a sissy,” said Green, who lost to Tyson in the ring as well as in their one-punch affair early Tuesday.

“I want a rematch,” Green said at a news conference he called to tell his side of the story. “Enough name-calling. All I want is Mike Tyson to accept my challenge.”


Tyson (35-0) has knocked out all but four of his pro opponents. Green (16-2-1), was the second fighter to go the distance with Tyson, who had won his first 19 bouts by knockout.

Tyson said he slugged Green in self-defense after Green ripped his shirt and shoved him, “ranting and raving” that Tyson and King owed him money.

In a statement released after Green’s news conference, Tyson dismissed Green as “a punk and a true coward” who was the aggressor Tuesday and who filed a criminal complaint as “a publicity stunt.”

“He hit me first, I hit back and the fight was over . . . faster than Spinks,” Tyson said, referring to his 91-second knockout of Michael Spinks on June 27.

“I can beat this guy any time, anywhere, any place,” Tyson boasted. “I will teach him a lesson in the ring that he should have learned already.”

Tyson said Green must survive “some good tough preliminary fights so that he’s ranked again.”

Tyson failed to appear Wednesday at a Harlem police station, where he was to receive a summons charging him with simple assault, a misdemeanor. The boxer’s publicist said Tyson had to see a physician because the hand with which he hit Green was hurting him, and police postponed Tyson’s appearance until today.

Tyson’s injury--a hairline fracture to the third metacarpal--is not serious, according to his manager, Bill Cayton, who said a surgeon will determine if Tyson’s Oct. 8 fight against Frank Bruno in England will be rescheduled.

At his news conference, Green--his left eye puffed closed, a large cut on the bridge of his nose--offered this version of his encounter with Tyson at Dapper Dan’s Boutique, where the champion was picking up an $800 jacket at 4:30 a.m., EDT.

“I was in Manhattan, 105th Street. They told me Tyson was in Dapper Dan’s. I went over to see for myself. When I got there, he was there with a lot of his friends. I approached him. I said, ‘Mike, what you doin’ here? What’s up?’

“I told him that when I fought him (in 1986), I did not (really) fight him that night because Don King (cheated) me out of my money.

"(Tyson) said he did beat me. . . . He said, ‘We can do this now.’ I said, ‘Do what?’

“We walked outside. He said, ‘We can do this now to make up for that fight we had back then.’ I said, ‘What?’ At that moment, he was fixing his rings on his hands, like brass knuckles. . . . He sucker-punched me.

“I tried to get to him, and his friends held me. He never knocked me down. . . . He shook his hand like a little sissy and ran.”

Asked if he took a dive in the 10-rounder against Tyson two years ago, Green said: “My heart was not in this fight. . . . Would you fight Mike Tyson for $35,000?”

Although the Tyson camp held out hope that Green would drop charges, he said he would not, even if Tyson agreed to a rematch.

“His hand is a licensed weapon. . . . I want to settle this like gentlemen,” Green said.

Green was unbeaten in five years of professional boxing before losing a fight for the U.S. Boxing Assn. title to Trevor Berbick in 1985.

On Dec. 10, 1986, Green had to be restrained when he tried to go after promoter King during a news conference at Madison Square Garden.

Green, who at 6 feet 5 inches is 6 inches taller than Tyson, has had several encounters with the law since losing to Tyson in the ring. He was arrested for drunken driving and resisting arrest on Sept. 18, 1986, after his Lincoln Continental collided with another car; for criminal possession of a controlled substance on Aug. 27, 1987, when angel dust was found in his car; for disorderly conduct on Sept. 5, 1987, after failing to pay a toll at a bridge, and for grand larceny and robbery of a gas station on Oct. 28, 1987.

Additionally, Green’s driver’s license has been suspended 54 times.

Tyson paid $105,000 to have charges dropped last year after he allegedly grabbed a female parking lot attendant and slapped her supervisor in Los Angeles.

British promoter Mickey Duff said Wednesday that he had Wembley Stadium booked Oct. 15 and Oct. 22 in case of illness or injury to Tyson or Bruno. Seth Abraham, president of HBO Sports, said the network prefers to televise the bout Oct. 22 if it must be pushed back.