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There’s a Doctor in His House

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In an occasionally combative, rambling interview session Monday night at promoter Don King’s house with more than 20 reporters, Mike Tyson for the first time spoke freely about his marriage to Monica Turner earlier this year.

“She’s my wife--I love her, she loves me,” Tyson said of Turner, who gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Rayna, in February 1996, and is expecting their second child.

“But she has no influence in my life as far as me being in the ring.”

Tyson said the couple discuss her work as a doctor only if she brings it up--and don’t talk about the dichotomy of their seemingly opposite professions at all.

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“Her job is to love me and take care of my children,” Tyson said. “My job is to take care of her and my children. I don’t ask her anything.

“If she wants to volunteer some information about what happened today, she may come home and say, like, some young child has been molested or something crazy or has had some successful operation. . . .

“My experience with doctors, they just can’t let it go. They bring their work home, they want to talk about it.”

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Evander Holyfield finished his sparring Tuesday at the MGM Grand with a quick but very physical two rounds against Gary Bell, whose bullish style is eerily similar to a young Tyson.

Bell, who by all accounts got the best of their battles in the preparations for Holyfield’s first fight with Tyson, says there’s no question Holyfield stepped it up this time around.

“His conditioning is better, and he’s 100% stronger,” said Bell, who landed a few shots Tuesday but got nailed with several right hands. “He was able to shove off of me, and that’s something he couldn’t do much last time. He’s been working with his legs--his foundation is much stronger now.”

Because the rematch was postponed from its original May date, Holyfield has been sparring, mostly with Bell, since March.

“He has courage--he goes in there swinging,” Holyfield said. “He keeps me on my toes, because I know he has enough power and skills to embarrass me, like he’s done before.”

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Mitch Halpern, who was given high marks for his handling of the first Holyfield-Tyson fight, has been assigned to referee the rematch Saturday. . . . Tyson, on the decision to replace longtime associate Jay Bright with Richie Giachetti as his lead trainer: “That was an easy decision. He’s family and family is the first to go.” . . .

Julio Cesar Chavez, who has fought on several Tyson undercards and is set for a 10-rounder against Larry Daniel La Coursiere on this one, said Tyson had better get rid of Holyfield fast or face trouble. “I expect that Tyson must win within the first three rounds against Holyfield,” Chavez said through a translator. “Otherwise, the fight will become very difficult for Mike.”

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