Extra Point

By Mike Fitzgerald

Wednesday, February 5, 1997


Is Tyson ready for
a rematch with Holyfield?

THE sports world according to Fitz:

Here we go again. Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson in a May 3 rematch in Las Vegas.

Is there much interest this time around? Well, the 16,000-seat MGM Grand Garden arena sold out within 55 minutes of the official announcement - with ticket prices ranging from $200 to $1,400.

Tyson, who was stopped by Holyfield in the 10th round on Nov. 9, is again the favorite, although it's at 3-1 compared to opening at 25-1 the last time around.

Was it a fluke or does Holyfield have Tyson's number? Is Tyson's attack too predictable or was he in poor shape? Does Tyson have to intimidate an opponent to beat him, which doesn't work against Holyfield?

Or, the question that more than a few boxing skeptics will ask, does the big money involved guarantee a Tyson victory, which would set up an even bigger payday all the way around in a rubber match?

The experts seem split - and, of course, each fighter is confident.

The 30-year-old Tyson has to win this fight or his career will take a huge dive, so to speak, in stature and cash. Holyfield, 34, has already been reborn by the big upset, so he can afford to lose since there would definitely be a third bout.

But Holyfield always trains as hard as possible and would love to be the one to end Tyson's stranglehold on the heavyweight division with a second-straight win.

Tyson is already taking the rematch more seriously. Instead of his friends trying to act as his trainers and handlers, his camp wisely hired current trainer Richie Giachetti - who is a no-nonsense tough guy who trained Larry Holmes and several others in the past.

Plus, there wasn't much trash-talking from Tyson's pals at the recent press conference this time around. Even Tyson was fairly humble, thanking Holyfield for the rematch.

A prediction? Not yet. I'm still hearing about the last one - when I picked Tyson in a first-round knockout.

CARTER LEAVES HAWAII

Former UH quarterback Michael Carter, who led the Rainbows to their greatest season ever in 1992, has left the islands to join former UH offensive coordinator Paul Johnson, who is now the head coach at Division I-AA Georgia Southern after a successful stint at Navy.

Carter told me just before the Hula Bowl that he would be very hesitant to leave Hawaii and that he was discouraged by the overall attitude of today's college players.

Johnson apparently changed his mind on both counts and Carter will reportedly coach the quarterbacks and fullbacks at Georgia Southern.

I think he made a great decision and hope it is the start of a long and successful coaching career for Carter.

Collegiate athletics in general and football in particular need all of the excellent role models they can get. And there isn't a better one around than Michael Carter.

SHULA REWARDED

I was happy to see Don Shula get elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as predictable as it was.

"It is really the final evaluation of your career," he told me at halftime of the Pro Bowl. "And it is the ultimate honor and recognition."

It is also extremely well-deserved for one of the best and classiest head coaches in the history of any sport.

TARKANIAN SNUB

I was glad to see UTEP head coach Don Haskins and former Princeton coach Pete Carril being voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

But leaving Jerry Tarkanian out again is disgraceful - and it smells of the NCAA enforcement clowns having some influence.

SIMPSON VERDICT

I have one reaction to last night's guilty verdict in the O.J. Simpson civil trial: Too bad they didn't get it right the first time.



Mike Fitzgerald's commentary appears every
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.




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