Tyson special looks like attempt to bolster his case for new trial


Showtime has a special on its regular feature "Championship Boxing Report" tonight (10:50) entitled "Mike Tyson Inside."

Producer Jay Larkin and interviewer Montel Williams deny it, but discussions with them indicate the talk with Tyson in an Indiana prison, which will be strung out to an hour for the syndicated "Montel Williams Show" July 8, appears to be just another attempt to get a favorable decision on an appeal for a new trial for the convicted rapist and former heavyweight champ.

In addition to "new" evidence, which has been revealed throughout the media many times by Mike's high-profile attorney, Alan Dershowitz, Tyson complains that the whole situation "has been more politicized than it should have been."

This sentiment and other statements using words such as "if I have one more hour left in my sentence, I will still pursue vindication" seem to shoot down Showtime's claim that Mike had been coached. Williams naively claims, "He couldn't have been coached because he had no foreknowledge of the things I was going to ask."

Tyson, who refused all questions concerning boxing, does have grounds for one complaint in that a decision on an appeal is usually handed down within 90 days, and his appeal has been pending for close to 130 days.

The show will be repeated on cable every evening until Thursday, when the extended version makes up Williams' syndicated show complete with a panel of lawyers arguing whether Tyson is entitled to a new trial.

The producers had hoped to syndicate the work into prime time, but failed, which probably serves as a pretty good critique of the effort.

* CNN Sports play of the day the other evening showed the grounds crew in Miami having a terrible time with the field tarpaulin during a Marlins-Mets rain delay.

Old-timers will recall a Keystone Kops-like night out on 33rd Street during an Orioles-White Sox game when the football tarp got so heavy the crew just gave up in disgust and Chicago manager Eddie Stanky threatened to take his protest "beyond the Supreme Court." He never explained the beyond.

* ABC must have sent its entire sports department on holiday this weekend, as it doesn't have one event scheduled tomorrow or Sunday. Along the same lines, the fabled Tour de France starts tomorrow, and none of the networks or cables has anything planned. Heck, if ABC and CBS can pass up a presidential news conference, shunting the Tour doesn't qualify as a mortal sin.

* The pay-per-view Evander Holyfield-Alex Stewart and Vinny Pazienza-Lloyd Honeygahn fights of last weekend constitute USA's "Tuesday Night Fights" next week.

* Sure, the networks will only be too happy to provide warnings for shows carrying excessive violence, especially because they know audience figures are apt to skyrocket as a result.

* The thing most people are apt to remember about Lee Janzen's dramatic charge to the U.S. Open championship last weekend was that completely dorky baseball hat he wore throughout. So ungolf, wasn't it?

* Good news for the pair of prospective NFL expansion franchises: The hunk of the television contracts they won't be sharing in the first two years of operation will be about 25

TC percent less than the old guard has become accustomed to. Lessens the hurt a wee bit.

* Wimbledon queries:

Really now, was it absolutely necessary for NBC to flash a thousand shots of Barbra Streisand on the screen during the Andre Agassi-Pete Sampras quarterfinal match Wednesday?

Is it imagination or does it appear as if John McEnroe is developing a sense of humor before our very ears?

Was there any doubt that Chris Evert was pulling for her old buddy Martina Navratilova during yesterday's women's semifinal when she indicated very strongly that Martina's opponent, Jana Novotna, is a choke artist?

Novotna, of course, won in straight sets, and doesn't it appear as if age is finally becoming a factor with Navratilova?

Do we have any right to expect a decent men's final Sunday (9 a.m.), considering the excellent quarterfinal matches between Sampras and Agassi and Boris Becker and Michael Stich?

By the way, did Agassi ever get around to explaining his remark about Sampras' resembling a monkey uttered at the French Open?

Isn't NBC remiss in not giving us more shots of London landmarks and the English countryside and castles instead of sticking with the same old shots of the Big W and environs?

* Actually, if Jon Miller's work as a national announcer of baseball ends up being for NBC (not ESPN), he'd end up doing more Orioles games.

* Roy Firestone's "Up Close" show on ESPN afternoons is usually a fine watch. Then there are times when Roy acts the part of a serious journalist and looks at a guy like basketball player Chuck Person and asks, "Are you a cheap-shot artist?"

* People who watch a lot of baseball on TV were surprised to learn it was only 2,226 games Carlton Fisk caught to set the major-league record. It only seemed like more considering Fisk's visits to the mound usually took games out to 3 1/2 hours.

* A U.S. women's basketball team, in Brazil at a world championship qualifying tournament, sneaked by Chile, 121-41, and got virtually nothing on the TV highlight shows. Sheesh!

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