Tyson faces possible rape charges

As Mike Tyson turned a Tuesday media conference into a melee, Las Vegas authorities hinted he could again be charged with rape.

Tyson ignited a spirited brawl with undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis at New York's Hudson Theater, where they were announcing their desire to box Apr. 6 in Las Vegas.

Following an all-out scuffle in which WBC president Jose Sulaiman admittedly "blacked out for a few moments," Tyson spewed verbal filth at a reporter who chided, "Put him in a straitjacket."

Tyson repeatedly clutched his crotch while swearing incessantly.

"My motivation for approaching Lennox was to stage a faceoff which, I was told, both camps had agreed to," Tyson said in a statement. "It was Lennox's bodyguard who panicked and shoved me.

"Lennox then threw a right. I was here to promote the fight, not be intimidated.

"I will never be intimidated by anyone and Lennox will pay in April."

"As a result of today's events, I will re-evaluate my options after the relevant boxing commission has ruled," Lewis responded in a statement read by his business manager, Adrian Ogun.

"I thought it was completely regrettable," said Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which will hold a Jan. 29 hearing on whether or not to grant Tyson a new boxing licence.

Asked how Tyson's tirade might impact the NSAC's decision, Tyson adviser Shelly Finkel said: "It didn't help."

Las Vegas police investigators, meantime, claim evidence has been found to support a woman's claim that she was raped by Tyson.

Though charges have yet to be filed, Sex Crimes Unit Commander Lt. Jeff Carlson said: "We think there's probable cause to believe a crime occurred (but) we're not the attorneys. It's their decision whether to prosecute."

That said, the results of a four-month investigation into the allegations were delivered to Clark County District Attorney Stewart Bell.

Prosecutors will now review the findings and choose whether to file former charges against Tyson, who served three years in an Indiana state prison after being convicted of rape in 1992.

Contacted following Tuesday's fracas, Tyson spokesman Scott Miranda reiterated that both the boxer and his handlers cooperated fully with Las Vegas authorities.

"We did everything we were asked to," Miranda said. "Now it's up to the district attorney's office."

Though the woman's accusations remain unknown, police confirmed a search of Tyson's Las Vegas home was conducted last September.

Tyson was accused of sexual assaulting another unidentified woman, but San Bernardino County prosecutors determined there was insufficient evidence to lay charges.

Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion ever when, at 20, he knocked out Trevor Berbick for the WBC crown on Nov. 22, 1986.

He went on to become the first undisputed heavyweight champ since Muhammad Ali with triumphs over WBA belt holder James (Bonecrusher) Smith on Mar. 7, 1987 and IBF titleist Tony Tucker on Aug. 1, 1987.

Tyson racked up 37 consecutive wins -- 33 by knockout -- before losing to James (Buster) Douglas in February 1990.

He is currently 49-3-0 with 43 KOs.

In his last fight, Tyson knocked out Brian Nielsen of Copenhagen in the seventh round on Oct. 13.