Mike Tyson has some meanness in him, but he displays it only when
he needs to get a job done in the ring. On Saturday afternoon in
the village of Glens Falls, N.Y., the job was to beat Marvis Frazier,
son of Smokin' Joe. It took Tyson just 30 seconds, and it was done
with a burst of pure violence rarely seen in this era of boxing
pachyderms. That accomplished, Tyson hurried across the ring to Joe
Frazier, a man who knows and respects a professional mean streak, and
said anxiously, ''Will you check him, please? I'm sorry it had to
happen this way.'' Later, after the younger Frazier had recovered
his footing, Tyson kissed him on the right cheek, about two inches
from the chin he had almost crushed with two vicious uppercuts.
An hour earlier, as Tyson, who has just turned 20, dressed for his
25th pro fight, one would not have suspected that the unbeaten young
man harbored such compassion. He ushered Jim Jacobs, his co-manager,
into a small bathroom next to his dressing quarters and detailed his
plan of destruction.
''To get away from the jab,'' Tyson said, snapping out his left,
''Marvis bends forward at the waist. He doesn't bend his knees, he
just bends forward.'' Tyson made a demonstration bow. ''That's when
I'm going to knock him out with the right uppercut.'' Jacobs pulled
back as Tyson's fist shot up past his face.
Frazier came into the ring wearing pale pink and an air of
confidence. In his only defeat in 17 pro fights, he was knocked out
in November 1983 by Larry Holmes, then the WBC heavyweight champion,
at 2:57 of the first round. But he was unawed by Tyson's reputation
for quick knockouts. ''Until now everybody who has fought Tyson has
been scared of him,'' Frazier had said. ''Well, I'm not scared. He's
never fought anybody who is going to be rollin' and slippin' and
testin' his body. He's good, but we'll find out just how good he
Tyson, his compact 217-pound body oiled by sweat, followed Frazier
into the ring. He came in without robe, or socks or smile. Just black
trunks, black ankle-high shoes and the look of tense anticipation of
a hungry Doberman who has suddenly happened upon 210 1/2 pounds of
unguarded red meat.
Referee Joe Cortez motioned for both fighters to get ready. Left
leg forward, Tyson was almost in a sprinter's crouch. Cortez glanced
at him and then quickly spread both arms to keep the fighters in
their corners while ABC television finished its prefight buildup
before giving them the green light. That took 60 seconds. A few more
ticks of the clock, and Tyson might not have been able to contain
''I love fighting so much,'' he said later. ''I just want to get
out there and get my hands on the guy.''
Under orders from his father, Frazier tried to box Tyson. ''Joe's
going to have him bobbin' and weavin','' said George Benton, who
trained the younger Frazier until the former heavyweight champion
took over the job himself shortly before the Holmes fight. ''He does
that, and Tyson's uppercut will kill him. You don't fool with a guy
like Tyson. You have to throw a lot of punches, keep busy and keep
Tyson had won 22 of his 24 previous fights by knockout, most of
them coming as the result of barrages of blows. In this, his sixth
fight in the last 12 weeks, Tyson showed that he can be a
sharpshooter as well. He chased Frazier into a neutral corner with
three jabs and then fired a hard jab between Frazier's gloves to the
Frazier bent forward, straight into the crushing right uppercut
Tyson had plotted. Stunned, Frazier ducked under a left hook and then
came up into the force of a second right uppercut that drove him back
against the ropes. Reaching out with his left hand, Tyson pulled down
both of his victim's arms, giving him a clean target for a right
Frazier started to fall to his left. A left hook followed him
down, driving him to the seat of his pink trunks. The fingers of
Cortez's right hand, unseen by Frazier, spread out into the count of
five, and then the hand came up, signaling a cease-fire. ''There
wasn't any sense counting any more,'' the referee said. ''He wasn't
going to get up.''
''There's no excuses now,'' Tyson said. ''I'm the best fighter in
the world right now. It will be the happiest day of my life to fight
Larry Holmes, a man I admire. It will be a pleasure to beat him.''
Holmes, who had negotiated with Tyson's people earlier in the
week, said he would be equally happy to fight Tyson -- for $2
million. As things now stand, Jose Ribalta is next on Tyson's
two-bouts-a-month schedule, followed, possibly, by Alfonso Ratliff
on the undercard of Michael Spinks's IBF title defense against
Steffen Tangstad on Sept. 6 in Las Vegas. Jacobs and co- manager Bill
Cayton are also looking at possible fights with WBC cruiserweight
champ Carlos DeLeon and former WBA junior heavyweight champion Dwight
One thing Jacobs and Cayton are avoiding is plugging their fighter
into the HBO-Don King-Butch Lewis heavyweight merry-go-round, with
its cast of recycling champions. ''There's no urgency to enter that
tournament,'' said Jacobs. ''Mike can make a lot of money (he and
Frazier earned $250,000 each) while a unified champion is determined.
If Mike continues as he has, he will be the Number l contender in all
three (WBA, WBC, IBF) organizations by then. There are a lot of big
fights for Mike without going after the title -- Holmes, Tyrell
Biggs, Gerry Cooney, He is capable of fighting a Trevor Berbick or
a Tim Witherspoon. After all, we are not talking about Jack Dempsey
and Joe Louis.''
But Tyson, a student of the sweet science, is thinking about
Dempsey and Louis. ''Before I am done,'' he said, ''I want everybody
in the world to know I am the best fighter in the world.''
Slipping into a red warmup suit, Tyson peered about his dressing
room. ''Where are the gloves from the fight?'' he asked. Kevin
Rooney, his trainer, handed them to him. Grinning, Jacobs held out
his right hand.
''You want them?'' Tyson asked, passing the gloves to Jacobs.
''I want them for the Boxing Hall of Fame.'' Jacobs said.
''Oh, O.K.,'' said the understanding young historian. END
KEN REGAN/CAMERA 5 Tyson set up Frazier with a jab, then sent two devastating uppercuts crashing home.