Publish date:

SCORECARD

Author:

Tyson's Trials

In the grand scheme of things, the 15 days of extra jail time that Mike Tyson received last week for threatening a prison guard appears to be the least of his difficulties. Evidence gathered in a three-year-old lawsuit brought against Tyson's promoter, Don King, by Tyson's former manager Bill Cayton indicates that much of the $70 million in purses Tyson earned between 1985 and '91 has slipped through his fingers. In his deposition Tyson's former accountant, Mohammed Khan, says Tyson is down to a few million dollars' worth of real estate, some expensive cars and a $2.8 million annuity.

Where has the money gone? According to Joseph Maffia, a former comptroller for Don King Productions, much of it went to King and King's family. In an affidavit Maffia said that King skimmed off millions from the purses of Tyson's fights before Tyson collected his 66.6% share and King received his 33.3% promoter's fee.

According to Maffia, King usually paid his wife, Henrietta, a $100,000 consulting fee out of each fight's revenues. After Tyson received his cut, Maffia said, King charged Tyson for the $52,000 annual salary King's daughter, Debbie, received as president of the Mike Tyson Fan Club, as well as for "consulting fees" for Debbie's husband, Greg Lee, and King's sons, Carl and Eric.

King issued a statement last Tuesday saying that Maffia's affidavit is "filled with lies, fabrications and half-truths. I have never improperly taken anything from Mike and every expense was at his direction or approval."

Maffia's charges came in response to a subpoena requested by Cayton's lawyers, who want to know whether Tyson or King underreported Tyson's income to Cayton, thus reducing Cayton's cut of Tyson's earnings. Last Friday the lawyers were granted permission to subpoena King. A process server was sent to King's Manhattan town house, but King says he thought the process server was a hired gunman. After an 11-hour standoff, King called the police and several news organizations. After the police confirmed that the man was, in fact, a process server, King accepted the subpoena early Saturday.

As for Tyson's continuing attempt to appeal his rape conviction, Vincent Fuller, his chief trial counsel, has filed papers claiming that the fire at the Indianapolis Athletic Club, where the jurors in the Tyson trial were quartered, should be grounds for a new trial. Fuller says that the four females on the jury felt indebted to the male jurors who had taken care that the women were evacuated from the building first. Fuller says that the women, who all voted for acquittal on the jury's first ballot, "quickly capitulated to the men's point of view."

Meanwhile, at his disciplinary hearing at the Indiana Youth Center last Friday, Tyson was represented by a fellow inmate, whose name has not been released. The jailhouse lawyer proved to be more effective than some of Tyson's high-priced real lawyers. The enterprising fellow got Tyson's punishment reduced from a possible 38 days to the 15 he received.

Clearly, Tyson needs all the legal help he can get.
—SONJA STEPTOE

That Totalin' Town
This item appeared in the notes handed out to the press before the Houston Astro-Chicago Cub game at Wrigley Field last Thursday: "Mark Grace enters tonight's play having appeared in 199 consecutive games, 1 shy of the 200 mark."

The End of the Ride

Angel Cordero Jr. expected to win every race he rode. As he said while announcing his retirement last Thursday, "Even if a horse was 100 to 1, I figured if I'm on him, he has a chance." Cordero's confidence and competitiveness enabled him to win 7,076 races, including three Kentucky Derbys, during his 31-year career. But those qualities also made him the most controversial jockey of his time. Sometimes, when Cordero couldn't win a race, he would try to use his horse to influence the outcome by doing things like attempting to herd the favorite to the outside.

The most notorious example of the devil in Angel came during the 1980 Preakness. He won, aboard Codex, but only after letting his colt drift out in the final turn so that Codex could intimidate Kentucky Derby winner Genuine Risk. Although Cordero's tactics were within the boundaries of what's known as "race riding," Genuine Risk's fans were outraged. "It was a bad experience for me," said Cordero last week. "A nightmare."

Cordero was involved in another controversy, in 1978, when, in an SI story, Tony Ciulla, an admitted race fixer, said that Cordero had helped him rig races in the early '70s. Cordero denied the allegations, and no charges were filed.

Cordero's cockiness did little to enhance his popularity. He always celebrated his victories by vaulting out of the saddle and twirling his whip. "I loved the people even when they booed," said Cordero. In fact, Cordero was so passionate about winning that even after he was almost killed in a Jan. 12 accident at Aqueduct, he thought he might make a comeback. However, his injuries—broken ribs, a laceration of the intestines and a bruised kidney—were so severe that his doctors urged him to hang up his silks.

Cordero plans to become a trainer, and if he is as confident in that pursuit as he was as a jockey, he should be very successful. As he said last week, "I always wanted to be the greatest rider in the world, and if I didn't accomplish that, I got pretty close."
—WILLIAM F. REED

Superkid Grows Up

The day that Cordero announced his retirement, another athlete also called it quits. Following four operations on his right arm, 21-year-old Jon Peters, one of the best high school pitchers in history, decided to give up playing baseball. "After all the surgery, I got tired of pitching in pain all the time," says Peters. "Ninety-nine percent of the time it hurt to throw."

When Peters and his Brenham, Texas, team lost 3-1 to Taiwan in the 1986 Senior League World Series in Kissimmee, Fla., no one realized how rare a Peters defeat would become. Three years later Peters had won a national-record 53 straight high school games and had been the subject of dozens of newspaper stories, countless television appearances and one SI cover.

Brenham (pop. 11,962) is 73 miles northwest of Houston, and next to the Blue Bell ice cream plant, baseball is the biggest thing in town. All of Brenham used to turn out to watch Peters pitch, and he never disappointed them. On April 28, 1989, when Peters got the 51st win in his streak and broke the record set by Timmy Moore of McColl, S.C., in 1980, he treated Brenham to a no-hitter. "The attention was a great honor," he says. "Looking back, I think it must have been a lot of pressure, but I didn't feel it at the time." Peters finally lost on May 25, 1989, when West Orange-Stark (Texas) High beat Brenham 3-0. His final career high school record was 54-1.

Because Peters had already been operated on once by the time he graduated from Brenham High, he didn't throw hard enough to interest the pros. He entered Texas A&M in the fall of 1989, but elbow trouble forced him to miss his freshman season. In January '91 he transferred to Blinn College in Brenham, and the last time he pitched was when he went five innings for Blinn on Feb. 27, 1991, and got the win. "I miss baseball some-what," says Peters. "But I love watching it. I love watching it."

This fall Peters plans to return to Texas A&M, where he wants to serve as a student assistant with the Aggie baseball team while he completes his degree in kinesiology. He then plans to get a masters in education administration and become a coach or an athletic director.

In 1988, as Peters was well on his way to his record, Gerald Anderson, superintendent of the Brenham schools, said, "What pleases me most is, I know if something, heaven forbid, ever went wrong with Jon's arm, he would still be the best at whatever he chose to pursue. It's his personality. After all the media coverage has died down, he'll still be the same Jon Peters he's always been—a humble, respectful, courteous young man."

Anderson was right.

Bye Karate
Recently, Herschel Walker, Minnesota Viking running back and sometime member of the U.S. bobsled team, told USA Today that he had been invited to try out for the U.S. karate team for the 1992 Summer Olympics. Walker happens to be very good at karate. Trouble is, karate is not an Olympic sport.

PHOTO

JOHN IACONO

Neither Tyson (left) nor King is smiling much anymore.

PHOTO

RICHARD MACKSON

In '89 Peters was a cover boy.

PHOTO

JERRY COOKE

Cordero rode into the winner's circle 7,076 times.

TWO ILLUSTRATIONS

Judgment Calls

[Thumb Up]To Harold Miner, All-America guard at southern Cal, for promising to donate $60,000 to the Trojan athletic department to repay the cost of his scholarship. Miner is passing up his senior year to enter the NBA draft.

[Thumb Down]To the Minnesota North Stars, Timberwolves, Twins and Vikings, for opposing a plan to add a surcharge to their ticket prices to prevent further cuts in athletics by the insolvent Minneapolis school district.

They Said It

Bill Bradley, U.S. senator (D., N.J.) and former NBA All-Star, when asked how a presidential nominee should he chosen from a group of candidates: "Line them up and let them shoot jump shots from the top of the key."

Rich Amoral, 30-year-old rookie shortstop for the Seattle Mariners, who spent nine seasons in the minors: "I've been to every baseball park in America except those in the American League and National League."