SPORT

Feeling old, Mike Tyson says `this is my ending'

Clifton Brown

WASHINGTON: At this stage of his life, Mike Tyson is better at quitting than fighting, and he insists he will never fight again.

Stopped in three of his last four fights, Tyson seemed eager to end his controversial career after Saturday night's loss to Kevin McBride at the MCI Center.

The 15,472 fans in attendance, a majority of them cheering for Tyson, witnessed another bizarre chapter in a career that has become more farce than fury.

Though slightly ahead on two of the three judges' scorecards, Tyson failed to answer the bell for the seventh round. Tyson's trainer, Jeff Fenech, told the referee Joe Cortez to stop the bout.

Tyson admitted afterward that he did not have the will or the desire to continue. He had already resorted to dirty tactics, twisting McBride's arm several times in the sixth round as if trying to break it, followed by an intentional head butt that opened a nasty cut over McBride's eye.

When McBride survived those fouls, Tyson (50-6) took the easy way out. And this time, he said he was leaving for good.

``I just don't have it in my gut anymore,'' said Tyson, who will turn 39 on June 30. ``I wasn't really interested. I wanted to finish up, but Jeff Fenech is too sensitive when it comes to me. He wasn't interested in me going out and getting beat up anymore. It's just not in my heart anymore.''

Asked if he could envision a situation in which he would return to boxing, Tyson said: ``I can't do this no more. I'm not going to lie to myself. I'm not going to embarrass this sport anymore. Kevin is a wonderful young man. I wish him a wonderful career. This is my ending.''

``An older basketball player once told me, `I look good, I feel good, but when I get out there and do it, I can't do it,''' Tyson said. ``I felt that tonight. I felt like I was 120 years old.''Tyson went on the offensive in the first three rounds, but he has always had trouble with taller fighters, and at 6 feet 6 inches, McBride used his reach to make it hard for Tyson to do damage inside.

The momentum shifted to McBride for good in the fifth round, when he connected with a short right hook to Tyson's chin. At the end of the sixth round, with McBride leaning on him, a noticeably weary Tyson fell to the canvas.

``I didn't want to get up,'' Tyson said. ``I was tired.''

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