TOKYO — World heavyweight champion Mike Tyson denied Thursday that he needed a psychiatrist to psych him up for Sunday's title defense against James "Buster" Douglas and declared: "If you can't fight, you're (unprintable)."
Tyson's salty response followed a woman reporter's question about reports that he had imported a traveling shrink to get him into that primed-to-kill mood.
"No, I'm afraid you're wrong," Tyson said as he and Douglas met the press at the New Otani Hotel. "I'm great. If you're a fighter, you just fight. You can't have a psychiatrist, you can't have whatever. If you can't fight ..."
Tyson finished with a coarse verb that brought gasps from some and chuckles from others. World Boxing Council President Jose Sulaiman, sitting close to both fighters, frowned gravely at Tyson's words.
(United Press International later reported that sources in Tyson's camp confirmed that he does have a "psychological consultant" with him and is sensitive about this because former wife Robyn Givens called him emotionally unstable.)
Tyson and Douglas meet about noon Sunday in the Tokyo Dome, with Tyson so heavily favored that Las Vegas bookmakers have not posted odds on the fight.
Tyson said that's justified.
"I feel in great shape and there's no way I can lose."
Jabbing back, Douglas said he was used to the underdog role.
"It's been like that since day one, since I began my professional career. No, it doesn't bother me at all."
Both said they would take the title home, refusing to be positive about a knockout.
"I'm not into predicting rounds," Tyson said. "I'm prepared to win."
"I'll take it any way I can get it," Douglas countered.
THE DOUGLAS entourage came into an ornate banquet room first, taking seats at a long table. The 23-year-old champion took his regal time and strode in 40 minutes later, somberly and with no bombast. Seating himself with promoter Don King, Tyson did not glance at Douglas, 29, who wore a natty grey suit and tie. Tyson was dressed in jeans and sweatshirt — streetfighter's clothes.
He looked tight and edgy, drumming his fingers and bobbing and weaving as he sat. Tyson tiredly denied that sparmate Greg Page had knocked him down in training or that he had been lethargic and offstride.
"It was a slip ... If you guys want to use that as a crutch to make me fight better, you do that. I feel great. I'm ready to fight this minute."
Asked what both fighters will earn from the bout, King would not give a definite figure, falling back on his earlier "ballpark" estimate of $9 million for the champion and $1 million for Douglas.
King confirmed a West German news report that Tyson may fight in Berlin, unified by the destruction of the Wall that had divided the city since 1960.
"I think it would be a superfight with the revolution that's going on in Europe," King said, "for democracy and the process of freedom and equality. It would be a tremendous opportunity to symbolize that with one of the greatest heavyweight title fights in the history of the world — Mike Tyson, undisputed and undefeated."
King says 'maybe' on Tyson-Hogan bout
TOKYO (Stripes) — Promoter Don King said Thursday that a match between world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and wrestler Hulk Hogan is a maybe, with Tyson ready to risk the wrath of the World Boxing Council if enough money talks.
The proposed match would pair grappler and pugilist in a "mixed match" in which each would follow the rules of his own game.
Confirming reports in New York newspapers, King said it's in the talkabout stage now. He also acknowledged that WBC President Jose Sulaiman, a purist about boxing, might reprove and suspend Tyson, as he did Muhammad Ali for fighting wrestler Antonio Inoki here in 1976.
King said that while he and Tyson "respect and admire and love Mr. Sulaiman," he has talked to a promoter who cited figures in the "astronomical atmosphere" of $200 million, the amount the bizarre bout might earn if televised worldwide.
"That may call for a change of heart," King said.
Sulaiman, sitting with both fighters at a joint news conference, said the WBC would strongly disapprove of such a "degrading" spectacle and Tyson could expect at least a statement condemning it.
King said he'll be talking with Hogan Feb. 23.