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TYSON DOESN'T DESERVE ANOTHER CHANCE FROM NEVADA BOXING COMMISSION

Don't ring my phone on Saturday.

Don't knock on my door or send me e-mail. Don't even post Ken Starr's 3,800-page version of what the President does with his cigar wrappers on the internet.

I have other things on my mind.

On Saturday your humble corespondent will be propped up in front of the wire service monitors to focus in on the single most fascinating sports story of our time -- the final hearing to determine whether the Nevada State Athletic Commission should lift its ban on Mike Tyson.

Surely this is sports' version of a psychological jaunt through Monica Lewinsky's closet.

In case you haven't kept up with the latest in the bittersweet science, Tyson has agreed to let the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the governing body for boxing in that state, study (and make public) the results of a series of psychological tests. It's the last step in a series of conditions designed to restore the boxing license Tyson's been denied since his well-documented assault on Evander Holyfield's ears.

This is precious. The same sanctimonious commission that licensed Tyson to fight in the Crap Table State after he was indicted on rape charges and again after he was convicted and served three years for said offense is now forcing the poster boy for fine young cannibalism to expose what went through his frontal lobes when he chomped on Holyfield's ear lobes.

Rape, a crime for which Tyson has been convicted and imprisoned, apparently doesn't matter. The fact that he's still on parole for that transgression apparently doesn't matter, nor does the fact that he's facing indictment regarding a charge of assault on an elderly couple in Maryland or that he's already delivered a profanity-laced address to a similar commission in New Jersey.

But chomping off and spitting out pieces of a man's diamond stud holders apparently needs to be explained away. In holding reinstatement hearings for Tyson, the commission is sending out a message that Tyson's antics -- antics that included a felony, a possible felony while on parole and a wild and profane appearance before the New Jersey licensing board -- don't really matter much. As long as someone with a string of letters after his or her name can reduce "Iron Bite's" antics to little more than aggravated spitting on the sidewalk, boxing is content to look the other way.

The fact that said lobes happened to still be connected to Holyfield's head has some bearing on the thinking out West, but come on. Is there anything left in sport that goes further below the belt than this?

Giving Tyson a license to box is like giving Dick Morris' nocturnal companion a day pass to the Oval Office. This stinks of money -- money for Tyson, money for the casinos and hotels in Lost Vegas, and money for the commission itself (part of its funding comes from sanctioned events within the state's borders).

It also stinks for boxing.

Boxing long ago lost its luster as a glamour sport. For years it's been one step ahead of the Department of Justice and just two steps removed from professional wrestling, but there was at least hope that the sport would clean up its act after the Tyson incident.

Tyson's actions for years haven't been just outside the rules of boxing, they've been outside the rules for civilization.

If the same tests that provide mother killers and father stabbers with a get-out-of-jail-free card clear Tyson to fight again, then the sport, or whatever is left of it, likely will never recover. Who is going to manage this guy, Hannibal Lecter? Who is he going to fight, Bart Simpson?

Besides, it's not as if Tyson can fight. He's 32 and while that's not exactly old in a sport that has brought back anyone who's gone four rounds and doesn't yet have his AARP card, he was finished as a dominating presence in the game long before he put the bite on Holyfield.

Tyson never could be classified as a boxer, but even as a fighter his skills weren't all that good. A mauler, yes, a puncher, definitely. A man you would bet on in a street fight, possibly, but a boxer, never.

What Tyson is now is old-before-his-time -- a broken-down felon who's only hope is to capitalize on his name and his once-feared reputation.

There's good money in that and I'm not denying Tyson the right to earn it. If he wants to dress up in Indian head dress and take his traveling circus to a reservation (a threat his handlers made to the Commission) so be it. If he wants to flee to Europe or some third-world country to crank the cash registers on the freak show circuit, more power to him.

But someone should draw the line on legitimizing him as a boxer again -- hopefully, on Saturday.

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