Mike Tyson doesn't discuss strategy. He cares only that his body is sculpted and the rust is gone.
Tyson fights Alex Stewart tonight in a 10-round, non-title heavyweight bout at Atlantic City Convention Center in the former champion's second ring appearance since losing the title last February.Stewart is 26-1 with 26 knockouts, his only loss coming to current champion Evander Holyfield.
"If I'm landing the jab, I should have some success," Stewart said. "Tyson's going to come straight ahead. Holyfield was moving. This guy doesn't move. Holyfield is more of a technician. Tyson just wants to get one big punch to knock you out. Not much strategy."
Maybe not, but Tyson does have an uppercut - ask Michael Spinks, Frank Bruno and even Douglas, who went down after one of Tyson's calling cards before getting back up.
The boxing world remains unconvinced that Tyson, 38-1 with 34 knockouts, is again the menacing fighter whose very presence terrorized opponents. He, for one, no longer feeds that image by describing such maneuvers as smashing someone's nose into his brain.
In those days, Tyson couldn't entice a betting line, but that has changed since the loss to Douglas. This time, the line on Tyson-Stewart isn't non-existent, but it also isn't exactly tantalizing at 14-1.
Of late, Tyson is more self-contained, no longer quite so willing to display his restless energy, like he used to with hyper bursts of conversation. Still, he did have trouble standing still for Thursday night's weigh-in.
As for Stewart, opinions varied as to whether he looked frozen or stoic. He moved only when it was time to put his 218 pounds on the scale. Tyson, wound up a bit, shook out his shoulders and bounced on his feet, looking certain his body in bright red underwear could answer a few questions.
At 217 3/4, he is at ideal fighting weight. He weighed 217 for a one-round knockout of Henry Tillman last June but now is drawing comments about the muscular definition of his stomach and calves.
Most telling is that while his entourage clustered on the stage, outcast manager Bill Cayton, standing behind the back row, admired Tyson's condition. He said Tyson's physique reminds him of the shape his fighter was in for the 91-second knockout of Spinks in 1988.
"He looks almost as good," said Cayton, unable to resist adding, "He'll never look that good again."
Cayton said he is certain Tyson was "starved" at 220 1/2 pounds when he lost his title.
"Mike looks right now like he's been close to this weight for a while," the estranged manager said. And indeed, Tyson's camp says he weighed 220 for three weeks.
All the talk of Tyson's conditioning has not thrown Stewart. At least not completely.
"I'm not going to lie," Stewart said. "I could be 99 percent confident but there's always that doubt. I'm human. I have doubts every fight.
"The only way I see Tyson winning is to knock me out. He's going to hit me of course. But knock me out? I don't think so. He may put me down but I'll get up."
The main event begins about 11 p.m. EST and will be shown on Home Box Office. It is the last Tyson fight the cable network will carry. Tyson is expected to earn between $2.5 million and $5 million. Stewart's purse is $535,000.
Leading the eight-fight undercard is a 12-round bout between Julio Cesar Chavez, 72-0 with 59 knockouts, and top contender Kyung-Duk Ahn, 29-1, 13 KOs for Chavez's two 140-pound titles.