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Boxing: Iron Mike vs. The Black Rhino - 2003-02-12

After a week-long drama with both boxers changing their minds, it now appears the heavyweight fight between Mike Tyson and Clifford Etienne will take place Saturday night in Memphis, Tennessee.

In the latest bizarre twist in the drawn-out saga, Etienne decided Wednesday that he will go forward with the fight as planned. Etienne had been unhappy that Tyson was dictating terms of the fight, and announced Tuesday that he would not fight the former heavyweight champion.

Tyson's camp originally cancelled the fight Monday, claiming that Tyson was too sick to fight. But before that announcement, Tyson had refused to fly to Memphis for two straight days and had skipped three days of training. However, the boxer woke up Tuesday, decided he wanted to fight, and chartered a private jet to Memphis.

After Tyson arrived, it was Etienne's turn to have a change of heart and refuse to fight. But when told promoters had a list of four boxers ready to replace him, Etienne agreed to take part in the bout. So the fight is back on - for now.

The non-title bout will be Tyson's first since he was knocked out in Memphis last June by world champ Lennox Lewis of Britain. Like Tyson, Etienne has a prison record. He served nearly 10 years in jail for armed robbery in Lousiana. After his release from prison, Etienne decided to become a professional boxer.

VOA's Reigning Prince of Pugilistics (tm), Nnamdi "Hollywood" Moweta, says Etienne is nicknamed "The Black Rhino" because of his hard-charging style in the ring. Tyson is the favorite, and if he scores an impressive victory over The Black Rhino (tm), there is talk of a rematch with Lennox Lewis.

Nnamdi Moweta is planning to be ringside in Memphis for the bout between "Iron Mike" and "The Black Rhino." Please tune in to VOA's "Sonny Side of Sports" in the days leading up to the fight for plenty of verbal jabs and analysis from Nnamdi.