`When you talk, all you do is pollute yourself'

The more you talk, Mike, the more you pollute yourself. If you were a reservoir, nobody could drink the water. If you were the emission system on somebody's car, the driver would get a ticket. If you were a fertilizer, grass would die.

DAVE ANDERSONNew York Times News Service

The more you talk, Mike, the more you pollute yourself. If you were a reservoir, nobody could drink the water. If you were the emission system on somebody's car, the driver would get a ticket. If you were a fertilizer, grass would die.

And if you were anybody but Mike Tyson, you would be ignored.

But you're Mike Tyson, now an occasional boxer who is a former undisputed world heavyweight champion. So you're still news. No matter what you say, some people still take you seriously or sympathetically, or both. And there you were Thursday night on the Fox network talking about the impact that your 1992 rape conviction had on you.

"You can't get your dignity back," you said softly.

Sorry, Mike, you can't get back what you never had.

As a youngster who, according to the Fox programme, was arrested 38 times before the age of 13, there's no dignity in being a street thug who mugged old ladies and stole their purses.

There's no dignity in going to an upstate New York jail as a teenager.

There's no dignity in being a heavyweight contender who, as you once said, wanted to throw an uppercut that would drive an opponent's nose into his brain.

There's no dignity as the youngest heavyweight champion in breaking your right hand in a street brawl with the heavyweight Mitch Green.

There's no dignity in being called a manic-depressive by your first wife, Robin Givens, in a television interview shortly before she filed for divorce.

There's no dignity in biting both of Evander Holyfield's ears even if, as you insist, you were being butted.

There's no dignity in doing one year in prison for punching one man and kicking another after a minor traffic accident in Maryland.

There's no dignity in growling that you wanted to eat Lennox Lewis's children.

There's no dignity in igniting a brawl with Lewis at a prefight news conference.

And there's no dignity in what you said in the Fox interview about how you should not have been convicted of raping Desiree Washington but that you now "really do want" to commit the same crime against both her and her mother. Of all your crude words over the years, those may be the most vile.

Talking is all you seem to be doing now. Talking about how you're being persecuted by others, but you've always persecuted yourself.

If you're still a boxer, don't talk about it, do it. If you still think you can regain a heavyweight title, don't talk about it, go into serious training. After your last bout, a farcical 49-second punchout of Clifford (the Black Rhino) Etienne, you talked about how you needed "more rounds," how you needed "to go back to the gym." Then do it.

You also talked about how you need "two more fights" before you would be ready to challenge Lennox Lewis again.

Two more fights sounded like a phony excuse. Two more fights sounded as if you really didn't want to risk being beaten bloody by Lewis again, as you were in Memphis nearly a year ago. So you can just keep saying you need two more fights.

But if all you need are two more fights, why haven't you at least signed for one by now? You were supposed to be on, pardon the expression, the undercard to Lewis's title defense against Kirk Johnson in Los Angeles on June 21, but you pulled out.

If you stick to that two-more-fights plan, it will take you to the end of the year, if not into next year. By then, Lewis might get tired of waiting. He has already filed a lawsuit against you and Don King for reneging on your planned June bout with him.

You and Don King, together again. The word is that you're listening to Don King again, the same Don King whom you sued and who is suing you. Only in boxing.

Maybe you think that Don King is your connection to a multimillion-dollar bonanza with Roy Jones Jr., the longtime light-heavyweight champion who took the World Boxing Association heavyweight title from John Ruiz earlier this year. As a co-promoter of the Jones-Ruiz fight, King was on Ruiz's side, but King is known for walking to a fight with the loser and walking away with the winner, as he did when George Foreman knocked out Joe Frazier in Jamaica.

Jones surely realises that he can't outbox Lewis, that Lewis is too tall and too strong for him. He also realises that there's no real money in challenging Chris Byrd, the International Boxing Federation champion. That leaves you, Mike, as Jones's only multimillion-dollar opponent.

If Jones agrees to fight you, he must think he can beat you. But he might be wrong. From the first bell, you would rush across the ring and swarm all over him. As slick as he is, he might not be able to escape. Not that you would get your dignity back if you won, because you've never had any, but you would get a championship belt back.

So if you're going to fight, Mike, then fight. Stop talking. When you talk, all you do is pollute yourself.