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A Long History of Long Counts : Boxing: Many of Tyson's past opponents are timed by a stopwatch as being down for more than 10 seconds.

February 13, 1990|MAL FLORENCE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Neither Mike Tyson, nor his adviser, Don King, should be surprised that James (Buster) Douglas was timed as being down for as long as 13.65 seconds in their heavyweight championship fight Sunday in Tokyo.

It has happened frequently over the years--and in many Tyson fights.

Douglas, of course, knocked out Tyson in the 10th round. However, King claims that Tyson should be awarded a KO victory because Douglas stayed down for more than 10 seconds.

However, he was only obliged to get up before referee Octavio Meyran's count of 10, which he did.

A review of some films at the Amateur Athletic Foundation, with the help of library director Wayne Wilson and a stopwatch, showed fighters are often on the floor for a longer period of time than the actual count.

Some of Tyson's previous bouts with outclassed opponents are examples of this time discrepancy. Backed up by a stopwatch, here are some samplings:

Oct. 25, 1985--The count was stopped on a beaten Robert Colay at eight, but he was down for 10 seconds.

Nov. 13, 1985--Eddie Richardson was counted out, but he was actually on the floor 12 seconds.

Jan. 11, 1986--David Jaco beat the count, but was down for 12.3 seconds. He was then counted out later in the first round.

Feb. 16, 1986--Jesse Ferguson got up at the count of eight. However, the stopwatch counted him down for 10.3 seconds. He was eventually knocked out formally in the sixth round.

March 10, 1986--Steve Zouski was predictably counted out in the third round. He had been out for some time, say 13.3 seconds.

Sept. 6, 1986--Alfonso Ratliff was knocked out in two rounds by Tyson. But he got a reprieve earlier when he was up at the nine count, when he had actually been down for 11.7 seconds.

Nov. 22, 1986--Tyson won the WBC heavyweight title with a second-round knockout victory over Trevor Berbick in Las Vegas. The count was 10, but Berbick had been reclining for 14 seconds.

Feb. 10, 1990--In his loss to Douglas, Tyson, in the 10th, got up at the count of nine but was still counted out because he was in no condition to continue. NBC put a clock on Tyson and found he was down almost exactly as long as Douglas was in the eighth.

So Tyson, of all people, should be aware that the time his opponents spend on the floor is not synchronized with the actual count.

More examples:

June 18, 1941--Heavyweight champion Joe Louis knocked out Billy Conn in the 13th round in a memorable bout. The count was 10, but Conn was on the floor for 12.4 seconds.

Nov. 27, 1950--Sugar Ray Robinson deposited one Jean Spock on the canvas, but Spock beat the count even though he was down for 10.62 seconds. Oh, well, he got knocked out anyway in the second round.

June 10, 1948--In the third Tony Zale-Rocky Graziano fight, Graziano was counted out in the third round. He should have been, since he had been down for 11.8 seconds.

May 1, 1957--Sugar Ray Robinson regained the middleweight title for the fourth time by knocking out Gene Fullmer in the fifth round. Fullmer was really out, on the canvas for 11.8 seconds.

June 20, 1960--After being knocked out by Ingemar Johansson in their first fight, Floyd Patterson avenged the defeat in the rematch. However, it took him longer to knock out Johansson than it should have.

Johansson beat the count on the first knockdown, but he was actually down for 10.3 seconds.

Then, when he was counted out in the fifth round, he had been on the floor for more than 11 seconds.

Nov. 18, 1970--Bob Foster was eventually knocked out by heavyweight champion Joe Frazier. But he prolonged the ending by getting up at an eight count. He had been down, though, for 10.1 seconds.

Nov. 23, 1974--Alexis Arguello won the featherweight championship by knocking out Ruben Olivares in the 13th round. However, before he did, Olivares was up at the count of nine when he had been down for 11.85 seconds.

And, when he was finally counted out, he was really out-- 14.3 seconds on the floor.

* RECOGNITION

World Boxing Council President Jose Sulaiman and Don King both said Monday night that they recongnize Buster Douglas as heavyweight champion. C6

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