Mendez-Usmanee end in draw on Tyson’s fight card

Mike Tyson’s first promotional fight card went about the same

way as his boxing career.

Dramatic, memorable and controversial.

Argenis Mendez of the Dominican Republic and Afghan fighter

Arash Usmanee battled to a rare 12-round draw Friday night at the

Turning Stone Resort Casino. Mendez (21-2-1) retained his IBF

junior lightweight belt in the marquee attraction of Tyson’s

marketing debut. The embattled Tyson, a member of the Boxing Hall

of Fame, has organized an outfit called ”Iron Mike Productions,”

and his aim is to be a full-service agency for up-and-coming

fighters, who can learn the sport, in and out of the ring, from one

of the greatest.

Usmanee improved to 20-1-1 in the event, which was tabbed

”Tyson Is Back,” and featured some disappointed fans who felt

Mendez won the bout. Iron Mike was one of them.

”I’m very grateful,” Tyson said. ”We had two sensational

championship fights. I thought my fighter (Mendez) won his fight.

It was a sensational fight, good for boxing, but horrible for my

boxer. He’s a great boxer.”

In another bout, Jesus Andres Cueller (23-1) outlasted

previously undefeated Claudio Marrero (14-1) to win the vacant

World WBA interim featherweight championship.

But the story of the night was Mendez-Usmanee. Neither was

knocked down in the bout, which was nationally televised.

”I’m really disappointed in the decision,” said Mendez, whose

nickname is ”La Tormenta.” `’I’m the champion and I thought I

won.”

”It was a very close fight,” Usmanee said. ”It depends on how

you judge a fight. I was the aggressor. It could have gone either

way.”

In other bouts, Eddie Paredes (34-3-1) posted his 12th

consecutive victory, defeating Noe Bolanos (24-9-1); Alexei Collado

(17-0) beat Guillermo Sanchez (13-10-1); Dorsett Barnwell (10-0)

stopped Marlon Hayes (23-13) in the third round; and Antoine

Douglas (9-0) recorded a win over Edgar Perez (5-6).

Tyson says he’s ecstatic to be back in the sport. He says his

fighters – like Mendez – won’t be subjected to what he went through

in his heyday, and that you can expect more cards like his

first.

”When I first got involved, I just didn’t know,” Tyson said.

”Never in a thousand years did I plan on doing it. I’m just happy

to be back involved in boxing. It’s a dream come true. I’m a little

nervous.”

Tyson, 47, who has battled addiction and depression, and has

lost millions of dollars through the years, hopes to provide his

fighters with a structured environment for success, and to be able

to help them learn from his mistakes.

”You’re never going to hear them say `Mike Tyson stole from

me.’ Hopefully, they’ll never end up like me,” he said. ”I’m not

a magician. The only thing I can do is suggest – go in the right

direction. We have to look for happiness within.

”I can’t stop somebody from hurting themself.”