LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Mike Tyson was knocked out in the fourth round Friday night in a shocking end to the latest comeback of the fighter who once was the most feared heavyweight of his era.
Unheralded British heavyweight Danny Williams landed a flurry of punches that sent Tyson sprawling into the ropes, perhaps ending his career with the same kind of fury that Tyson once unleashed on other fighters.
The fighter once called the baddest man on the planet went down from a final right hand, then laid helplessly along the ropes, blood streaming down his face. He tried to get up to beat the count, then fell down again and the fight was waved to a stunning close at 2:51 of the fourth round.
The fight was a free-for-all from the opening bell, with Tyson landing some huge left hooks early, only to take punishment himself when Williams got over his initial stage fright and began brawling himself.
Tyson won the first three rounds, but Williams was landing well to the head and when he began throwing punch after punch with Tyson near a neutral corner, Tyson couldn't answer back.
Fighting in Muhammad Ali's hometown before a big crowd that cheered his every move, Tyson tried with every punch to score the kind of spectacular knockout that would make him a heavyweight contender once again at the age of 38.
But Williams wouldn't go down and then came back with shocking suddeness to win.
It was Tyson's first fight in 17 months, and only his second since taking a beating from former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis two years ago.
He was desperately trying to resurrect a career that made him more than $300 million, but the loss to a 9-1 underdog perhaps signals the end of an era in the heavyweight division
``People forget this isn't a peak Mike Tyson. This was a Mike Tyson who was 38 years old,'' Williams said. ``I thought I could win.''
Tyson left the ring refusing to talk, but his manager Shelly Finkel said he twisted his knee late in the first round and it bothered him.
``He couldn't get leverage,'' Finkel said. ``When the guy was leaning on him I knew it would be a bad night.''
The crowd of 17,253 that nearly filled Freedom Hall came to see a knockout by Tyson, and when Tyson rocked Williams with a big uppercut and some left hooks in the first two rounds it looked like they would get what they came for.
But Tyson was cut in the third round, and Williams showed he was going to be the bully in this fight. He hit Tyson on the break, losing a point, then hit him low, and the referee took another point.
``The way Tyson fights when he hits you with a good shot you want to get one back at him,'' Williams said.
AP - Jul 29, 6:53 pm EDT
Williams came in with a 31-3 record with 26 knockouts, but had fought only once in the United States. He said before the fight he wouldn't be scared and would beat Tyson in the late rounds, but the end came even earlier than he thought.
``I felt like I had him,'' Williams said. ``I just remember (Evander) Holyfield fighting him that Holyfield kept coming with shot after shot.''
Tyson won the first three rounds on all three ringside scorecards. But Williams, who weighed 265 pounds to 233 for the former champion, kept fighting back and soon seemed to be getting the better of Tyson when they traded head shots.
In the fourth round, Tyson landed a big left hook early, but soon Williams took over and was landing almost unanswered when he drove Tyson into the ropes with the final punch.
Referee Dennis Alfred began counting and got to five, then waited for Williams to go to a neutral corner, giving Tyson more time. But even that wasn't enough as Tyson lay beaten, bleeding and battered on the ropes.
``He was laying on him a lot. The weight wore him out,'' Tyson trainer Freddie Roach said. ``He had a great amount of firepower. Mike moved his head well and threw good combinations.''
Williams, the former British Commonwealth champion, had an impressive record but had never fought a name opponent or top contender. Still, Tyson had ring rust after his long layoff and he hadn't been beating household names recently, either.
``This guy can punch a bit, so you have to be careful,'' Roach warned before the fight.
Tyson, who blew an estimated $300 million fortune, earned about $8 million for the 57th fight of a pro career that began 19 years ago. He could only keep $2 million of it, with the rest going to pay off some of the $38 million he owes to creditors, under a bankruptcy reorganization plan.
``I'm sorry. I'm disappointed,'' Tyson told Roach after the fight ended.
``You don't have to be sorry with me,'' Roach replied.
While Tyson wasn't the fighter he once was when he became the youngest heavyweight champion ever 18 years ago, he still was a big attraction.
The crowd was surprisingly good, with promoters claiming 12,021 tickets sold. Outside Freedom Hall a handful of rape protesters waved signs, but inside the crowd was all Tyson's.
Among them was Brad Robinson, who flew in from Columbia, S.C., with his father to see the fight.
``If he dedicates himself, there's no one who could compete with him,'' Robinson said. ``He's still just one punch away from being the heavyweight champion.''
On the undercard, Laila Ali, daughter of the former heavyweight champion, stopped an outclassed Monica Nunez in the ninth round of a scheduled 10-round fight.
Fighting in the same building where her father made his pro debut 44 years ago, Ali dominated the fight before Nunez' corner threw in the towel at 42 seconds of the ninth round.
Also on the undercard, Nelson Dieppa of Puerto Rico won a 108-pound title fight with a majority decision over Ulises Solis of Mexico.
Updated on Friday, Jul 30,