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Barry McGuigan backs Tyson over air rage incident


Barry McGuigan

Barry McGuigan

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson


Barry McGuigan

Barry McGuigan is backing Mike Tyson for bashing an allegedly drunk fan on a plane.

But the ex-fighter (61) stressed he doesn’t condone violence and said he hated to see ‘Iron Mike’ lose his rag.

Barry added: “I don’t condone the way that Tyson slapped him or whatever but the guy just… you know, you had two guys filming him from the other side, and one just spends his time winding Tyson up.

“What did he expect? Knowing his background and knowing the type of personality he is and the fiery individual he is — what did he expect?

“I’m not suggesting that’s something every boxer does — I don’t agree with that — but the guy behaved like an idiot, he really did.”

The fan who irritated Tyson so much the boxer turned around and battered him in the face has been identified as a 36-year-old with a lengthy criminal record.

Melvin George Townsend III, from Punta Gorda in Florida has served 20- and 15-month prison sentences for a variety of crimes — including possession of Oxycodone, burglary, grand theft, fraud, and trafficking stolen property, according to a records search.

Clones-born Barry — dubbed ‘The Clones Cyclone’ — added he doesn’t see it as his responsibility to teach fighters how to keep their cool when they are being bothered.

He said: “I’m not in a position to say how people should behave.

“It’s difficult in situations like that. You’re on a plane — it’s not like you can walk away.

“It’s an awkward situation. I don’t know whether it was club class or whatever. But these guys were out to get a response, that’s what it was. It’s regretful Tyson lost his temper.”

Townsend has a lawyer, but is yet to sue Tyson (55) over the incident on Wednesday night on a flight from San Francisco to Florida.

A representative for the Brooklyn-born boxer claims he was reacting to Townsend, and said he threw a water bottle at Tyson.

Barry insisted he never saw Tyson become violent or out of control, even at the peak of his fame when the boxer declared himself the ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’. He said: “I met him dozens of times and he’s a very nice guy. He’s actually a very nice, plausible guy, and he’s very interesting.”

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