NEW YORK – Iron Mike Tyson fought one of the classic battles of his checkered boxing career Tuesday — and it didn't even happen in the ring.
The onetime undisputed heavyweight champion of the world charged across a New York stage to attack rival Lennox Lewis, launching a melee at a press conference intended to promote their April 6 title bout in Las Vegas.
Neither fighter succeeded in landing a knockout blow, but Tyson had a cut on his hairline after the swarm of bodies was pulled apart. World Boxing Council President Jose Suleiman was knocked down in the brawl.
And now the fight itself is in jeopardy. It must be licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which fined Tyson $3 million and revoked his license for a year after he bit Evander Holyfield's ear in 1997.
The brawl began after video highlights of the two fighters' careers were shown at the Hudson Theater. Tyson walked onstage dressed entirely in black, then faced the wing of the stage from which Lewis was to enter. When Lewis, dressed in a gray suit, stepped onto the stage, Tyson rushed him.
People jumped in to keep them apart and it appeared at least one person was hit by a punch. Then, for several minutes, bodies were rolling around and throwing punches until order was restored.
Tyson then strode to the front of the stage, threw his arms into the air in a triumphant stance and made an obscene gesture.
Someone in the audience shouted, "Put him in a straitjacket!"
The former undisputed heavyweight champion screamed an obscenity at the man and said, "You're scared of a real man."
The news conference was called off after the fighting ended.
Lewis, the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation champion, was supposed to meet reporters later Tuesday, but instead his business agent Adrian Ogun read a statement from the champion.
"As a result of today's event, I will evaluate my options after the relative boxing commissions have ruled," Lewis said.
Tuesday's fracas recalled the scene when Lewis and Hasim Rahman exchanged words and chest bumps before wrestling on the floor during a TV interview in August. That was two months before Lewis knocked out Rahman in a rematch to regain the heavyweight title.
The 35-year-old Tyson served three years in an Indiana detention center after being convicted of raping an 18-year-old Miss Black America contestant in his hotel room in 1991. He was sent back to jail in 1999 for assaulting two motorists during a 1998 traffic dispute.
Tyson's second wife, Monica, filed for divorce last week, saying her husband had committed adultery.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.