The man who Mike Tyson repeatedly punched on a plane could sue the boxing legend after hiring a lawyer.
Melvin George Townsend III, from Punta Gorda, Florida, was left bloodied following the attack on board a stationary aircraft at San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday. Footage of the incident shows Tyson leaning over his seat into the row behind as he lands a barrage of punches on the 36-year-old's face.
Now it has emerged that Townsend III, who is alleged to have thrown a water bottle at the former heavyweight champion before he unloaded his fists, has lawyered up. And that could mean a lawsuit is on the way.
Attorney Matt Morgan from Morgan & Morgan, who represents Townsend III, told TMZ: "Our client is a big Mike Tyson fan. When Mike Tyson boarded the plane, he became overly excited. At first, their interaction was cordial."
"At a certain point, Mr. Tyson clearly became agitated by an overly excited fan and began to strike him in an excessive manner. This situation could have been avoided simply by contacting the flight attendant. Our client denies throwing a water bottle prior to being struck by Mr. Tyson."
"To state the obvious, as one of the greatest fighters of all time, Mr. Tyson should have exercised greater restraint before using his hands on an overly excited fan," Morgan added.
Police were dispatched to the airport following the altercation and temporarily detained two people. But Townsend III decided not to press charges and both he and Tyson were free to leave.
However, the revelation that Townsend III, a convicted criminal, has hired a lawyer has sparked rumours that he could be planning a lawsuit against Tyson, whose net worth is only £7.7million.
TMZ quotes a source claiming to be directly connected to Townsend as saying he: "Is still in shock and has not made a determination on what his next steps will be. He hired counsel due to his physical injuries, the overwhelming nature of this event and the associated media inquiries."
Following the incident, a representative for Tyson said: "Unfortunately, Mr Tyson had an incident on a flight with an aggressive passenger who began harassing him and threw a water bottle at him while he was in his seat."
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