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Mike Tyson’s lawyer refusing to pay six-figure sum to man boxing champ punched on JetBlue fight in 2022

The man former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson fought on a JetBlue flight in April 2022 is demanding financial compensation, which the boxer views as a “shakedown.”

A lawyer representing Melvin Townsend sent Tyson’s lawyers a “pre-litigation settlement demand” for “injuries and damages” his client suffered on the flight from San Francisco to Florida. The demand is $450,000, according to The New York Post. 

“As a former undisputed heavyweight champion, the potential to cause severe injuries to another person goes without question,” Jake Jondle, Townsend’s lawyer, wrote in the legal letter. 


The letter from the lawyer claims that Townsend had been “excited” to speak with Tyson, as he is a fan. Instead, that chat turned into a brawl, which was filmed by other flyers. 

“There were several other remedies available to Mr. Tyson, but he chose physical violence,” Jondle added. The letter also pointed out that Tyson acknowledged being “wrong” in a TV interview with Jimmy Kimmel that addressed the fight. 

“That’s me back in my primitive child stages . . . but I was irritated, tired, high, and pissed off. S— happens,” Tyson said to Kimmel. 


Jondle said that Townsend “had a severe headache and neck pain” from the incident and is “still suffering from the assault to this day.” He also added that Townsend didn’t get medical help immediately due to not having insurance, and he missed out on “several jobs” because of the fight. 

Townsend has been convicted of fraud, grand theft, burglary and other charges in the past. 

After reviewing the letter from Jondle, which laid out the reason for the six-figure payout as ongoing medical care, including medication, therapy and more, Tyson’s lawyer was firm in not cooperating. 

“I have received a shakedown letter related to some instigator’s harassment of Mike a year ago and the aftermath,” Alex Spiro, Tyson’s lawyer, said, via The New York Post. 

“There will be no shakedown payment.”

The incident on the plane was captured on video, showing Tyson turning around and leaning over his seat to punch Townsend several times. Reps for Tyson said that he reacted to Townsend throwing a water bottle at him. 

Jondle’s pre-litigation demand stated that Townsend simply had been ecstatic to talk to Tyson about “the marijuana industry and psychedelic mushrooms.”

Authorities never charged Tyson in the incident. 

The pre-litigation demand stated that Townsend wouldn’t file any future lawsuits against Tyson if the $450,000 were paid out. With Spiro shutting that down, we’ll see whether Townsend plans to move forward with any more litigation.

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