Two words started the rumour mill; ‘I’m Back’.
Since the former ‘baddest man on the planet’, Mike Tyson, released a few seconds of training footage hitting the pads a couple of weeks ago and alluded to a comeback for exhibition matches, the world has gone mad.
From million-dollar offers in New Zealand, bare-knuckle fights in the USA, tag team matches with former greats and a veterans’ prizefighter, boxing has proved that it is still as wild as it’s ever been.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Tyson’s former rival, and now friend, Evander Holyfield has also announced that he will come back for some charity exhibition matches. The pair have been linked in a third fight which may take place once lockdown is over.
The pair have fought twice before in 1996 and 1997 with Holyfield winning both. The second fight went down in history when Tyson bit off a chunk of Holyfield’s ear and spat it on the canvas, prompting his disqualification.
A third fight would no doubt bring international attention and draw millions at the box office whether it takes place in a stadium or at the bottom of the ocean!
Boxing’s nostalgia problem
Fight fans have always been nostalgic. Way back in 1910 fans across the USA clamoured for the former champion James J Jefferies to return from his 6-year retirement to rid them of the new upstart champion Jack Johnson.
The fight was an embarrassment for Jefferies who was outclassed in every department.
Boxing is not a game to be taken lightly and, with the benefit of historical knowledge, Mike Tyson should know better. Nostalgic fans, however, point to the blistering 3-10 seconds worth of footage and cling on to a 1988 vision of Iron Mike Tyson that wreaked havoc amongst the heavyweight division.
Embarrassingly, there were reports in The Sun newspaper that George Foreman said Tyson could even become a top contender after 10 months training in the woods. The truth is, sadly, much different and no matter how much excitement a Mike Tyson comeback would bring, it will be boxing that loses out in the end.
A successful return for Mike Tyson is unlikely
When Tyson retired in 2005 he was already a spent force, quitting on his stool against fringe contender Kevin McBride and not having a meaningful win since the year 2000.
He was fighting because it was all he knew and all he could do to keep the IRS at bay. By his own admission Tyson has lived a life of excess and struggled with drink and drugs spanning back to the early ’90s.
Since his retirement from the sport and its legalisation, he has started a much publicised and highly successful cannabis business in California and is well known for enjoying the healing qualities of the drug through smoking. All of the above should raise alarm bells for anyone who believes that at 53 a comeback for any purposes is a good idea.
Whatever happens, Mike Tyson will go down as the highlight reel knockout specialist people remember. The man who at age 20 became the youngest ever to capture the heavyweight crown and the controversial celebrity that had the power to dominate headlines wherever he went.
Train like a pro in a pair of Cleto Reyes Sparring Gloves.