Boxing


Mike Tyson: Leave The Guy Alone

27.05.04 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza - Novirasputin@hotmail.com - Mike Tyson might forever be the best thing to ever happen to the sport of boxing. He may not have been the greatest boxer to step into the ring, but his presence and intensity always was a major attraction for boxing fans and he helped the sport immensely. People who had absolutely no interest in boxing, or any sport for that matter, are aware of who Mike Tyson is and know about his troubles outside the ring. During my early years, my friends had no idea what an uppercut was, but that didn’t stop them from drawing “Iron” Mike Tyson on their notebooks all the same. Mike Tyson is the single greatest commodity that any fight fan could ask for. In his prime, he had quick hands, a quick head, and one scary goddamn look to go with it. He‘s also one of the most prolific punchers of the 80‘s and 90‘s, the short and muscular Tyson had uncanny power that has rendered 44 of his 56 opponents unconscious.

With that said, I am disgusted at the way today’s fighters approach Tyson. Every other day, it seems, a new pretender wants to make a name by challenging Tyson to a fight, even though most of the fighters are not in the same league as Tyson. From Joe Mesi, to Roy Jones Jr., and finally Lennox Lewis, every fighter at heavy, wants to make his name by fighting Tyson. I have only one question to these guys who call the “Iron One” out: “What the hell are you trying to prove?” Minus Lewis, none of the mentioned fighters would have lasted one round with Tyson while he was in his prime, and even now, Tyson would still easily make short work of Roy Jones Jr. and Joe Mesi.

For the past few years, Mike Tyson has looked sedated and happy. Ever since losing to Lennix Lewis, Tyson has stopped trying to live up to being the “baddest man on the planet,” which I assume became a tiresome weight for him to live up to year after year. The thing is, not only is Tyson being constantly challenged by lesser fighters, his manhood is also being questioned, as that seems to be the favorite ploy for challengers to use in order to get a fight with a great champion. I just wish they would all leave Tyson alone. He is old, tired, and content from what it seems, so why can’t they leave him alone?

It seems like every other day some elite analyst discusses how “Even a seriously shot Tyson could pose problems to the heavyweight division.” Yeah, thanks for telling us yesterday’s news, Mr. Kellerman. I mean, how many times should we go over the fact that the Heavyweight division is not as good as it was ten years ago? However, what is the point of having Tyson fight for a title against Lamon Brewster, or John Ruiz? Even if Tyson wins, he probably won’t be able to hold the title very long due to his advanced age? How long before his promoters push him into a fight with the monstrous Vitali Klitschko? It would sadden me to witness Vitali crushing what’s left of Tyson and leaving him a broken man.

Another problem that bothers me about the frequent challengers who plague Tyson is that he’s in a no win situation. If Tyson wins, there will always be some pessimist to point out that these fighters were not worthy opponents, so what’s to be gained? Then consider what happens if Tyson does win the title, then beats up a few bums and retires. What is the point? Having to emphasize yet again how great a fighter he actually was? No need to tell me its summer when the sun is out; If you know what I mean.

Now consider the reverse situation. Mike Tyson comes in against Vitali Klitschko and gets out boxed and stopped late. What possible point is there in having Mike Tyson lose again? We already know it can happen, so why watch a boxing legend take the chance of being humiliated again? There’s a strong possibility it would happen, as the boxing world would love to see Tyson fight Vitali Klitschko. I just don’t think it’s necessary for Tyson do take these kinds of chances with his health and his reputation. Look at what happened to Roy Jones Jr. after he stayed in the ring for too long. In my opinion, Tyson has proven everything he needed to prove. If he hadn’t, I would gladly watch him take a stab at Vitali and probably cheer for the winner, whoever it would be.

I have heard rumors about Tyson in training, and Shelly Finkel discussing taking on concussion victim, Baby Joe Mesi, by year’s end. Mike, I know you need the money, but please, for the sake of boxing, leave Mesi alone. I don’t want to see you kill the poor guy. Win or Lose, in the fight with Jirov, Mesi proved two things: 1. He is a tough fighter, who has shown some elite qualities; namely in getting back up when he was nearly knocked out; 2. Mesi has shown that he can be crushed at this stage in his career and badly needs to work out some kinks by fighting against lower tier fighters for the next couple of years. Most of all, Mesi needs to let his brain injury heal. Yes you heard right, Baby Joe Mesi is a top heavy, who unfortunately has not developed enough to fight the elite on a continuous basis. Maybe its because he was bottom feeding for so long that he got used to it, or maybe he just physically (mentally he can) cannot do it. I would hate for a good fighter to ruin his career because of what the fans are dying to see, namely a Mesi-Tyson war, where one guy gets his head ripped off (probably Mesi). Mesi does not need to fight Mike Tyson to make big money. Mesi should stick to fighting bums in his home town, because he can’t deal with the heavyweight elite at this point in time, nor can he handle some of the power punching 2nd tier fighters either. It’s a no win situation for either fighter in terms of their legacies, as well as in terms of boxing.

Frankly speaking, I would be satisfied if Tyson never fights again. Its too painful to watch him destroy unskilled fighters of the division like Joe Mesi, and its simply excruciating to watch him be dismantled by the new crop of Super heavyweights like Vitali Klitscko and Audly Harrison. However, few of them there might be, I would love to see him take his rightful place as an announcer on HBO, or SHOWTIME, where he could his practical views, and give the fans a “true” fighter’s perspective. He’d also be paid well, which would save him from having to risk his neck against the young guns in the heavyweight division. In my opinion, even a sedated Tyson would be a better choice as an announcer than a rap talking Roy Jones Jr., who I can barely understand because he talks as if he has a mouth full of peanut butter.

Mike Tyson has paid his dues to the sport of boxing, and I hope he gets the kind of peace and happiness he was acting out while appearing in the movie “Crocodile Dundee 3.” Mike Tyson might be the greatest thing about the sport of boxing, because he epitomized that one thing we all crave when we watch sports, and that is drama and excitement.


Tell me what you think at: Novirasputin@hotmail.com



Article posted on 27.05.2004



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