It seems only right that they hold this fight in a place called Freedom Hall. After all, that’s what this is all about when you get right down to it, a guy getting a fair chance to earn an honest living away from home.
The fight could have been scheduled for a coliseum or an arena or someplace where they ride bulls and broncos and break bones. That might have sounded more fight-like. Instead, they settled on Louisville and a place with the friendly name of Freedom Hall.
That’s the first scheduled stop for the “Iron Mike Tyson Comeback Tour,” a seven-fight extravaganza planned to bring Tyson back from the poor and the disconsolate and into the welcoming arms of the long-suffering heavyweight championship of the world.
The first leg of the Tour includes an overnighter inside the Louisville city limits, where he’ll face some guy from England named Danny Williams. Of course, no one really cares much about Danny Williams except Danny Williams and the people around him. He can say all the right things and make all the right moves and smile for the camera and promise he’ll win. But when the fight is over, when we wake up on the morning of July 31, Williams will be just another footnote in the sad saga that is Mike Tyson.
What their July 30 fight has become is a political gold mine, a chance for mayors, governors and assorted clergymen to grab a little quality time under the glare of the national spotlight.
Last week, it was New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, who saw an opportunity to make the national news and jumped on it. After Tyson was granted a boxing license to fight in New Jersey, McGreevey swiftly slammed the hammer down, telling us Tyson would not be allowed to fight in any facility owned or operated by the state. Let freedom ring.
Then there was Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, who took the time to tell the world that he doesn’t approve of Mike Tyson or what he stands for. And on top of that, he had no interest in attending the fight. Bet that broke a lot of hearts in Louisville.
Next there is Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher, who was quoted as saying this wasn’t a fight he would have promoted. Gosh, we didn’t even know Fletcher had a promoter’s license. Way to go, Guv.
Fletcher said he also plans to overhaul the state boxing commission because it granted Tyson a license. Note to the honorable governor: You can close the barn door if you want, but we’re pretty sure the horse is already out.
And let’s be honest here. If the good governor thought he could pocket a cool $500,000 or more promoting Mike Tyson, I have a feeling we’d know what corner of the ring we’d find him standing in. Still, like McGreevey and Abramson, he made all the papers, and in politics, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Finally, there’s the Rev. Charles Elliott, who planned a demonstration outside the Mayor’s office because of the bad things the Mayor and the Governor said about Tyson. Elliot said he didn’t approve of Tyson’s behavior, but he did believe in second chances. He said Tyson deserved a chance to redeem himself.
He also mentioned that the fight would bring millions of dollars into his fine city. How come this guy isn’t running for mayor?
Yeah, Freedom Hall. Has a good ring to it.