Saturday night in Washington, DC, “Iron” Mike Tyson showed how rusty he has become and failed in yet another test in the ring, and in life. Once again Tyson looked for a way out of a fight and then finally decided to flat-out quit. As disturbing as it is to quit in the ring, “Iron” Mike’s post-fight comments were perhaps even more unnerving. Tyson claimed that he would not continue fighting as he did not want to not disrespect the sport he loves.
I said “What?”
Mike Tyson did not want to continue fighting out of respect for the sport of boxing!?!
If he had said that he didn’t want to disrespect boxing anymore then we could cut him some slack. Not even considering the disgraces outside the ring which have led to jail time, probation, numerous assault charges, et cetera, it is more than a little late for Mike Tyson to try not to disrespect the sport. His actions speak louder than his words.
Just this past weekend against Kevin McBride, Tyson tried to disrespect the sport. He really did. He tried to find an easy way out of the fight. Referee Joe Cortez just didn’t let him, so he quit on his stool.
After the fifth round on Saturday, McBride’s best of the night, Tyson came out intent on making the sixth the ultimate round of the night, and perhaps the ultimate round of his career. First off he was warned by the ref for trying to break McBride’s arm. Surely Tyson must’ve known that trying to break an opponent’s arm was not in the spirit of fair play. I mean, heck, he already tried that back in 1999 against Francois Botha. Seeing as how he couldn’t get out by trying to break McBride’s arm, Tyson then cracked “The Clones Colossus” with a low blow, opting for the Andrew Golota route. That too was not enough; the fight would go on. Seemingly running out of options to get out of a fight he mentally wouldn’t allow himself to win, “Ironhead” Mike then went for the good old headbutt and cracked his Irish foe something good. Cortez had no choice but to deduct two points from Tyson for the deliberate violation. But the fight would go on.
And then it was over.
After trying to break McBride’s arm, hitting his opponent with a low blow and then nailing him with a headbutt, Tyson sat on his stool at the end of the sixth and quit. Apparently none of the above actions constitute disrespecting the art of boxing, at least not as far as the Brooklyn, New York native is concerned. I say good riddance.
As a 19-year-old Mike Tyson was a terror who went on to own the crown jewel of the sport and made such a huge mark on boxing. He was a lean, mean, fighting machine and brought boxing some needed positive attention. It was a good story. But that was then. This is now. Unfortunately all the great things Tyson did as a youth were overshadowed by his mistakes and decaying skills as he grew older but not necessarily wiser.
In his 1997 rematch with Evander Holyfield (“The Real Deal” won the first bout the previous year by a TKO in round eleven), Tyson claimed he was merely retaliating to Holyfield’s headbutting by biting Evander, not once, but twice. Holyfield picked his ear off the canvas. Tyson was DQ’d.
The next fight came in 1999 against Francois Botha when Tyson put some wrestling moves to work and tried to break the South African’s arm as the two were in the clinches. Mike locked the arm of “The White Buffalo” at his side and tried to hyperextend it to the point it might break. Veteran ref Mills Lane warned Tyson and “Iron Mike” eventually caught Botha clean in the fifth to escape victorious.
What next? How about the very next fight which came against Orlin Norris later in 1999? As the very first round came to a close, Tyson crushed Norris with a heavy shot after the bell. Norris injured his knee as a result and the bout was over. Many believed that Tyson should have been disqualified for the flagrant foul, but the Nevada Commission found it in their heart to smooth things over with a “No Contest” ruling. Tyson was saved again.
Following one fight on good behavior – an easy two round blowout of Julius Francis – Tyson met Lou Savarese as the circus visited Scotland. Savarese was out 38-seconds into the fight, but Tyson wanted more and kept swinging. After referee John Coyle stepped in to stop the fight and prevent further damage to Savarese, Tyson kept going – hitting both Savarese and Coyle. The British Boxing Board of Control fined Tyson $185,000.
Next up was Tyson versus Golota in October, 2000, and the world waited to see who would implode first. This time it was Golota who self-destructed. Andrew left the ring after two rounds, deciding he no longer wanted to continue. Mr. Tyson unfortunately had cloudy pee and the Michigan Commission was forced to change the result to another “No Contest” due to a positive marijuana test.
On meeting heavyweight king Lennox Lewis in 2002, Tyson waxed poetic about what meeting the champion in the ring would be like and offered this gem:
“Lennox Lewis, I’m coming for you, man. My style is impetuous, my defense impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children.”
Apparently nobody informed Mike that Lennox didn’t have any children, but at least he spoke respectfully towards his opponent.
About his “defense” being “impregnable,” Lewis battered and beat Tyson for eight rounds until the “impetuous” Tyson was left bloodied on the canvas unable to continue.
The problem now for Michael Gerard Tyson is that he still needs money and has no skills to speak of beyond his ring exploits of yesteryear. He made a reported $5 million for the fight with Kevin McBride, but still has debt to pay and no foreseeable income. If he couldn’t beat a handpicked McBride, who can he beat?
The saga of “Iron” Mike Tyson still has a chapter or two left to be written, but the ending doesn’t look to be a happy one.
Leaving the sport now in order to show respect is a case of too little too late. The checklist of infractions noted above and his actions in the ring this past weekend speak volumes. He tried to break McBride’s arm, he hit him low, he headbutted his opponent, and then he quit. No respect.
Perhaps Tyson himself said it best a while back when was quoted as saying: “Yes, time flies. And where did it leave you? Old too soon . . . smart too late.”