I did it on Friday night so you didn’t have to.
I expect, if not gifts, then at least heartfelt e-thanks, for tuning into, and paying for, the worst pay-per-view boxing event I’ve ever had the misprivilege of watching.
The sum of the show: Mike Tyson “boxed” Corey Sanders, a man with one fully operational eye, in a four-round exhibition in the headliner, while 38-year-old Lou Del Valle fought twenty pounds heavier than his optimal weight in the co-feature, and Aaron Pryor’s kid kicked off the show with a loss in a six-rounder.
Looks gruesome on the screen, and I assure you, it was just as woeful, if not more, as I tuned in live.
The event cost me $30, and I didn’t get a feeling of optimism when the PPV opened up. The production values were somewhere in the vicinity of top tier cable access and Cedric Kushner’s Heavyweight Explosion. Colonel Bob Sheridan, a veteran of Don King’s overseas PPV airings, paired with Boom Boom Mancini for this, the first installment of Mike Tyson’s World Tour, taking place in Youngstown, Ohio at the Chevrolet Centre.
James Smith functioned as a roving reporter, and gave me at least a moment’s pleasure as I admired his gel-spiked ‘do.
For $30, after the Pryor kid showed he got gypped in the genes department, and a pudgy Del Valle was unable to shed a thick coating of ring rust in a loss to 11-8-1 Zack Page, I hoped that something would happen in Tyson’s 4-round session with Corey Sanders that would justify the outlay.
The fans in attendance did as well.
They weren’t too pumped when Corey Sanders, 6-6, 292½ pounds, strolled to the ring wearing headgear and a black t-shirt. Even if this “bout” was announced as an exhibition, they all hoped that the action would be legit and the headgear didn’t promise much.
Tyson, age 40, worked without headgear, and came out jabbing smartly in the first. Right away, he tossed a four punch flurry, capping it with a short right that put Sanders down. He popped up and Tyson backed off, and danced.
It was apparent from the get-go that Sanders, if he wasn’t instructed by Tyson management, was taking it upon himself to be as benign toward Tyson as possible.
The fans, most of whom were presumably hoping that there would be real back and forth action, because that prospect was hinted at, if not stated outright, booed lightly and intermittently throughout the four rounds.
In the second round, the most impressive feature was the honesty coming from Sheridan and Mancini. They both vocalized a displeasure at Sanders’ effort, and Mancini even lobbied from ringside, “C’mon, try to hit him.”
Sanders, if he heard him, ignored the plea.
Mancini continued, “A place like Ohio where people work hard for their money, you got to make it worth their while for people to pay for it.”
Sheridan echoed that theme.
“I don’t know what we all expected but I’d like to see Corey pick it up,” he said, “and give the crowd and you people who paid good money to watch the pay-per-view to watch Mike to get hit with a few shots too.”
After the second round, Sheridan asked Mancini if he wanted to perform color duties again, after Boom Boom expressed his dismay at the boring session.
In the third round, it was more of the same, with Tyson, who weighed in at 241½ pounds, unleashing a handful of mean shots, and Sanders eating them, and pawing back meekly in return. You had to feel as sorry for Sanders as much as anyone associated with this farce, as he was taking some hard shots, and was honor bound not to defend himself or fire back. He was pimping out his body for a payday and it was not a pretty sight.
In the fourth and mercifully final round, Tyson tossed a few more nasty shots, including a right uppercut, and flurried to Sanders’ big gut. I would have counted down to the most welcome close of the round, but the bare bones broadcast didn’t feature an onscreen timer during the rounds.
After the exercise session, Sheridan and Mancini had a change of heart, perhaps pondering their future employment prospects should this tour continue to other locales, as has been promised/threatened.
“I thought we got our money’s worth,” Sheridan said.
“I did too,” said Mancini.
And they did, too, because neither of those gents paid a dime.
If this outing were a movie, the word of mouth would be absolutely devastating, and this flick would close damn quickly.
I cannot imagine that planner Sterling McPherson will be able to get anyone to pony up PPV money after word gets out that the exhibition was on the level of the most useless sparring session.
Then again, there’s a sucker born every minute, and perhaps there is another 50,000 of them who will fall for the next exhibition, if the tour continues. But I have to say, to everyone associated with this deal: you can fool some of the people some of the time, but once fooled, people tend to spread the word. I’m doing my part now, here. I will not be suckered again, and I would strongly urge you to exercise your right to save your money, and not to buy the next leg of the Mike Tyson World Tour.
SPEEDBAG One can hope that promoter McPherson put some of the money he didn’t spend on the Star Spangled Banner performance, performed by a game, but green, trumpeter, to those “charities” that he and Tyson have been referencing, but have not identified.
–One has to strongly guess that we won’t see Del Valle again. He showed up with a doughy physique and while his stamina was OK, he looked his age. Time for the next phase of life for Honey Boy, now 35-4-1.