Mike Tyson: How to not win friends and not influence people

Mike Tyson made no friends over the weekend. The AP writes that Tyson, wearing his signature black shoes and black trunks, was gasping for air during each of the 2½ minute rounds in a ho-hum affair which resembled two ballroom dancers, as the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world clutched and threw shots at a stationary one-eyed object named Corey “T-Rex” Sanders.

The Cyclops outweighed Iron Mike by 50 lbs. (Valuev doubled that over Barrett without a sweat), and while it appeared T-Rex let his waist go, he couldn’t do the same thing with his hands.

Tyson described the exhibition as fun, that’s my first time boxing since my last fight. I didn’t know how tough it would be,” whereas those in the two-thirds full Chevrolet Centre (4000 of 6000 seats were sold) in Youngstown, Ohio and the folks at home who forked over $29.95 didn’t feel or act as though they got their money’s worth of snake oil.

In Tyson’s defense, promoter Sterling McPherson said, “I don’t know what people were looking for. We weren’t trying to fool anyone or pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. This was an exhibition. People boo at real fights… This isn’t about him beating anybody up.”

Some people were booing, as McPherson pointed out, while others cried ripoff and jeered. Expletives were hurled at Tyson from the cheap seats like stink bombs at a rhinoplasty beer blast.

But when McPherson asks questions like, What were people looking for? we feel an obligation to tell him.

What people were looking for was the malevolent Mike Tyson of old. People were looking for the shadow play, not a simulation in real time and space, of the purse snatching, granny mugging, pageant raping, road raging recidivist with the tats and punk ethos; people were looking for the adolescent phenom with the unthreatening voice and threatening demeanor, the fearsome, fearful manchild setting the Catskills on fire; people were looking for the dreamland knockout artist par excellence, the fighter who with a glance struck fear in the hearts of men known for the size of their balls and their courage under fire; people were looking for the hope that Tyson once represented for the future of boxing and the heavyweight division; people were looking for. Unfortunately for McPherson, people were looking for the one thing he can’t give them.

That Mike Tyson, those Mike Tysons, them Mike Tysons are as gone as the Cassius Clay who danced circles around Sonny Liston.

What exactly doesn’t Sterling McPherson get?