June 27th, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez
LOOK AT MIKE TYSON TODAY & THEN
San Francisco, CA- There never seems to be a shortage of interest when it comes to ex-World heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Whether it is his one man Broadway play that has gone national, his love for pigeons and reality TV, the overt disdain for admitted killer George Zimmerman, Mike Tyson, while he is no Colin Powell, reminds me of TV’s John Stewart sans a team of writers.
TYSON “NOT SO GREAT” AMATEUR FIGHTER
Having known Mike since 1984, he has morphed into several versions of Mike Tyson since. There was the “quiet” Tyson I met when we both amateur fighters with Olympic dreams, Mike’s one of reality, mine more a pipe dream, this is the Mike Tyson most people don’t know.
MIKE “SCARED” OPPONENTS INTO DEFEAT!
In the minds of many, Tyson, who lost his last fight to a hapless Kevin McBride in 2005, was nothing more than a uncouth, if not an outright savage brute. His thumping of the late Trevor Berbick in his first title bid in 1986 was preceded by Mike, with the exception of only Mitch Green and James Tillis who both lasted ten fistic frames, leaving a pile of crumpled bodies since his 1984 professional baptismal.
“TRAINED” ASSASSIN IS WHAT BERBICK FACED
Facing the aforementioned Trevor Berbick, Tyson was 27 & zip with 25 KOs going into their bout at the Las Vegas Hilton. Subsequently, Berbick was hammered into a position of not being able to stand on his own, this after a second round assault from Tyson that was put forth in a cool, calm and controled manner, much like a professional killer who does not run from the scene of his crime, Tyson instead strode to a corner and awaited the finality.
LEGEND OF MIKE TYSON IS FOLK LORE”
On occasion, people recall the Mike Tyson era with in almost folk lore fashion. The blitzing of Michael Spinks, Carl “The Truth” Williams, his wearing nothing but a towel to the ring, this all further cemented the notion of many that Mike Tyson was an unstoppable beast that could never be beaten.
“MELTDOWN” OF “IRON MIKE” IN JAPAN
Training with Japanese geisha types in Tokyo, Mike got dropped, this in addition to being hurt in sparring sessions leading up to the Buster Douglas encounter in 1990. Spar mates Greg Page and Mike Jamison, they peeled the outer skin off of the Tyson onion and exposed two things, Tyson was human and oh so woefully unprepared to defend the World heavyweight championship.
LIFE WAS ROCKY AFTER “TOKYO MELTDOWN”
Although Mike had 21 fights after the Douglas debacle that were divided into two tiers, the first prior to the bogus rape conviction involving beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington in 1992. This was when promoter Don King brought in a Tax Attorney to defend Tyson against a Rape charge, something King could never satisfactionally explain to me afterwards.
RAPE CONVICTION BASED ON TYSON “REPUTATION”
As a former policeman who read the Tyson case transcripts, I cannot come away thinking that he was convicted solely on his reputation and not actual evidence. It was a watershed moment for Tyson, who would spend a few years in an Indiana prison before getting out in 1995 and drilling pizza-poster boy Peter McNeeley, the beginning of a facade that would come crumpling down the next year in the “Bite Fight” with Evander Holyfield.
As Mike admitted after flopping in his last fight vs. Kevin McBride (right), “I haven’t been ‘me’ since 1989.” That being said, although dissed by some historians, the bottom line is that Mike Tyson, whether good or bad, was the face that carried the sport of boxing after Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Larry Holmes and Ray Leonardhad their careers implode in one way or another.
TYSON HAS “LOFTY” SPOT IN SPORTS HISTORY!
In closing, Tyson was the greatest of his era, something few mortals will ever accomplish or realize in their lifetimes. On a list of personal accomplishments, that is significant. As for his personal life, Mike seems to have gotten that on track as well. At the end of the day, Mike Tyson was a great fighter and a decent human being. Although he died beforehand, that’s really all his first trainer Cus D’Amato wanted for Tyson after he won the heavyweight championship, to live a productive and seemingly normal life. In 2013, it looks like Mike Tyson has accomplished that and much more!