TYSON STILL A BIG DRAW

By
TysonTalk

Published: July 11, 2004

July 7, 2004

He may be 38, has had just three fights in almost four years and hasn’t held a world title since 1996, but still no other fighter can capture the public’s attention like Mike Tyson.

The one-time ‘baddest man on the planet’ makes his latest comeback after 17 months out of the ring on July 30 in Louisville against frustrating former British and Commonwealth champion Danny Williams.

“I missed the sound of the crowds and the sound of my opponent hitting the mat,” said Tyson.

And the signs are that Tyson’s amazing appeal has lost little of its magic following an early rush for tickets at the Freedom Hall Arena in Kentucky.

Despite ringside seats being priced at US$1,500 (more than £800), over a third of the venue’s 19,000 tickets were snapped up within four hours of going on sale.

The cynics will suggest it is a sense of the macabre which keeps Tyson’s mystique alive, with memories of the ear-biting escapades against Evander Holyfield and the press conference chomp on Lennox Lewis’ leg lingering on.

Don’t believe that for a second, however. It is the hope that Iron Mike can recapture enough of the awesome power which helped him become the youngest ever heavyweight champion of the world that keeps everyone coming back for more.

For all his pomp and pageantry, Lewis could never excite even his most ardent fans in the way that Tyson’s 1986-1989 reign of terror lit up a division which had been languishing in the doldrums.

“I never realised how many people were pulling for me, wanted me to do well,” said Tyson, sadly also such a master of self-destruction.

“It was too much pressure for me. I didn’t know how to handle it. I wanted people to think I’m a normal guy.”

With the current crop of heavyweights containing as much charisma as Greece’s Euro 2004 winning side, boxing’s blue riband event is once again crying out for someone to come along and shake up the world.

All known evidence suggests that Tyson no longer has the tools to be that man, with his well-worn body unable to even battle through a sparring session earlier this week.

“I’m sorry you guys had to see something that bad,” he told watching journalists as his ongoing back problems forced him to whelp out in pain. “I really wanted to box well for everyone.”

However, hope springs eternal that we will once again see a glimpse of the prowling menace which sent Trevor Berbick sprawling back in November 1986, the relentless power which battered Larry Holmes into retirement or the evil intent which reduced Michael Spinks and Frank Bruno to quivering wrecks before they had even entered the ring.

“I may have a chequered past, which we all have, some more publicised than others, but I think I’ve grown since then and I deserve another chance to prove that my chequered past can be swept away,” said Tyson.

And right now this convicted rapist who expressed a desire to eat Lewis’ children and has blown an estimated £250million fortune on wild living is all that we’ve got to inject a little life into the heavyweight party.

Source: sportinglife