Published: June 11, 2005
WASHINGTON – Mike Tyson’s career may have ended in a shocker Saturday night when he quit on the stool after taking a beating in a foul-filled sixth round against unheralded Kevin McBride.
Tyson lost for the third time in his last four fights, and once again he faded badly as the rounds went on before head butting McBride in a desperate attempt to end the fight in the sixth round.
Tyson was pushed to the canvas when the round ended, his head stuck between the first and second ropes. He got up very slowly, wobbled back to his corner and sat on his stool.
When referee Joe Cortez came by to look at him, his corner told Cortez the fighter could not continue. Cortez then went over and raised McBride’s hand in victory.
The 38-year-old Tyson was a huge favorite over McBride and won the early rounds. But as the fight went on, it was McBride landing the bigger punches as Tyson desperately tried to score a knockout.
Tyson was weary by the fifth round and, in the sixth round, he was penalized two points for deliberately head butting McBride and opening a cut over his left eye. The head butt came after Tyson appeared to try to break McBride’s arm in a clinch like he once did against Francois Botha and after he hit him with several low blows.
In a career filled with tremendous highs and terrible lows, Tyson may have reached a new low in the loss to McBride, who came into the fight with no credentials.
“I don’t have the stomach for this anymore,” Tyson said. “I most likely won’t fight anymore. I’m not going to disrespect the sport by losing to this caliber of fighters.”
Tyson was a shell of the fighter he once was, throwing wild punches and trying to knock out McBride with each shot. But McBride took the punches and came back with some of his own and Tyson gradually began wearing down.
The sixth round was bizarre even by the standards of a fighter once banned from boxing for biting Evander Holyfield’s ears.
Tyson was clearly exhausted and opened the round by throwing wild shots. He then appeared to try to break McBride’s arm, drawing a protest from the Irish fighter.
“He tried to break my arm and he butted me,” McBride said. “That’s the rough stuff in boxing.”
Tyson wasn’t through. He banged his bald head against McBride, prompting Cortez to take two points from him for the foul.
“I could have gone on but I thought I was getting beat,” Tyson said. “I don’t think I have it anymore.”
Tyson was tentative early, showing little of the aggressiveness that once made him a feared fighter. McBride stood right in front of him, but Tyson was content to land only one punch at a time, perhaps remembering how he ran out of gas in his previous fights.
“There’s no rush,” trainer Jeff Fenech said after the first round.
But it turned out there was a rush as Tyson faded just as he did against Danny Williams last July. That loss was blamed on torn cartilage in Tyson’s leg, but it was clear even to the pro-Tyson crowd of 15,472 at the MCI Center on this night that Tyson was a shot fighter.
The 6-foot-5 McBride towered over Tyson and weighed 271 pounds to 233 for the former champion. But he had been knocked out four times by lesser fighters and wasn’t expected to give Tyson much of a fight.