Published: August 13, 2007
By Greg Rowe-August 13, 2007
A boxing fan must always look to the future of the sport for there lies the strength. We as fans have our favorite fighters either current or retired and in some cases long retired. One thing I think we should never forget is to look back and remember why we are fans. What makes us see the beauty in such a violent sport that some see as stupid or pointless? What made us choose Boxing over other more predominant sports such as Football, Baseball and Basketball? What makes you drawn in to the blood?the punishment?
For me it was one fight, one man and one devastating knockout that maybe I had blown up in my head to make it bigger than it was. Going back and watching it now 20 years later it has come to my attention that as a young boy I hadnt blown it up, it was very much real and as lasting as I remembered it to be. That fight is Tyson-Berbick, and that fighter is none other then Iron? Mike Tyson.
I can still remember sitting at my best friends house, Adam Carter was his name and his parents ordered all the fights. I saw such fights as Ray Leonard-Marvin Hagler, Julio Cesar Chavez-Hector Camacho, Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas as well as Tyson-Trevor Berbick and the Rocky? Movie series, which was my first taste of Boxing and Mike Tyson.
I had heard my friend talk about Tyson and being young and not really knowing anything about the sport I was always like, Ya, Tyson is the best? trying to not sound like I had no idea what was going on, when in all reality, I had heard the name but knew nothing more of the man called Iron Mike.?
To continue reading the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More’ below).I do remember hearing Adams parent say that Tyson was not the Champion; rather the Challenger and I remember thinking to myself, Then whats the big deal?? As soon as he came out everyone started hollering and I was screaming Yeah,? probably looking like a complete fool yet I did it anyway. As the fight drew to the opening bell I was getting excited because I had never seen a real fight before, just staged movie fights put on by the great Rocky Balboa.
I can remember Tyson cracking Berbick with shots and going Damn, he can punch!? It wasnt only his punching power that amazed me. It was his bull like attack and lightning quick hands?I dont know if even the great Muhammad Ali had faster hands than a prime Mike Tyson, he was so quick and so devastating.
I can remember everyone getting excited in the first round and saying things like, that fight could have already been over.? And as the second round bell rang, I was enjoying myself, hoping I was going to see and Apollo Creed-Rocky Balboa type long drug out war, and by the time I was done finishing that sentence in my head, I saw Tyson hit Berbick with a short left hook and he went down hard, I can honestly still remember his face when he hit the canvas. Berbick tried to get up and went from pillar to post dropping at least three times before Tyson was crowned the new champion. I was in shock and amazed at how beautifully destructive one man could really be, and since that day I have been a boxing fan and a Mike Tyson fan.
As Tyson signed to fight other fights, I would go over there and watch it and if I didnt see it live we would watch the tape of it and I continued to love the man. I can still distinctively remember watching Tyson crush Michael Spinks in just 90 seconds of the first round and watching Tyson easily destroy a past prime Larry Holmes in just 4 short rounds.
What I can also remember about Tyson was the way he whooped bigger guys like Pinklon Thomas, Tyrell Biggs and Tony Tucker. He was a small stacked man that destroyed bigger men like they werent even there. I mean as a young kid growing up, what more could you ask for? I can say just like the older men and fight fans like my dad that said they were glad to grow up in the time of fighters like Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano, that I grew up in the Mike Tyson era, and just like Ali before him, he was the biggest attraction in sports.
No one in any other professional sport could compete with him or his mystique. That is something that ended with him, no other current fighter can transcend the sport the way he did, not even Oscar De La Hoya, and that says a lot. Even though I remember those fights I can not forget the most recent toil of Tysons career, the Lennox Lewis, Danny Williams and Kevin McBride fights as they are some of my saddest moments I have had as a fight fan. If you can make some of my most exciting moments and sad moments in my life as a fight fan I will say that you have done something right by me.
I am not in anyway justifying Tysons other in ring moments like biting Evander Holyfields ear or trying to break the arms of both Frans Botha and Kevin McBride or even the tantrum he through in the fight against Lou Savarese. One thing is sure: Tyson is not a good person at heart. He has had problems outside the ring?his entire career such as domestic abuse, crashing his BMW, getting caught snorting Cocaine on the dashboard of his car while swerving in and out of lanes or when he went to jail for the rape of a beauty pageant contestant.
Tyson has proved over and over again to be a thug, maybe a misunderstood thug, but a thug. Some blame that on the fact of how he grew up, some blame it on the death of the only man he ever loved or looked to as a father Cus DAmato. I think it is a combination of a lot of things and maybe a little sprinkle of the man named Don King. Give a 20 year old kid from the streets money, power, and respect and the title of King of the World? and see where he goes with it.
I love Tyson, I always have. I care for him more than just a fighter because of the way everyone has leeched off of him his entire life. Using him through punishment to make themselves rich. But hey I guess this is boxing, and it is not a fair sport. A fighter with Tysons background and mindset is perfect for this sport. This is a sport in which controversy sells and no one was ever better at starting controversy and selling tickets to put people in seats than Mike Tyson. Thats what I will remember most, the way he was in the ring and that no matter what you wanted to know what was going on with him and who he was fighting next.
And while my conscious with all the wrong doing and bad decisions in boxing may not always be clear as to why I am a true fan of the sport, I will always have Tyson-Berbick to remind me.