By Geno McGahee
The heavyweight division has been considered boring by most boxing fans. The safety first, big European heavyweights have not captured the imagination of the American public, and neither have the challengers from the states that have given non-efforts or have been mediocrities to begin with. The 1990s was a great and exciting time for heavyweight boxing, and now a man that made that decade and the one before it incredibly exciting is coming back to boxing.
Iron Mike Tyson, 50-6, 44 KO’s, has been out of the ring since an embarrassing sixth round TKO loss to Kevin McBride in 2005. Prior to that defeat, he was stopped by Danny Williams and a couple fights before that, he was demolished by Lennox Lewis. Times have changed, however, and Iron Mike is coming back to the sport that he helped flourish when he was mopping the floors with heavyweights in the 1980s and 90s.
According to a source close to Tyson, former Promoter Don King has a tentative deal for Tyson to return to the ring in late 2010. The initial plan is to have Tyson-Holyfield III, but there is rumored hesitation on the part of Iron Mike, and there is a plan B.
A Connecticut heavyweight named Tony Grano, former cruiserweight champ, Jean Marc Mormeck, Vinny Maddalone, and Derric Rossy have all been mentioned as potential first or second comeback opponents for Tyson.
A recent wrench may have been thrown in the works of the Tyson comeback when Don King Aide, Craig Jones, was accused of having sex with a 13 year old girl after taking pornographic pictures of her. He apparently has a history of sexual misconduct. This was important mainly because Jones was working with Tyson and King, planning the comeback tour. His removal from the plan or assumed removal, may mean that the comeback pushes to the beginning of 2011.
The King-Tyson combination is a winner, despite the fact that King fighters have reported to be losers financially in the long run. When Tyson was imprisoned for rape, he was losing popularity. His defeat to Buster Douglas and mediocre performances against Razor Ruddock took away the invincibility belief that the public had. After four years in prison, King resumed control of Tyson and promoted a Pay Per View showdown with Peter McNeeley.
McNeeley did not belong in the ring with a top 50 fighter, let alone Mike Tyson, but the promotion was one of the top promotions in boxing history and it was in large part due to the genius of Don King. Even rival promoter, Bob Arum, noted that King’s handling of the promotion was “genius.”
King knew matchmaking and put Tyson in with Frank Bruno (WBC Champ) and quickly got a title around the waist of his popular power-house. Instead of taking on Lennox Lewis, a fight that Tyson, at that stage, would have probably lost, King would set up a match with Bruce Seldon, the WBA titlist.
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Seldon’s weak chin would be the factor that could not be overcome and everyone knew it, but King still sold the PPV without issue. It became the Tyson show again, where the people were interested and didn’t think that any heavyweight could beat him. Even avoiding Lennox Lewis was overlooked. Tyson was the man at this point.
Tyson would lose to Evander Holyfield twice and then have some other strange things happen throughout his career. His persona became chaos and the question was no longer: “Who can beat him?” It became: “What happens if Tyson gets mad?” Unfortunately, we found out a few times.
We are now in 2010 and Mike Tyson is still riding high off an appearance in the movie THE HANGOVER as well as a documentary called TYSON which exposed the people to a softer side of the former 2-Time Champ. He appeared on Oprah and SNL (Saturday Night Live). He was also on a variation of Dancing with the Stars, and in recent photos, appears to be getting back into shape. The comeback is obviously looming.
The point of this comeback may not be to regain a title, but to leave the sport on a better note. He was out of shape and unfocused and battling addictions when he lost to Kevin McBride. He now is mentally better and with the weak division and King’s knack for matchmaking, we may see Tyson re-appear in the top 10 again and may even find himself in the ring for a title. Stranger things have happened.
I welcome the return of Mike Tyson to the ring. None of the current champions have one tenth of the charisma that Tyson had and his return to the ring will be a popular one. His following has not gone away and there are still those that look and say: “He’s got a puncher’s chance.”
Mike Tyson does have a puncher’s chance and nothing but good things can come from this comeback, which is now confirmed. We will see Iron Mike in the ring in late 2010, most likely, against a top 40 heavyweight. He will win and we will see a much more focused and fit Tyson. It’s unlikely that he will make it back to the top, but it will be fun while it lasts.