Boxing

The Return of Mike Tyson

21.07.04 - By Derek Tang: "Iron" Mike Tyson (50-4, 43 KOs), former two-time world heavyweight champion and youngest man ever to capture a heavyweight crown (at 20 years old), is finally making that long-awaited return and hopeful comeback to the ring. As all boxing fans and enthusiasts should know by now, he will be facing former British heavyweight champion, Danny Williams (31-3, 26KOs) on July 30th of this year; the fight will be shown on Showtime PPV in the United States and on Sky Sports Network in Great Britain.

As of late, the return of Mike Tyson has been much hyped and generally welcomed. This isn't surprising considering the lack of a heavyweight superstar and our four current mediocre heavyweight champions: Vitali Klitschko, Lamon Brewster, John Ruiz, and Chris Byrd. Tyson's comeback would be key to restoring some faith back into the division, since he is a veteran of the sport and virtually unpredictable in what he does next.

Sure, Mike Tyson is definitely slower and his reflexes aren't as acute as they used to be, considering his age at 38 years old. Further proof that Tyson is getting old are his frequent back spasms during sparring sessions; these injuries date back to his motorcycle accident a few weeks before his Clifford Etienne fight in February 2003. Nevertheless, Tyson deserves more credit than that; boxing fans and enthusiasts, you guys should know better.

For years, Tyson was known as "the baddest man on the planet." He was involved in a road rage incident, was convicted (wrongfully) of rape, gnawed on Evander Holyfield's ears, and severely injured two autograph-seeking but threatening Hispanic civilians. Nonetheless, this year has brought out a new Tyson. He no longer is the baddest man on the planet; he is more calm, well-mannered, modest, predictable, and more content with his once-glamorous life. Owing millions in debts to various creditors and payments to his ex-wife, he now lives in a small house and no longer walks around with a 50-person entourage. He now indulges himself more in his simple joys of life, like tending to his pet pigeons. Tyson says that he missed the roar of the crowd in the boxing arena and wants to get back to it. Even his legendary trainer, Freddy Roach, agrees that this is a new Tyson that people have never seen before. Tyson is basically trying to get both of his feet settled, his life back on track, and his past put behind him. For example, though new evidence has been found by Tyson's famed lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, proving emphatically that witnesses lied in the 1991-1992 rape case, Tyson chooses to move on. The transformation of Tyson can be somewhat comparable to that of former heavyweight champion George Foreman, who was very bitter and hateful of life in his early years but grew into a more modest and happier individual who no longer thinks about suicide and death.

Of course, it is understandable that not everybody receives Tyson with the same adoration and respect that some boxing fans do. A few months ago, New Jersey Governor James McGreevy made a call to the New Jersey Athletic Commission barring Tyson from fighting in any of the state's funded facilities; Tyson was eclectic about receiving his NJ boxing license a few days earlier. Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher shared the same thoughts as McGreevy as he intended to reorganize the Kentucky Athletic Commission after Tyson was secretly granted his Kentucky boxing license. Fletcher commented that Tyson’s upcoming fight in Louisville was “not a fight that I would have promoted, and it's not a fight that I will attend.”

Nonetheless, with hard feelings put aside, Tyson really is a transformed and newly motivated “Iron” Mike Tyson.” With trainer Freddie Roach, Tyson has been boxing hard in his Arizona gym for many hours a day. His amazing speed may have slowed, but it is still comparable to today’s heavyweights. Tyson still has the agility, rock hard body, and a punch that can put any boxer to sleep. As mentioned before, Tyson misses the roar of the crowd and wants to get back to fighting for a title. According to bankruptcy papers filed, the ex-heavyweight champion plans to fight at least seven times in the next three years, with a majority of the proceeds going to debt collectors, etc. If all goes well, Tyson should be fighting for a heavyweight belt sometime soon within the next three or four fights.

This finally brings us to his next fight against hard-hitting 6’3” Danny Williams in about a week and a half from now. It strikes curiosity in many to see what is going to happen in this fight. Both Williams and Tyson are hard punchers and usually end the matches early on, though Tyson has the upper hand in averaging less fight rounds. This may be a bold thing to say, but Tyson is expected to win and come out the better man on July 30th. Williams speaks about how he is already anticipating the aggressive Tyson onslaught for the first three rounds and how he will capitalize on Tyson’s lack of conditioning in the late rounds. But realistically, it’s not going to happen. If one looks at Tyson’s record, he has only lost 4 times: to Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield (x2), and James Buster Douglas.

Mike Tyson was just caught with a good clean shot by Douglas back in December 1990 in Tokyo, Japan; it was inevitable that someone would stop the seemingly unstoppable Tyson who was 40-0 at the time. Holyfield, the only 4-time heavyweight champion and former cruiserweight champion, is just very skilled at boxing and slugging; his ability to not be afraid of Tyson and his skills put together were enough to give Tyson a great boxing match. The ear-biting incident happened in the rematch of Holyfield / Tyson, and clearly, Tyson wasn’t focused. Lewis, though not exactly a power punch (except for the overhand right), is an excellent jabber. Behind that masterful jab, he could keep many stronger, hard hitting, shorter boxers away; his fight with David Tua is an excellent example. With Lewis’s jab going, Tyson could not get on the inside. Relating all of this, Danny Williams by far is not comparable to any of the 3 boxers above. Williams will not get lucky on July 30th, especially with a newly focused Tyson. In terms of accomplishment and skill, Holyfield and Lewis are on a completely different level.

So, my prediction for this upcoming fight will be a win for Tyson by way of knockout. As a fan who has followed Tyson for a long time, the fight will not last for more than 5 rounds. Tyson will most definitely come out strong and aggressive; it’s the only way he knows how to fight. Freddie Roach, his trainer, has been getting Tyson in working the jab, so the jab will definitely be something more frequent in this fight. Tyson will be aggressive in the first three rounds for sure; if Williams covers up, Tyson will capitalize on this weakness. If Williams tries to box it out, Tyson will come out of top because of his speed and strength. The only way for Williams to keep Tyson off for the first three rounds is the jab (and it better be a masterful jab for his sake). By round four, Williams will be scared or confused on what to do next. In rounds four and five, Tyson shifts to a slower pace where the jab is being utilized with an occasional big punch being thrown. Nevertheless, if the boxing match does go into the late rounds, there is a greater and increasing probability that Williams will come out the better man of the night.

Thanks for reading.

Email any comments to rocketd55@yahoo.com



Article posted on 21.07.2004



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