Will 2005 Bring Another Tyson Comeback?

24.01.05 - By Richard Fletcher: After watching Mike Tyson being easily dismantled by Danny Williams on July 30, 2004, it was painfully obvious that the Tyson of old is gone forever. However, if reports are true, the fighter who once looked like becoming one of the greatest heavyweight champs ever could be on the brink of another comeback.

The 38-year-old, who was stopped in four rounds by Britain's Danny Williams last July, is back training in Florida under the tutelage of the old welter champ Buddy McGirt, now recognised as one of the brightest young trainers in the U.S. Tyson, by all accounts, has got the hunger back. The extravagant lifestyle is gone and, McGirt insists, Tyson can still beat anyone in the division when he's at his best. If you ignore Vitali Klitschko, that might be true. The trouble is, Tyson's best was a long time ago and there will be those who feel he risks further humiliation by prolonging a career that peaked with the 91-second win over Mike Spinks in 1988.

Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali both fought for the world title at 38 (Holmes against Tyson, himself) but, although they had been in hard fights, neither had been badly beaten at that stage of their careers. Tyson has been stopped four times, most recently against Williams, and could now be vulnerable against any fighter who stands up to him.

However, that is not to say Tyson will not figure in a major fight again. A couple of wins against the right opponents would get him ranked again, and the colossal revenue his fights generate would make another title fight inevitable.

With fan interest in the current crop of champions lower than it's been for years, it wouldn't take much for another Tyson rebuilding job to jolt the division back to life. And let's be honest, even an old, faded Tyson would probably be favoured to overpower Johnny Ruiz, the plodding WBA champ, although Chris Byrd, who holds the IBF title, would likely be too quick and slick for him to deal with.

Klitschko, the WBC champ, would definitely start as a favourite over Tyson, particularly after the way he battered and outclassed Williams, Tyson's last conqueror, in December. But Tyson showed enough in the Williams fight to suggest he might not be finished yet. Williams's trainer Jim McDonnell said afterwards that Tyson looked his best in 10 years. He had Williams hurt in the first round, hammered away in the second, but came apart in the fourth as Williams gallantly fought back.

Tyson's camp later blamed the defeat on a knee injury, a claim most outside his camp dismissed as an excuse. But McGirt says Tyson was on his way to knocking Williams out.

A fit, rededicated Tyson is definitely a threat. Although he's easier to hit and hurt than he was at his peak, he still has the punch to trouble anyone he catches, including Klitschko.

Unfortunately, as ever, Tyson's mental state will be the key. If he can get his mind right - and McGirt says Tyson is doing just that - anything could happen. With Tyson, it usually does.

Article posted on 24.01.2005

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