The Fame and Shame of Iron' Mike Tyson

29.03.05 - By Ali Mohammed: I know that there are many people around the world write and talk about Mike Tyson everyday, and writing about Tyson's entire career needs hundreds of pages to cover it all, but I'd like here to express only few thoughts about the American living legend..

At the beginning of his career, Tyson was undoubtedly one of the greatest prospects, combining superior physical and technical abilities, like power, stamina, chin and hand speed. Tyson wasted no time moving himself from a promising prospect to a serious contender and eventually an undisputed champ.

Inside the ring, Tyson was very frightening, so that any opponent who could survive the early rounds with Tyson was considered a strong opponent. When entering the ring against Tyson, his opponents actually had to go through two battles; the first battle is against the fear enforced by Tyson's intimidating record, which is full of vicious knockouts, most of them occurring in the early rounds, and the second battle is against Tyson himself. Although Tyson's fights usually takes only a few minutes, boxing fans had never hesitated to buy Tyson's expensive tickets just to watch The Iron' Mike's Fury overwhelming the ring. Many people thought that Cus D'Amato was behind all of that glory, whereas others thought that it was Kevin Rooney who was behind all the talent. In fact, I often hear a lot of people now asking Tyson to get back to Rooney again in order to get back to his boxing roots.

But wait a minute! How many people know who trains Kostya Tszyu, Zab Judah or even Bernard Hopkins (I give all the respect to D'Amato, Rooney and all the trainers of the mentioned champions), all of them became undisputed champions, and many of the boxing fans still don't know who trains them.

The situation has to be clarified here: Fans were surprised and disappointed about the strange and unjustified sharp decline in Tyson's performance, so they tried to find out the reasons beyond that sad condition, and his trainers were the first victims.

I like Tyson, as millions of other people around the world do, but I still refuse to make the trainers the victims. I mean, Freddie Roach was against the fire because of Tyson's latest defeat, which may have caused some loss of Roach's reputation. All I want to say here is that the fighter himself is the only one that is responsible for his career and is able to control the entire surrounding atmosphere. Trainers can never help unfocused fighters. Take Wladimir Klitschko, for example, he was trained by Fritz Sdunek before he turned to Freddie Roach and recently to Emanuel Steward. As everybody probably knows by now, Wladimir had a much better career with Sdunek than with Roach or Steward. Does this mean that Sdunek is a better trainer than Roach or Steward? NO, but it is all about Wladimir's mentality, confidence, as well as inner stability and his focus in getting the job done properly. It is also about how the fighter applies in the ring what his trainer teaches him outside the ring, which is the thing that Tyson doesn't usually do very well.

Furthermore, Tyson adores a theory called "Big and Early KO" which is equal to (Easy money + Less effort) which was again applied in his last fight against British Danny William, and that was admitted by Roach after the fight when he said "He was giving and taking shots and that wasn't really the game plan." Another thing is, during Williams's last barrage of punches, why Tyson didn't attempt to clinch? I mean, there is no shame to use some of Ruiz's tactics whenever it is necessary, and this is the second time Tyson made this mistake in a fight. The first time was against Holyfield in the first fight when Tyson was knocked out by huge barrage of punches. With as much experience as Tyson has in the ring, isn't that strange that he doesn't know how to clinch when he is hurt?

For those who make Tyson's age the main reason for his defeat against Williams, I say look at Bernard Hopkins. Many people criticized him for circling too much and avoiding any risky trading in his last fight against Howard Eastman. They also thought that this may be the worst Hopkins they'd ever seen, whereas I think that this is the wisdom itself. Clearly, Hopkins is aware of his age, and really knows how to utilize what remains of his strength very effectively by a unique counterpunch style instead of rushing punches unconsciously.

This leads us to the fact that perhaps a boring and winning Tyson is much better for him, and for his fans, than an exciting but losing Tyson. But who can break through Tyson's head and change his mentality? And can an unchanged 38-year-old Tyson succeed in his latest comeback?

All of these questions and more will be answered soon when Tyson steps back into the ring in the near future, and I hope we once again see the Tyson that used to be.

For comments and questions my e-mail is:

Article posted on 29.03.2005

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