Mike Tyson, from the baddest man around, to a Vegas Act

18.10.06 - By Mike Cassell: In 1986, an aging Larry Holmes was all but finished as a heavyweight, but a young Brooklyn born fighter, with the help from his recently deceased, adopted father, legendary trainer, Cus DíAmato, was tearing though the heavyweight division, and a better script could not have been written. The media and marketing machine that propelled Tyson, was nothing short of brilliant. Boxing in general, was taking a standing eight count around the world, and it needed a savior.. They could not put the 20 year old kid into the ring fast enough, against the lackluster Trevor Berbick, keeping in mind that this was the same man who humiliated Ali in the ring a few years before. It seemed like pugilistic justice, when this new savior, knocked out Berbick in the second round, on national television, and made everything right in the boxing world again. Or so we thought.

Perception and reality. What things look like, and what they actually are. Mike Tyson seemed nearly indestructible back then. His opponents were ready to lie down, before they ever stepped in the ring. There were rumors of sparring partners with broken face bones, and even rumors that Tysonís punching power could kill a man, with one shot. This was the machine, that Bill Clayton (June 6, 1918 - October 4, 2003) built, and he ran this machine until it exploded into a billion pieces, when in 1988, Tyson Fired Kevin Rooney and Clayton, and brought in Don King and Robin Givens. That was the beginning of the end. Tyson divorced Givens on Feb. 14th 1989, and almost a year to the day, on Feb. 11, 1990, in a stunning upset, Tyson is knocked out by James "Buster" Douglas in the 10th round and loses his world heavyweight title.

Tysonís personal and professional matters were out in the open. His failing marriages, his business dealings, his inability to control any aspect of his life. In some ways, it is his entire fault, and in other ways, none of it is. I guess it is all how you look it. Bill Clayton created this media grabbing machine, Don King took it from him, Robin Givens Borrowed it for a while, and by the time Mike Tyson got it back, it devoured his career, his money, and most importantly, any talent he had left. He is now a joke at a party, or trivia for eighties babies to sit around and talk about how great he was. Old people can play slots, and watch him dance around an empty ring, punching air, making noises, playing a clown. He admits himself that, he is broke, and he is doing this because he has to. It has shades of Primo Carnero, fighting Kangarooís near the end of his career.

Tyson is touring the country now, fighting four round exhibition matches for money, on PPV. He has even said he would fight professional women fighters too. Something has happened to him that is quite honestly the worst thing that can happen to a celebrity. His fame is outlasting his wealth. He looks older than he should, and more tired in recent interviews. He claims to be happy that he does not have to put on facades anymore.

Article posted on 18.10.2006

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