It’s odd but, during these lockdown times, with next to no live combat sport to speak of (save the UFC shows Dana White has planned, one already in the archives), the biggest talking point in boxing is the “comeback” of Mike Tyson. Tyson, as every fight fan, casual to hardcore, is well aware, has whipped himself into what looks like superb physical condition (for a 53-year-old in particular, but Tyson’s current physique can make a man in his twenties or thirties run for cover) and we now await his next move.
Will it be an exhibition bout, and that’s all? Will it be an exhibition bout and then something else? Will Tyson, who turns 54 next month, actually engage in his first pro bout since 2005? Again, seemingly everyone wants to know. Anthony Joshua, the current WBO/IBF/WBA heavyweight ruler, is one of those who want to see Tyson back in the ring.
“This is what we breathe; this is what we are,” Joshua told GQ. “And especially someone like “Iron Mike” Tyson, that’s all the man knows. It’s just what he does, he’s a fighter, right? If he’s back in the ring, I would love to see it. I would definitely be one of the viewers, that’s for sure.”
Tyson also has the support of the WBC, with president Mauricio Sulaiman stating how his organization will rank Tyson should the former heavyweight king fight again.
“I’m not going to kill the dream. I’m going to be very supportive of Mike Tyson. He deserves it,” Sulaiman said in an official statement. “If the dream is to say ‘I will be ranked,’ I am saying yes, we will rank him. Every world champion has a provision that he can come back, like Sugar Ray [Leonard], who was inactive. But Tyson’s case is different, he’s been away many years. But I am in full support of Mike Tyson. I believe this will bring entertainment and he’s doing it for charity. He wants to serve the world at this difficult moment.”
To repeat, we now must wait and see whether Tyson will box merely an exhibition, or if he will look to take things far more seriously. It has been pointed out so many times how poor Tyson looked 15 long years ago, in his “final” fight with Kevin McBride, that repeating such bad news will do basically nothing to dampen the excitement the Tyson fans have about this unlikely return.
Tyson certainly still has his supporters today. Some very influential ones.