29.06.04 – By Matthew Hurley: So Danny Williams won the Mike Tyson sweepstakes and will face the former champion on July 30 in Kentucky. For a while Tyson’s potential opponent for his millionth comeback was rumored to be Kevin McBride of Massachusetts. McBride, a poor mans Peter McNeely (and that’s saying something), lost out on the Tyson lottery because he apparently wouldn’t back down in price. He valued his safety too much and felt he deserved at least as much as McNeely got. But McBride, certainly a nice fellow, is no McNeely. So he’s out. And the winner is Danny Williams of Brixton, England.
Williams, with a record of 31-3, insists he will not lay down just because of Tyson’s reputation. “If I’m going to be knocked out,” he says, “I want to be knocked out.” Wait, what? And this battle royal is going to be on pay per view? I’m sorry but I’m not laying down fifty bucks to watch Tyson wade through yet another no-hoper in order to replenish his bank account.
Now before people start calling me a Tyson hater let me say that I’m really not. I was a huge fan of Tyson in his glory days and I stuck by him for quite a while until everything became such a mess. I feel I have the right to be more than a little pissed off at this guy because over the years I’ve spent a fortune on him. He’s brought me a lot of excitement but enough is enough. If he wants to continue his career against third tier competition that’s his prerogative and I do not begrudge him his right to make a living. He’s just not going to make it off of me anymore.
Still, in the back of my mind, there is that flicker of hope that Tyson truly is in the best physical shape he’s been in in years. Therein lies the dark magic of the man. This time, however, I refuse to be fooled. Tyson is so far removed from championship material that the mere notion that his upcoming fight against Williams will be on pay per view is not only ludicrous but also illuminates just how gullible the Tyson faithful are. You can be a Tyson fan but if you’re truly willing to plunk down your hard earned bucks on this stinker you’re more than a fan, you’re a fanatic and you’d probably pay fifty bucks to see Tyson do pretty much anything.
Tyson’s apparent last run at a title belt ultimately leaves me sad. He’ll make his millions against guys he shouldn’t even be in the ring with and he’ll do nothing to enhance his reputation. It doesn’t matter who he beats anymore. Let’s be frank, should he win a belt against any of the current title holders all it will signify is how damn weak the division is right now. Tyson with a belt around his waist means nothing but money in his pocket – money that should have already been there. Tyson’s bankruptcy is a shame. There’s a lot of blame to go around but in the final analysis it was Tyson’s mistakes that led him to the waterless beach he’s at now. During an ESPN interview with Brian Kenney, Donald Trump said that if Tyson had just allowed him to invest his money in real estate Iron Mike would be the richest athlete in the world right now. It begs the question, why wouldn’t Tyson have done that? It’s Donald Trump for crying out loud! Why did he allow himself to be bamboozled by Don King not once but twice and then settle a 300 million dollar law suit for 14 million dollars? Maybe, as Tyson has said so many times, he just didn’t know who to trust.
The one thing he can count on though is his fans and those fans will shell out their money when the Tyson circus comes to town. No matter who he fights be it Danny Williams, Kevin McBride or Butterbean the people will pay. It’s the dark magic of the man.
People will pay, but I won’t be one of them. Not this time.