31.07.04 – By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: In a nutshell, what I would basically like to say, before 20 different writers get off on talking about how Tyson is done and so on, is that “If you have to lose, that is the way you fuc— get it done.”
As I thought about this match in the aftermath of that hellacious 4th round, I seriously considered the possibility that this was Iron Mike’s worst loss. However, the truth is that, that B.S. is not true. Mike didn’t come in like he did against Douglas, Holyfield (the second fight), and Lewis, coked out and looking to do what most Tyson opponents did in Mike’s prime, or in other words lay down and collect the check.
Mike came in cut up, focused, and with an attitude of quiet determination. He came in to win, and look good ripping William’s head of that 260+ body. Unfortunately, most critics won’t look at the fact that maybe Williams went to OZ, and borrowed some of the “Lion’s famous potion,” or that maybe Tyson’s team took the opponent too lightly. No, most of my fellow writers will rush to point out how Mike is 38, and being destroyed in 4 rounds, proves it’s the ripe old age of fishing and collecting goofy golf clubs, ala Corrie Sanders.
May I point out that when Rahman wiped that smile off of Lewis’s face with a single devastating head shot, nobody ran to the press, screaming “Lennox is done (at least if they did, I didn’t hear them).” Does anybody even realize that it took Danny Williams no less then 25+ shots in a row to put Mike on his ass?
No, kids, this isn’t Evander Holyfield, who cannot throw more then a punch a round without the help of a respirator. We are talking about Mike Tyson here, the guy who almost put Williams six feet under in the first 3.5 rounds of the fight. So basically my thoughts here are Williams must be very underated, as opposed to Tyson just being shot as a traitor. This guy went in and traded with the “Iron” one, and along with old Mike proceeded to give us another heapin helpin’ of Foreman-Lyle, or even, forgive my arrogance, Hagler-Hearns. I refuse to believe that after these fights, people came up to the losers and said you know what, put on those goofy golf shoes and haul ass to Florida, and that is exactly why I cannot fathom anyone saying “you know what, Mike? Pack it in, this fight ruined you.”
Now look, I have written about my desire to see Mike go, but that has more to do with me not wanting him to get hurt than seeing him in these types of fights. Believe it or not, this fight proved how much he still has left. I almost felt sorry for Williams after seeing that devastating Uppercut in the first round that, had it not been for William’s strong neck, would have surely sent his head flying into row 3 (makes the expensive seats all the more worth it, huh?). Mike looked terrific in there up to the KO, which was more William’s amazing determination than Mike’s exhaustion. I share Freddie Roach’s sentiment completely in that I am proud of Mike, he took some good counters throughout and was still tearing Williams a new one, up to round 4. Thanks to Williams, it was worth every penny I paid for it.
As for the loss itself, I don’t think it was that big a deal, considering. Look, the pace Mike set would have broken down anyone, even young guys as well, so his age is a non factor. I am concerned about a few things, though. Mainly, that while when Williams ate leather, he forced the clinch, while when Mike got caught, he wanted to trade. Didn’t anyone care to check Williams KO percentage? Anyone remember Klitschko-Sanders in Germany? Shame on you, Freddie Roach. Come on, Mike, I know you have pride, but you should have grabbed that spunky Brit more often. Also, I cannot remember the last time Mike won a decision. That has to become a factor in conditioning him, because of the ability of bigger guys to use their body in clinches to tire him out. No matter how weak his opponent is scouted to be, going a full fight without a KO is not just important but pretty much essential.
Mike looked really solid, but stamina wise, he was obviously lacking due to all the strength training. I think that if he does choose to continue, it is just absolutely necessary for him to go a full ten rounds at least. Pick some non descript tomato can with a solid chin, and no punch, and tee off on him for 12 rounds. Even let the guy win a few to make him think he has a shot and press so you can work your defensive skills a bit.
Other than that, Mike, keep doing what your doing. You still have the power and the speed, as well as accurate punches, with a head that can take 20+ shots from a KO artist, and still stand. Objectively speaking, that is one damn good heavyweight.
Bottom Line: this was a great war that should make both fighter’s stock go up, and not leave Williams where he was, and sink Mike even lower. Speaking on that note, somebody asked me after the fight if I thought Mike Tyson could still sell? My response: “Box Office would be sold out in a heartbeat.”