01.08.04 – By Frank Lotierzo – GlovedFist@Juno.com – The day many fans have dreaded has finally arrived. Many said while Mike Tyson was in his prime in the late 1980’s, that he would end up a broken fighter with nothing. After his last fight versus British Heavyweight Danny Williams, who is barely a top thirty fighter, it appears those who predicted Tyson’s demise may end up right. Tyson is in debt for almost 40 million dollars, and is 1-2 in his last 3 fights. The prospect of Tyson ever again earning the 20 & 30 plus million dollars pay days he used to command, ended in a ring inside of a place called Freedom Hall in Louisville Kentucky.
In his first fight in 17 months Tyson was stopped by Williams in the fourth round. No doubt many will try and make Williams a greater fighter than he really is, based off of him beating Tyson. The same was done with Buster Douglas after he stopped Tyson. Like Douglas, there is nothing Williams has done prior to fighting Tyson to indicate he is a World beater. Douglas never beat a top fighter before or after Tyson, we’ll see what Williams does post Tyson.
Tyson’s loss to Williams followed the same pattern as his previous four loses, only this time it was swifter. In the first round Tyson shook Williams pretty good. However, Williams held on and fought back making it out of the round. After the second round, Tyson started to tire and fell into his usual pattern.
Tyson has always been the most dangerous in the first two rounds of a fight. However, after two rounds Tyson’s effectiveness and power start to erode. As Tyson tires he stops fighting and becomes a stationary target for his opponent. Once Tyson becomes a stationary target, he throws one punch at a time in hopes to end the fight. In the process he eats many clean punches from his opponent. Although Tyson has an outstanding chin, his mental toughness is suspect.
I say that because never in Tyson’s career has he pulled out a fight that he was losing, or did he ever get up off the canvas to win. How many great Heavyweight Champs can that be said about? Even when Tyson was in his prime, his effectiveness dwindled as the fight went on. At age 38, he isn’t even a two round fighter any longer. He can still punch and has his trademark hand speed, but it’s only for a round or two at best.
Anyone who saw Tyson fight Williams, obviously knows it’s over for him as a World class fighter. Like every one else, I didn’t think there was any way Tyson could lose to Williams. Like with most major upsets in Boxing, now everyone picked Williams, they just didn’t bet on him taking the long 10-1 odds. The reason Williams was such a big underdog against even a 38 year old Tyson, is because everyone knew he was a handpicked opponent and was supposed to be Tyson’s first sensational KO in a scheduled seven fight comeback. Prior to fighting Tyson, both Douglas and Williams had a reputation for folding in the big spot. Yet they both fought their most courageous fight of their life against Tyson.
Freddie Roach, Tyson’s trainer said a week before the fight, if Mike can’t beat a fighter like Williams, he should consider not fighting any longer. Would Roach have even whispered that if he thought there was any way Tyson could lose? The answer is, Hell No! Although everyone knew Tyson was not the same fighter he once was, nobody, including his handlers had any idea he was as far gone as he is. Again, now everyone says he should’ve fought Kevin McBride. The fact is Williams was another carefully chosen opponent for Tyson, in a career that is littered with opponents from the Williams mold. It’s just that Tyson proved to be far more shot mentally and physically than even those closest to him ever fathomed.
I’m sure those who have a financial interest in him fighting will try and keep him in the ring. They’ll use him injuring his leg in the first round as an excuse to sell him again. They’ll hold the fact that he is close to 40 million dollars in debt over his head to coax him to continue. The problem is that those who will encourage him to continue to fight are not fight people, and just don’t know.
What they either don’t know or won’t accept is Tyson’s mental state and confidence is shot. Tyson’s confidence was shaky at times when he was 22 and undefeated. What can be left of it now? What happens the next time he fights and his opponent is still standing at the end of the first round, after Tyson has landed his Sunday best on him? How will he react when his opponent starts fighting back and coming after him in the second and third rounds? What will happen is he will come undone and take a bad beating before being stopped.
Tyson knows after two rounds he has nothing left. He knows if he doesn’t get his opponent out early, he’s in trouble. It’s not like he gets stronger and more resilient as the fight goes on. Tyson understands styles and knows because of his lack of height and reach he can’t lay back and out box anybody. His body dictates that he has to go into his opponents power zone to get to him. That’s the hardest way to fight. Once a swarmer loses a little speed, he becomes much easier to hit on the way in. Plus he has to be in great shape since he is constantly pushing the fight. After he empties the wagon in the first couple rounds, he can’t effectively push the fight.
Tyson has no stamina and his diminished reflexes make him a sitting duck after two rounds defensively. On top of that, fighters no longer fear or are intimidated by him. Which translates into every opponent he fights bringing their A-game, like Williams, the night they fight him. There are still fighters that Tyson can beat, but the beatings have taken a lot out of him physically and emotionally. He should get out why he still has his faculties.
Not many years before he died, Frank Sinatra paid off the IRS for Joe Louis so he could live out the rest of his life in peace. Sinatra idolized Louis and couldn’t stand seeing him being harassed by the IRS. Unless some one shows up in the form of Sinatra for Tyson, I’m afraid we’ll see him in the ring again.