02.08.04 – By Colin Clive: After being knocked out in the fourth round by unheralded Danny Williams on Friday night in Louisville, Kentucky, Mike Tyson has a lot of questions to answer about his career options in boxing. Should he retire or continue on against low level competition? If he continues to fight on, will he still be a big enough box office draw to warrant PPV money? If this is the end of his career, how will he ever pay off the $40 million that he owes to creditors and the IRS?
Promoter Bob Arum was planning to offer Tyson a three fight deal worth up to $100 million. Now, he’ll have to fight for much less than that. For Tyson to go on to reclaim big purses, he must likely first attempt to retrieve credibility by beating Danny Williams in a rematch, although that fight probably wouldn’t be the smartest move for Tyson at this point in his career. A second loss to a fighter as poor as Williams would be the clear end to Tyson’s career.
Tyson signed for $8 million against Williams, and kept $2 million. The other $6 million going to pay off part of his $40 million debt to creditors. Pretty good money, but nothing close to what he made during his prime. However, this knockout loss puts Tyson is the situation where he might have to risk what’s left of his career by facing Williams in a rematch or else take the long road back by facing journeyman fighters without a punch. One possible option for Tyson would be a match against Vitali Klitschko. The Klitschko camp appear to be desparate for a shot with Tyson. It doesn’t matter that Tyson just lost by knockout. Vitali Klitschko would still make more money with a fight against Tyson than he would against any other heavyweight in the division. Based on his performance against Williams, Tyson would likely lose badly, but with his kind of power, anything could happen, especially if Vitali attempted to storm our like he did against Lennix lewis and trade with Tyson early on. Another thing, a loss against Klitschko isn’t nearly as bad as losing to a fighter like Danny Williams, who isn’t even the 3rd best fighter in Britain.
Since his defeat, Tyson’s manager, Shelly Finkel, has revealed that Tyson tore ligaments in his left knee in the 1st round of his defeat to Williams.
“That’s why he couldn’t throw the right hand the rest of the fight,” Finkel said. “I was screaming at him to throw it, but he couldn’t. In retrospect, I wish he had said he couldn’t continue.”
However, the bad knee excuse looks poor for most people who witnessed the fight. Tyson showed no signs of his knee hurting him during or after the 1st round. Tyson was clearly hitting Williams with his right hand in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. It just appeared that Tyson didn’t have the stamina, speed or power that he once had to take Williams out.
It’s hard to imagine anyone paying much to see Tyson fight again after this fight, but in today’s heavyweight division without notable stars or talent, he still probably would attract mega numbers at the box office. Besides Holyfield and Tyson, most of the public has never heard of the other boxers in the heavyweight division, and they probably not too concerned with the fact that Tyson has now lost 2 out of the last 3 fights he’s been in. He’s a star, and all the people care about.