Undoubtedly one of the most controversial, entertaining and recognizable figures in the history of sport, Michael Gerard Tyson - better known as 'Iron' Mike Tyson - will forever be engraved in the minds of boxing fans, history books and pretty much anything to do with the sweet science. His devastating performances in the ring and his colorful lifestyle outside of it will ensure he is never forgotten.
'Tyson Mania' set in long ago and seems to carry on today, from the loyal Tyson followers to the Tyson bashers, to casual fans who jump on the Tyson bandwagon express just when it seems like the Tyson of yesteryear is set to re-emerge.
Whether you like him or not you cannot take away the fact that Tyson has left his mark on the boxing world from his young explosive career which left a path of fallen victims on the road to becoming the youngest heavyweight champion of the world at age 20 when he defeated WBC champion Trevor Berbick in 1986, to one of the biggest upsets in sports history when he lost to 40-1 underdog Buster Douglas Jr. in February of 1990. Then there is the infamous rape conviction in 1992 that saw him spend three years in the prison system, returning to prizefighting in 1995 to be the protagonist in the Peter McNeely sideshow. Who can forget the infamous and shameful ear biting incident in the Holyfield rematch in 1997 which left a bad taste in boxing, Tyson’s WWF stint, his “I’m going to eat your children!” remarks after defeating Lou Savarese in 2000, the pounding he took from Lewis on a Memphis night in 2002, the facial tattoo and the shell of a man who faced Danny Williams last July of 2004.
You can make a timeline of Tyson’s transgressions and outrageous moments, but one thing that's certain is that Tyson will never be forgotten. We all know Tyson's past, but the real question where does he go from here? What will become of Tyson and what does he have left? Does the thirty-eight year old former undisputed champ have enough left in his gas tank to make one more run for the top?
Whether or not Tyson can climb the heavyweight ladder of success once again, one thing is for sure: he is still one of the biggest draws of today’s heavyweight division and until he does finally decide to call a halt to his career, he will remain a big attraction.
Of course the fans tune in mainly for the simple fact that he is so unpredictable, but nevertheless he is a box office hit and he is Mike Tyson. Will his newfound trainer Buddy McGirt be able to guide the troubled ex-champ back to the top? Will Tyson finally settle down and take what is left of his career seriously? There are so many unanswered questions and if the truth be known, Tyson himself probably doesn’t know the answer at this point either.
One day Tyson is calling it quits, the next he is back in camp. So which Tyson will prevail?
Tyson, who had made over three hundred million dollars over his twenty year career, is now reportedly broke and sleeping on friends couches and barely making it. Will this end a tragic story or will he find glory and redemption in his later years? If Tyson is going to continue to fight, who should he realistically step in the ring with? A lot of names come to mind but which would be the best opponent for the now tired Tyson? Handpicked opponents aren't always the safest bet Danny Williams can confirm that.
So should Tyson go ahead and face a name worthy opponent and make a better payday then just your average journeyman, who will he most likely put to sleep? Which would be more appealing to the fans and sell tickets? But most importantly, how much longer can the name carry the man?
This is not the same Tyson who stopped twenty-two opponents in the first round. His boxing skills are fading fast and some will question how much longer his power can hold up. With his highly glamorized lifestyle tattered and torn, Tyson has grown bigger than belief and has evolved into more of a circus act, but how much longer will that act produce the paydays?
A lot of these questions will be answered one day, but for now the boxing world is setting back and waiting to see what will be.
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