Twenty years of Tyson: 2001-2005
By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (March 29, 2005) Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3  
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“I am many things. I am an animal; I am a convicted rapist, a hell-raiser, a loving father a semi good husband. You don’t really know me.” - Mike Tyson

Do we really know Tyson?

Throughout the years the boxing world and the world in general have witnessed the growth of Tyson, from a boy to a man, in and out of the ring he was bigger than life. From the brutal force ‘Iron’ Mike possessed in his punishing power leaving a path of destruction against his opposition, his adolescent activity, transgressions, championship status, and everything in between Tyson’s life was under a microscope for all to see and evaluate, and there was a continuous emphasis on the ‘Bad’ Tyson. From movies, games, magazines, website forums, anything to do with boxing Tyson has always seemed to be a hot topic. What will he do, where will he go, who will he fight, what will he say, an endless sea of questions and an endless count of writers, fighters, managers, trainers, doctors, fans and promoters all stepping in giving their perspective on the puzzle known as Tyson.

But can the pieces be put together?

It had almost been a year since the Tyson-Golota debacle before he would see action once again. And after a seven round victory over ‘Super’ Brian Nelson in October ’01, Tyson was about to step into the realm known as Lennox Lewis, the 6’5” hard hitting Englishman and heavyweight champion of the world.

After the crazed outbursts, verbal tirades and pre fight hoopla that no doubt follows Tyson the highly anticipated match was on. The Pyramid in Memphis Tennessee would be the stomping ground for the Tyson-Lewis showdown, and a stomping it was. The bully became the bullied when he was pushed around, repeatedly beat to the punch, eating a handful of solid shots and subsequently tasting the canvas for the final time to seal his fate in the eight round, Lewis was victor, and Tyson wasn’t the ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ anymore, he was simply the biggest name on the list of Lewis victims. A rematch, no way, Tyson was defeated.

Seven months later Tyson would return to the same venue where he was brutally humiliated by Lewis, this time it was against the Louisianan Clifford Etienne known as ‘The Black Rhino’ and brandishing new facial tattoo. Tyson would some what live down the destruction against Lewis when he easily disposed of Etienne in the opening seconds of round one in front of The Pyramid crowd, the two steadily exchanging until a flush shot stopped Clifford, not only giving Mike the unimpressive W but hopefully a bit of confidence to get him further down the road.

A shell of a man

Tyson broke, Tyson not wanting to fight any longer, what would become of ‘Iron’ Mike?
Well, it appeared it would be an easy victory over highly over matched, out classed virtually unknown Brit boxer Danny Williams that would secure Tyson a bout with the reigning big man Vitali Klitschko, but the forces of nature had other plans. In front of the Louisville fans that attended the bout at the Freedom Hall and the many pay-per-view subscribers we all were about to witness the shell of Tyson.

With Freddie Roach in his corner the rejuvenated Tyson made his way to the ring and opened up a serious can of butt whopping on old Danny boy. Rocking Williams with solid combinations Tyson seemed to be on his way to another victory but surviving the onslaught Williams proved to be the spoiler. In the fourth round Tyson absorbed a barrage of Danny’s flurry sending the ex-champ to the ropes and directly to the canvas, giving Williams a hard earned victory. Tyson some what seemed to give up, looking as if he were lost and knew his career was over by the look in his eyes sitting there, this wasn’t the man we all knew that tore through the division sending fighters to the canvas and truth be known, Danny Williams better be glad he fought the shell and not the man himself.

What now?

After twenty years in the pro ranks Tyson has become a living legend, a hard hitting bad boy who defied the higher powers of boxing and just about breaking every rule imaginable along the way. But what is left of Tyson, will he or does he have anything left in his gas tank to win any title, brand name or generic? Tyson is set to return to the ring this June, just ten days before his thirty-ninth birthday, speculation point that his opponent may be Irish fighter Kevin McBride, but no solid name at this point. Should the ex-champ even battle it out anymore, the fans are torn. We all just about want him to return to greatness, find redemption and become heavyweight champion once more, but is that goal even reachable anymore, has that dream faded, does Tyson honestly even want that anymore? One thing for sure Tyson has made his mark on the boxing world, whether good or bad his indention will forever be noticeable. He has been called many things, a future champ, Kid Dynamite, the youngest heavyweight champ, King Mike, fallen warrior, guilty, a mad man, a psychopath, and so on. But who is Tyson, or what exactly is Tyson, do we really know the man known as ‘Iron’ Mike, does he?

Say what you want to say about Mike, he is a constant draw, regardless if he is the victor or on the losing side he packs the house, his willingness to entertain is what captivated all. Blood and brutality, knock downs and knock outs, brawls and bashed up opponents, simply entertaining, and that was all we wanted, and that was what Tyson offered, I can honestly say he came through. The easiest definition or opinion of Tyson that I can give is what I have said all through these articles, simply stated.

Tyson is just Tyson
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