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Setting The Tyson Myth Straight One More Time
By Aaron Imholte (June 6, 2004) 
"Iron" Mike Tyson
As you know, it is on. The Iron Mike comeback tour will hit the road again on July 31st when he fights Phillip McBride. It is supposedly the first step in what is rumored to be a three step plan to win Mike another world title. Step two is supposed to be a big money fight with Joe Mesi (if he fights again) and then by the end of 2004, according to Freddie Roach, Mike is to challenge for a world championship.

The question is this: can he do it? It is all over the forums, chat rooms, water coolers, and living room discussion. The answer is not an easy one to make, there are Tyson fanatics who will pounce on you if you say no, and Tyson haters who will mess you up just as bad if you say yes. Me? I am a moderate Tyson fan, but I cannot let that get in the way of my better judgment, so I say this.

Tyson will win a belt, IF he picks the right one to win. Stay away from Vitali Klitschko, fight Brewster fight Ruiz and only fight Byrd if you have to or if the money is right. As far as unifying the belts go? Forget about it folks, he just can't do it anymore. I am sorry Tyson fanatics but he cannot be the old "Iron" Mike Tyson of the late 80's. He cannot go out and KO the top heavyweight in 80 seconds (see the malicious beating Michael Spinks received) and steamroll the division, I don't care how weak it is. I also apologize to the Tyson haters but if Mike picks his fights correctly he can win a couple fights and then beat Ruiz or Brewster and possibly Byrd.

Let's break down the two arguments and I will either concede that that side has a point, or refute their point with a rebuttal of my own. So here goes.

Tyson fanatics point 1:
Mike still has the power and speed to dominate again!

Nonsense and here is why. Mike might still be able to hit hard, but his legs and arms are not near as quick and reactive as they used to be. Tyson fanatics have this astounding inability to realize that Tyson has gotten older. Time did not stand still for him. He got older like everyone else and you must stop living in the 80's. His hand speed has diminished and his legs are older, and as any 38 year-old will tell you, no matter how good of shape they keep themselves in, your legs are starting to give a little bit on you and your reflexes are not what they were at 25. As far as him dominating again, he has too many ring miles on his body and I will vomit if I hear people use the Etienne fight as their precedent for Tyson being dominant. Etienne's heart was not in winning the fight, it was in the payday. He gave Tyson maybe 70%. Let's not forgot Etienne is a second tier fighter at best.

Tyson fanatics point 2:
The heavyweight division is the weakest it has been since Trevor Berbick!

I concede this one to you. That is why Mike will win 1 belt and should call it a career. His bills should be paid and he can put some money away that way. The division is weak, true, but it is not weak enough for Tyson to dominate and pick up all four belts. Not too mention time is not on his side. It would take a year or two for Tyson to pick them all up, by that time he would be 40 years-old and if a 40 year-old can become undisputed champion, boxing is in worse shape then even the worse pessimists thought.

Tyson haters point 1:
Tyson is shot and has nothing left to give!

Not totally true. Like Foreman at 44, I will always give Mike a puncher's chance to beat a top contender and a champ or two. But they are partially right, Tyson is losing his tools and needs to hurry if he wants to accomplish his financial goals and become a champion.

Tyson haters point 2:
Tyson doesn't want it anymore and has no heart!

I reject that notion. Tyson is an enigma mentally I will give you that, but under Roach's training regiments, Tyson has been worked and has shown that he wants to get back in the ring and work hard. If his heart were gone he would have quit after Roach reportedly made him vomit in camp multiple times, but he got back in the gym and finished his workout. Now I agree when he gets in the ring and starts taking a few punches he could lose it and could turn into a fiery wreck of human emotion, but we all know Mike's heart is not gone.

Wow that was work. I hope you Tyson haters and appreciators will let me know what you thought. If I laid out both sides, broke them down and came out with a fair yet honest and factual analysis of Mike today and not the Mike of 15 years ago. But we will see what happens. Who knows, maybe I will owe people an apology when it is all over.
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