When I was younger, I was actually afraid of Mike Tyson. I don't box, but he was scary enough to scare non-participants. He was this furious powerhouse who was simply knocking everyone he met smooth the heck out. Spinks was torn to pieces. The Razor Ruddock fights were tremendous. For a short spell, he was absolutely fearsome.
Then, he started slipping. He lost to Douglas. He had a nouveau-riche public divorce. He raped Miss Teen Rhode Island, or someone. He served hard time. He attempted to devour Evander Holyfield. He threatened to eat Lennox Lewis' children- no small threat from a man with an ear in his mouth. Any time the press spoke to him, he would say something amazing. In a slow spiral, he went from intimidating to comical.
Last night, he got smacked up by a Brit. He may have fought with a torn knee ligament, but still....this was his second loss to those guys with the funny accents. 1988 Mike would treat those tea-sippers like...well, like The Blitz, Part II. Watch the English get empowered by this, and try to come over here and take Bunker Hill back.
Tyson is not far from his own reality show. He'll need the money. Imagine the fun as Tyson goes off his medication on camera. Imagine the Springer-esque brawling as Tyson has the forseeably bad reaction to people taunting him in the streets. Imagine the rambling "where did it all go wrong?" speeches made with that ridiculous falsetto lisp he speaks in. Imagine stoned Mike trying to pick up girls with a camera rolling, then exploding in a fury for no reason. Oh, the humanity.
Tyson still has a name people recognize, but the money is gonna get smaller and smaller each fight. He grew to rely on his power and quickness, and is helpless as those attributes depart his game. He seems to be a poor technical boxer. Still, he will always have a puncher's chance...especially with the lack of talent in the heavyweight ranks. Tyson can beat anyone, but he can also get KOd by a tomato can.
A career in the WWE might be the best long-term financial solution for Tyson. Vince would know how to handle Iron Mike. Ric Flair is being paid into his 60s, and Mike would draw in more non-fans than the man who has kissed all the girls...and made them cry.
I do think it would be a nice story if Tyson met a girl who helped him get it together, and he eventually won the title back. An aging yet rejuvenated Tyson, fighting with an Adrienne-like #1 fan watching nervously at ringside, would actually be sort of cute (Note- Tyson is married, and the girl is the one trying to straighten his finances out). Like music, beauty hath charms which soothe the savage beast(sic). It would make a nice Disney film. Maybe he could even develop his own fat-burning grill.
It wouldn't matter. Tyson's problems- amazingly- are not mental ones, now. He has lost a step in a game with a small margin for error. He may end up with that Ali syndrome. He may even get killed. His technical skills can not protect him anymore.
I have learned a lot about sports and life from the Rise and Fall of Mike Tyson. He has moved from inspiring Terror in me to inspiring Pity. He has been a huge part of boxing for most of my life, and I find myself rooting for him to reverse this toilet-swirl that his life has become.
Yo man...you seen my tiger?