Don’t call it a comeback

“I’ll fight any man, any animal. If Jesus were here, I’d fight him too.”
These words spoken from the man born Michael Gerald Kirkpatrick, later becoming Mike Tyson, Kid Dynamite, the Baddest Man on the Planet, Iron Mike, and now, the man born into this world at eight and a half pounds, is one of the sorriest pieces of meat on the earth.
At 20 years old, he “discombobulated” the cerebellum of Trevor Berbick to become boxing’s youngest champion ever, and for a decade, for better or worse, was the saviour of a sport that was spiraling into the abyss. And he was the most intimidating S.O.B. to ever inflict pain for money.
And last Friday, in a ring in Louisville, KY, the home city of Muhammad Ali, before a paying crowd of 17,253, this 38-year-old version of Tyson was outmatched, outclassed and finally outboxed by an opponent, who 10 years ago, couldn’t even hold a punching bag to Tyson.
In the fourth round, his opponent, some guy named Danny Williams who was a former champion of England (whatever credit that holds), landed 26 unanswered shots, mostly to Tyson’s head, and left Kid Dynamite cut, bleeding, bent over the ropes, sitting on the canvas, and his head looking to the mat in humiliation.
“I’m sorry. I’m disappointed,” said Tyson after the fight.
One question remains unanswered—Is this the last we will see of the convicted rapist or just the beginning of an arduously long and sad journey?
But the sad truth is that Tyson doesn’t want to be here. He doesn’t want to be boxing. He doesn’t want to put his fatigued body in a ring that can be a man’s best friend or, as in most cases, his worst enemy.
He is ironically here now, for the same reason he first got into boxing—money.
After amassing close to $400 million US, he is broke. Actually boxing’s biggest-ever ATM machine is more than broke. He owes $38 million US to creditors, lawyers and probably even his elementary school’s cafeteria worker, and after spending some nights in homeless shelters and receiving handouts from drug dealers, he currently resides in a friend’s modest two-story house.
“I’m the most irresponsible person in the world. The reason I’m like that is because at 21, you all gave me $100 million, and I didn’t know what to do. I’m from the ghetto and I don’t know how to act,” said Tyson.
“One day I’m in a dope house robbing somebody. The next thing I know, ‘You’re the heavyweight champion of the world,’… Who am I? What am I? I don’t even know who I am. I’m just a dumb pugnacious fool. I’m just a fool who thinks I’m someone. And you tell me I should be responsible?”
Raised in one of Brooklyn’s toughest boroughs, the Brownsville section, Tyson, because of his high-pitched voice, was nicknamed ‘Fairy Boy.’ He collected pigeons as a young lad, still does, and was never aware of his rage or power, until a bully of his street pulled the head off of one of his birds.
The bully’s action caused an equal and responsive re-action from 11-year-old Tyson, as he knocked out the much bigger kid and put him into the hospital.
That was the start of Iron Mike, and whether you love him or hate him, you have to respect the man who has had his life observed like a Petri dish.
“I’m just a dark shadowy figure from the bowels of iniquity. I wish I could be Mike, who gets an endorsement deal. But you can’t make a lie and a truth go together.
“There are nine million people who see me in the ring and hate my guts,” said Tyson. “Most of them are white. That’s okay. Just spell my name right.”
But before you make judgments on Tyson’s complex (I mean, very complex) character, consider this: How many men say what they think, what they really think? How many are strong enough, maybe even crazy enough to disregard possible consequences? How many are able to do it on TV? He is real; a real face from a real world. Look at him as a neon light on a bland landscape. This is what makes him unique.
And for all those people that hate the man who is predictably unpredictable, consider this: Maybe we created him. Think about it. His fights are the most profitable ever. The more he said, the more we watched. The more he acted, the more we tuned in. He is a byproduct of this violent world. He inflicted the violence that we wanted to inflict. In a weird way, he saved us from ourselves.
“When you see me smash somebody’s skull, you enjoy it,” Tyson said, who threatened to kill retired-champion Lennox Lewis and “rip the stomachs” of his children and “eat them.” He also once told Razor Ruddock, “I’m gonna make you my girlfriend,” and also told Evander Holyfield that he was going to “take a bath in his blood.”
You want/need more? He’s got it.
“I want to throw down your kid and stomp on his testicles, and then you will know what it is like to experience waking up every day as me. And only then will you find my pain.”
More?
“I really dig Hannibal. Hannibal had real guts. He rode elephants into Cartilage.”
One more?
“I’m not Mother Teresa. But I’m also not Charles Manson.”
Good to hear Mike, but there is one thing you are, and that is a victim. You have been a victim since you were a child. Victim to Ghetto America—Land of the Greed and Home of the Lie. Sing it proud.
The Sweet Science was your harsh mistress, and she has left you. Move on Mike. Nobody wants this. Somebody else will play the role that you once filled so well, for so long.
“I just want to conquer people and their souls.”
Try it with your own first Mike.

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