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5th May 2020
By: Max Taylor
“You don’t stop being the baddest man on the planet because you’re in your 50’s!” David Haye was not wrong when tweeting that about Mike Tyson. The youngest ever heavyweight champion in boxing has engraved his legacy into the history of the sport with a record-breaking career. Fans, desperate for their dose of boxing since Coronavirus has halted events, were served with a video of Tyson hitting the pads on social media and in turn, were hit themselves with nostalgia after seeing the old style and potential return of the retired boxer.
Fellow athletes like UFC’s pound-for-pound King Jon Jones were quick to praise the 53-year-old as he looked astonishingly sharp on the pads. Some, including Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, went as far to think ‘Iron Mike’ still looked competitive in the short clip of him rattling off a combination.
De La Hoya seemed to be as impressed as the other 8.9 million viewers who laid witness to the perfect pad work which spurred the former welterweight world champ on to state:
“I’m sure that if [Tyson] trains for 12 rounds, right now he’ll knock out any heavyweight.”
No doubt an outlandish comment from the part Mexican, however, he does represent that desire many have for Tyson to make a comeback to the sport he was the face of during his 20-year career.
It is easy for fans to get excited about the prospect of ‘The Baddest man on the Planet’ making a resurgence to the heavyweight division he used to be at the forefront of. But it is much harder, yet important, to recollect the state of Tyson when he hung up his gloves 15 years ago.
His final two matches which drew a close to his career highlighted how it would be sensible if he called it a day at 38. The penultimate fight was against now journeyman Danny Williams who beat Tyson down to the canvas, making him unable to beat the count in the remaining seconds of the fourth round. In his last professional encounter in the ring, he faced domestic success in Kevin McBride who in every sense of the word retired what looked to be the shell of Mike Tyson as the once undisputed world champion refused to fight not only into the seventh round of that matchup but in no other bouts entirely.
A harsh reminder of how the Brooklyn-born heavyweight looked in the ring in his last time out. If doubts were to be worsened about a comeback being on the cards, it is only recently that Mike Tyson has been keeping himself physically active since retirement.
Whoever tuned in to hear him as a guest on Joe Rogan’s podcast in January of last year would understand this as he explained that he “keeps away from that” as it “reactivates my ego”. One is only to predict what Tyson’s ego is like now given the daily training regime he mentioned on an Instagram live.
“I do two hours on cardio, I do the bike and the treadmill for an hour, then I do some light weights, 300, 250 reps.
“Then I start my day with the boxing thing, I go in there and hit the mits, 30 minutes, 25 minutes, start getting in better condition.”
In the same conversation, Tyson proved that competition still runs in his veins even after leaving the fight game and turning a new leaf as he claimed that he isn’t planning on fighting for world honours like De La Hoya deeply wants but is hoping to participate in some exhibition shows for an even better cause.
“I want to go to the gym and get in shape to be able to box three or four-round exhibitions for some charities and stuff.
“Some charity exhibitions, make some money, help some homeless and drug-affected mother****** like me.”
An exhibition matchup certainly deflates safety concerns that would loom over a return from one of Boxing’s biggest icons who would surely turn millions of heads to see him have one last go at anyone. Nonetheless, it would be more than understandable if he opted against going to war for several more competitive rounds in his lifetime.
Boxing has one of the most passionate fanbases in the world, however, this passion has escalated into overbearing behaviour at times. This case certainly has the potential for fans to channel the same behaviour as long as they crave for ‘Iron Mike’ to professionally return to the ring. Fans must accept even though boxers seem superhuman, they are not miracle workers and cannot defy the natural ageing of the body, regardless of how much talent and muscle memory that body possesses. The tragic demise of Roy Jones Jr and Bernard Hopkins have proven this before. So, for his sake, it might be best to just appreciate the amount Tyson is already doing and expect nothing more.
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