Boxing

Turn Back the Clock

May 13

When a 53-year old Mike Tyson lit up the mitts, he simultaneously lit up the social media universe.

Two weeks ago, the legendary Mike Tyson posted this video, sparking a conversation revolving around the most feared fighter in heavyweight boxing history.

Then, on Tuesday, we got this:

In case you were too frightened to make it to the end of the clip, Iron Mike finishes with, "I'm back."

Good for him.

But could Tyson, a man who last fought in 2005 and hasn't won since 2003, actually be considering a comeback? Would it be wise? Would the fans love to see it?

Shannon Sharpe, for one, is a believer, and he thinks any man would be unwise to enter the ring with Tyson given what he's seen of Tyson's training regime in recent weeks.

"This ain't no situation like Hulk Hogan and Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky movies. Did you see those punches? That man can still hurt you, even with headgear ... I want to know who is the person that's going to get in the ring with him for charity."

The man holding the mitts in Tyson's training videos is MMA trainer Rafael Cordeiro, who is now working with Tyson.

His opinion is that Tyson is moving as if he's 30 years younger.

"As soon as we started training I said, 'My Lord.' ... I didn't know what to expect from a guy who hasn't hit mitts for almost ten years ... I can tell you, you would have to be a good guy to spar with Mike, because if you don't prepare, he is going to drop you for sure."

From age 18 to 23, Tyson was untouchable. He became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history when he TKO'd Trevor Berbick at age 20.

He won his first 37 fights, 33 of which came by KO or TKO. It wasn't until his upset loss to Buster Douglas in February 1990 that Tyson tasted defeat.

One of Tyson's original trainers Teddy Atlas isn't sure if he wants to see his protege back in the ring, but he is impressed with how his former fighter looks in training.

"Decent speed. The speed is still there. Throwing with bad intentions and putting his body into it."

While some are confident Tyson could make a successful return, others are not so keen on older fighters such as Tyson or Holyfield returning based on examples set by previous boxers competing past their prime.

James Dielhenn of Sky Sports Boxing pointed to Donovan 'Razor' Ruddock as a prime example.

"[Ruddock] called time on his career in 2001 but, 14 years later ... he announced plans to fight again and become Canadian champion. "I've been in the ring with Tyson, all these guys, and I'm telling you: I feel better now, than I did back then," he said. His words were eerily similar to what we've heard from Tyson and Evander Holyfield recently. Except Razor went through with it - there were ominous signs in his first fight back, aged 51, against 44-year-old Raymond Olubowale. Razor was knocked down, clambered back up, and won in the fifth-round. It was not a statement to worry the division's elite, like he was making 30 years earlier."

Boxing analyst and commentator Max Kellerman is not taking the potential Tyson comeback seriously on any level, considering over a decade ago, Tyson was already losing to bottom-rung fighters.

"It's not a real comeback against top heavyweights. That's not gonna happen for a bunch of reasons ... Mike is 53 years old. Yes, he's still fast and he hits hard, but not nearly as fast or hard-hitting as he was when he was a young man ... 15 years ago, Mike Tyson lost to Kevin McBride, who went on to lose six of his next eight fights because he started fighting better competition."

In Tyson's final two fights before retirement, he lost via KO to Danny Williams on July 30, 2004, and he didn't answer the bell for the seventh round in a loss to Kevin McBride on June 11, 2005.

Speaking of his past resume, there seems to be one former Tyson opponent willing to step into the ring with Iron Mike – again.

Few names in boxing history are linked as closely as Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.

The two first met in the ring in November 1996. Tyson entered the bout having only lost once in his professional career – the upset defeat at the hands of Doug

las.

What many fail to realize is that in his very next fight, Douglas defended the WBA, WBC and IBF titles he wrested from Tyson against an undefeated Evander Holyfield.

Evander knocked Douglas out in Round 3.

Tyson and Holyfield would finally meet on Nov. 9, 1996. At the time, Tyson held the WBA Heavyweight Title, which he took from Bruce Seldon on Sep. 7 of the same year. Holyfield, on the other hand, entered the much-anticipated fight belt-less, having suffered three losses since his win over Douglas: twice to Riddick Bowe and once to Michael Moorer.

For the second time in Tyson's career, he was upset in a fight in which he entered as the massive favorite, this time losing by 11th round TKO.

The two legends would meet in an immediate rematch, which took place on June 28, 1997. That fight would come to be known as "The Bite Fight," after Tyson bit Holyfield's ear twice in the third round and the fight was called off.

Holyfield addressed it with Sky Sports Boxing this week, saying his original plan was to bite Tyson in return before his cornerman intervened.

"Coming into the fight, this prophet told me, 'Something bad is gonna happen. Something in your facial area is gonna happen. But you gotta keep your mind on God.' ... So I tell my corner guy, 'If something happens, you're gonna be responsible [for keeping me focused].' So when Tyson bit my ear ... when we were gonna come back, I was going to grab him and I was going to maul him. I was gonna bite the daylights out of him. But, my corner guy said, 'Evander, keep your mind on the Lord!"

Now, with Tyson posting his training videos, "The Real Deal" Holyfield decided not to be outdone.

The real reason that Holyfield is making a return to the ring is for the #Unite4OurFight campaign, which was created by The Evander Holyfield Foundation in order to raise funds for first responders and their families, and support the education and emotional well-being of children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, we can speculate.

Could this just be a coincidence? Or are these two old friends bound to enter the ring together once more?

The sequel is never as good as the original – but maybe the trilogy could live up to the hype?


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