So the announcement we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. The Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis fight has been set in stone and the countdown can begin.
After being denied in Las Vegas, Tyson’s team courted city after city before finally striking a deal to fight in Memphis, Tenn., of all places.
I never really cared where they decided to have the fight, only that they made it happen. And on June 8, 2002, Tyson and Lewis will climb into the ring to pound each other into oblivion. I can’t wait!
This fight has been a long time coming, and after Tyson’s most recent public debacle at a pre-fight event, it was in jeopardy of not happening at all. The way I see it, this is Tyson’s last chance as a boxer. He has proven time and time again he is mentally unstable and irresistibly profane, and that has added to the anticipation of the bout. Not only do both Lewis and Tyson need this fight, but the sport of boxing itself is also depending on the brawl. Year after year of lackluster heavyweight fights and sub-par boxers have left the public uninterested in the sport. Declining popularity has created the need for such a blockbuster match-up.
No matter what the status of the sport is, however, there is always a sort of mythical awe surrounding the heavyweight title and the man who possesses it. I suppose it is the idea that whoever earns it is thought of as the most dangerous and powerful man on the planet. In any case, a match for the title belt will always generate some excitement and with Iron Mike taking on a well-spoken goliath of an Englishman, it couldn’t get any better.
Then there is always the issue of Tyson himself. Call him what you will: tough guy, racist, champion, psycho, the greatest ever, convicted rapist; I can’t help but want to watch when he gets into the ring. I think there is some inner, subconscious desire to see him cream opponents as he did early in his career.
There was something different about the way Tyson just punished people in the ring, and I have to say I was absolutely crushed when he lost to Buster Douglas on that fateful night so many years ago.
In the back of my mind I always held out the hope that he would some day return to form and take back the title from the unworthy fighters who held it in his absence.
But instead he has proven to be nothing more than a two-bit bully, rapist and ear-biting lunatic who cannot control himself long enough to even last through a weigh-in.
Yet I still want to see him fight. And unless he royally screws this one up, it looks like it will happen. His trainers may want to consider a muzzle until the day of the fight, but hopefully Iron Mike realizes the magnitude of this fight for himself and for the boxing community before it’s too late.