Sports Iron Mike
posted by February 2 at 13:39 PMon
Last night on ESPN Classic they were showing some of Mike Tyson’s early fights. One of them was this bout against “Fast” Eddie Richardson on November 13, 1985 in Houston.
The fight was a joke: Tyson knocked down Richardson just nine seconds in, and finally put him down for good a mere minute after the fight started. But the fight itself isn’t what’s interesting (other than just how incredibly fast, and hard-punching, Tyson was back then). What’s interesting is Tyson’s reaction at the end of the bout.
The Tyson we know now is crazy and out of control—a convicted rapist, an alleged wife beater, an ear-muncher, and now, a broke-ass washout, among other things. But watch the video and you see a completely different Tyson who, after the fight is called, rushes over to help “Fast” Eddie Richardson back to his feet. He then later goes over to Richardson’s corner to make sure Richardson is okay. Just 19 at the time, Tyson—who had spent a lot of time in juvie as a kid, and was eventually discovered there—appears completely at odds with the “Iron” Mike we know now.
Tyson would eventually go on to own the WBA, WCA, and IBF titles at the same time—the first heavyweight fighter to do so. But by then his life outside the ring was starting to crumble, and his downfall was swift. In 1988, a year after he claimed all the belts, he fired his long-time manager Kevin Rooney, and just two years after that he was lying on his back in a ring in Tokyo as nobody James “Buster” Douglas was crowned the new champ. Then came prison, a failed comeback, the ear-munching, the facial tattoos, etc.
For four years—from 1984 to 1988—boxing made Mike Tyson a better man. It plucked him from juvie, set his life on a path, and gave him hope as a human being. And then, like the sport often does, it destroyed him.