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Friday, February 2, 2007

Iron Mike

posted by on February 2 at 13:39 PM

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.

RSS icon Comments


Remember the Carl "The Truth" Williams fight?

Posted by conejo | February 2, 2007 2:13 PM

Brutal, it looked like he was fighting Glass Joe. Too bad that his life played out like a Greek tragedy, boxing hasn't been interesting or relevant since Holyfield fight. Tyson - crazy = Iron Mike in the same sentence as Ali.

Posted by buffalo | February 2, 2007 2:17 PM

Conejo: Wasn't that even shorter than the Richardson fight?

Buffalo: I agree completely.

Posted by Bradley Steinbacher | February 2, 2007 2:19 PM

The pride of Brownsville.

Posted by SeMe | February 2, 2007 2:26 PM

I think the "Truth" fight might have been shorter, not positive. I know Truth never threw a punch. I also remember that it was hilarious that my friends made a huge deal about the pay-per-view (which I think was kind of new then) and after all the teen-boy jacked up excitement it was BAM BAM BAM. Thud. Done. HA HA.

Posted by conejo | February 2, 2007 2:31 PM

Dude, I would watch that stuff on Friday night fights when I was a kid and that man was unstoppable, it was really like watching a superhero destroy mortal men. I remember him in an interview in 86 talking about how he wanted to punch a guy just right in the nose so it would go into his brain and kill him. Totally unbeatable and batshit crazy for a few years, but only batshit crazy after that.

Posted by Ross | February 2, 2007 2:54 PM

his best fight was when he shot the fair one with mitch "blood" green outside of dapper dan's. awesome.

Posted by lar | February 2, 2007 3:32 PM

watching mike tyson fight in those early years is still absolutely amazing.

i still believe that things would have turned out differently for iron mike if cus d'amato hadn't died when he did.

it's a sad story.

Posted by kerri harrop | February 2, 2007 3:32 PM

The Truth: Fuzzy memories being corrected by You Tube. He did "throw" some punches. Here's a vid:

Posted by conejo | February 2, 2007 3:38 PM

Mike Tyson's like a figure in a Greek tragedy. The last real champion (boxing today is a joke). I wonder if someone could write a book telling the twin downfalls of Tyson and Michael Jackson.

Posted by Fnarf | February 2, 2007 5:17 PM

Sorry, Mike (may have been) the baddest man on the planet, if only for a little while, but he was still a punk.
Read Teddy Atlas' bio for more. And Tyson would have been dead or in jail if not for D'Amato, and D'Amato was the biggest foe of Don King on earth, hated everything he stood for. And Cus dies, and Tyson signs with King. Why? To make so many more millions per fight? That was the ultimate fuck you to Cus' memory, and I shed no tears as Tyson spun out and down.

Posted by Cat brother | February 4, 2007 9:50 AM

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