Volume 2, Number 7 -- July, 1997
You Want Fries With That?
By Dean Shutt
So Mike Tyson bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear. I suppose this means we are due for yet another round of "boxing should be banned" tirades from the working press. I heard a guy just the other night saying that he doesn't think Tyson will be a draw anymore. I have to ask myself what this man was smoking when he came up with that thought. We live in a country that created The Ultimate Fighting Championship because watching two superbly conditioned athletes beating each other senseless wasn't violent enough for us. Does anyone out there honestly believe that we won't drop fifty bucks for the pay per view of Tyson's next fight?
Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist and all-around thug. He has been on the borderline for quite a few years now. Were we honestly surprised when his capacity for blind rage finally spilled into his professional life? Throughout his career, Tyson has demolished opponents early. For the most part he has had the fight won before he ever stepped into the ring. It has long been a speculation as to what would happen if Tyson ever got himself into a fight that he knew he couldn't win. His first two losses don't really count because by the time he realized he was losing those fights they were already finished. This was the first time that Mike Tyson has ever stepped into the ring feeling threatened. When he preceded to lose the first two rounds convincingly to an obviously superior fighter we all saw his reaction. I have to think that no one foresaw this reaction or did they?
Mike Tyson's handlers work with him every day, nearly live with him as a matter of fact. I find it doubtful that none of them had any clue as to Tyson's mental state entering Saturday night. With his history, his background and his criminal record, you have to think that his handlers knew exactly how he would react if things went South for him early. Of course you can't expect that the parasites that Tyson has surrounded himself with would let a little thing like the possibility of a total psychotic freak-out keep them from their payday. When that bell sounded Saturday night, Mike Tyson was a ticking bomb and his management had set the detonator and sent him merrily on his way.
I am not the sort to make excuses for people. I firmly believe that you buy the ticket , you take the ride and what happens is your responsibility. In this case though it isn't Mike Tyson's fault alone. When you take a young man who has never been taught to deal with life on an adult level and turn him into a violence machine, how precisely do you expect him to react? I think Tyson's post fight comments are intriguing, "He was head butting me and I had to do something." It is sad that a thirty year old father's idea of "something" was biting off a hunk of his opponent's ear. Not surprising considering his training, but sad nonetheless.
After his suspension was handed down recently, there was a hue and cry for banning Mike Tyson from the sport of boxing altogether. I wouldn't hold my breath, friends. Mike Tyson is still a money machine. You don't shut down the money machine just because it runs a little rough sometimes. Tyson will fight again, he may very well become champion of the world again. Tyson will keep fighting because it is all that he knows. He will keep fighting because he makes his handlers a lot of money. He will keep fighting because people will continue to pay to watch him fight. He will keep fighting because deep down, we all want to see him keep fighting, because we care no more about Tyson the man than his handlers do.
If we were nearly the society we think ourselves to be, Mike Tyson would never box again. Don King would be up on charges for unleashing a potentially lethal weapon on Evander Holyfield. The sport of boxing would be not run by felons and con men but by sportsman. We are not that society though, instead we revel in the twisted machinations of the boxing world. Cheer on the thugs and the brutes as they use up athletes and toss them aside when they're usefulness is at an end. We all get a sick pleasure when Mike Tyson bites off part of Evander Holyfield's ear live on pay per view.
That is why Mike Tyson will box again. That is why Don King will continue to promote fights. That is why the sport will continue to be run by thugs and con men. In order to provide a product that we are willing to pay for, you need the people with the proper expertise. Until we as fans finally say enough, and stop buying the tickets and ordering the pay per views, boxing will continue on as it is now. A ghoulish sideshow to the world of sports.