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Friday, 10 June 2016

Tyson Returns to the Ring

 Tyson Returns to the Ring
"The last thing I ever thought I'd be doing would be returning to boxing as a promoter.”

Mike Tyson’s last appearance in the gloved game was in 2005. After seven years he is ready to return to the ring—not as a combatant but as a promoter.

Tyson, who will be following the lead of Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and other champs turned promoters, confided, “The last thing I ever thought I’d be doing would be returning to boxing as a promoter. But these two great businessmen approached me and I loved their ideas. I’m going to be very hands-on, personally checking on the conditioning and style of all our fighters.”

The first ballot Hall-of-Famer developed his craft in upstate New York and that is where he will cut his teeth as a promoter and president of Iron Mike Productions. Tyson’s inaugural show will be take place at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York on this week’s ESPN Friday Night Fights. The main event of the evening will pit IBF junior lightweight champion, Argenis Mendez (21-2, 11 KOs) against Arash Usmanee (20-1, 10 KOs).

In a recent conference call, Tyson asked what he might have absorbed about the business from the one time king of boxing promotions, Don King. Tyson explained that if he learned anything from his former promoter it would have been “how to manipulate my fighters and take advantage of them and tell them lies, and tell them I love them and the white man hates them and we’re [expletive] together, we’re brothers together, and everybody is against us.”

Pushed to reveal how he would be different from other boxing impresarios, Tyson went right to the point, “You will never hear one of my fighters say ‘Mike Tyson stole from me.’”

At the same time, Tyson announced that his future fistic trajectory would include training fighters. Once known as the baddest man on the planet for his pure concussive power, Tyson is also one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet about boxing technique. Indeed, whenever he talks about the x’s and o’s of the sport an unmistakable passion creeps into his voice.

Pressed as to whether he, as a trainer, would be like his legendary mentor, Cus D’Amato, Tyson laughed, “No, only about four percent of the fighters today have the discipline for someone like Cus. Most of them don’t even have the discipline to make weight for a fight.” The man who had wrecking balls for fists reckoned that most present day pugilists lack passion. Tyson was bell clear, “I want fighters who will be exciting, who have a burning desire to fight.”

A professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, Gordon Marino writes on boxing for the Wall Street Journal. He is on the board and works with boxers at the Circle of Discipline in Minneapolis, as well as at the Basement Gym in Northfield, MN. You can follow him on Twitter at @GordonMarino.


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