By Frank Warren
During his prime in the late 80s and 90s, Mike Tyson used to parade as the ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’. However, the outrageous revelations of his memoirs published this week, simply portray him as the maddest and the saddest.
In the 600 page book farcically titled ‘Undisputed Truth’, the convicted rapist ‘owns up to sex, drug and alcohol addictions throughout his turbulent career which routinely brought our sport into disrepute.
Through my association with Don King, I was closely involved in several Tyson promotions, including both of his appearances in the UK. The contrast in his conduct during those 2000 trips reflected his erratic and combustible psyche.
For his initial sojourn, which culminated in a two round demolition of Julius Francis at a packed out MEN Arena in Manchester, Mike was a model professional; cordial, engaging and obliging. However, upon his return just five months later – a 38 second annihilation of fellow New Yorker Lou Savarese at Hampden Park, Glasgow - Tyson had spiralled completely out of control.
From the moment, he disembarked from the plane, Iron Mike was strutting round like a dog with two d***s and the testament in his book begins to explain why.
He is a very cunning and manipulative person. For example when he was in the UK he was asking where the local Mosque was and went to pray. Now he is saying he was taking drugs and boozing, how does that sit with his then found new religion? Good job he wasn’t in Saudi Arabia as he would have found himself hung from a crane.
Riddled with ‘pot’ and ‘blow’, he claims that he carried in his luggage his ‘whizzer’, a fake penis filled with someone else’s clean urine to ensure he passed the post-fight drug test! Tyson was utterly vile from the moment he docked until - at the insistence of Glasgow’s Old Bill – he was ushered, minus his ‘lost’ passport, straight to the airport after the fight’s conclusion.
In between, he refused to undertake any PR commitments to promote the show, continued to pound the fallen and semi-conscious Savarese for several seconds after the fight had been formally terminated, and struck 62 year old referee John Coyle.
Then, in his post-fight interview, he ranted how he intended ripping out reigning champion Lennox Lewis’ heart and eating his (non-existent) children.
For the accurate, sober, drug free account of what really happened when he was in the UK, you’ll have to wait until my own autobiography is released next year!
Tyson thrived on menace and intimidation. He crows of how he could ‘smell the fear’ in Frank Bruno when they fought their rematch in Las Vegas and he gloats about attempting to snap Francois Botha’s arm in a clinch, and drive Jesse Fergusson’s nose into his brain.
Yet when confronted by Evander Holyfield - a truly fearless warrior who he couldn’t intimidate – Tyson bleats that he only lost (twice) because that nasty Holyfield butted him.
Holyfield exposed Tyson for what he became; a bully and a coward. He never regained his title and – sinister aura removed – suffered embarrassing stoppage defeats in three of his last four fights.
As for beating up Don King for whatever reason, King was nearly 70, 32 years older than Tyson, what a tough guy Tyson is.
Though Tyson was blessed with the natural speed and power to become a heavyweight great, he lacked the true embodiment and character. Ultimately, as his new revelations highlight, he tarnished boxing far more than he enriched it. The man’s a Whizzer!
Irrespective of who prevails in next weekend’s civil war between Carl Froch and George Groves, neither will be able to style themselves as the world’s premier super-middleweight.
That honour clearly belongs to Oakland’s Andre Ward, who might just be the best fighter on the planet not called Floyd Mayweather.
This evening, the self-proclaimed ‘Son Of God’ returns from a 14 month hiatus to repair a damaged shoulder. In Ontario, California, he makes a sixth defence of his WBA Super title against unbeaten Dominican banger Edwin ‘La Bomba’ Rodriguez. BoxNation televise live.
A defensive genius and master tactician in the Mayweather mould, the 29 year old is unbeaten in battle since the age of 12 and is the last Yank to claim an Olympic boxing title after striking gold at the 2004 Athens Games.
With comfortable victories over both Mikkel Kessler and Froch on his perfect 26 fight CV, Ward will need to exit the 168lb division if his audacious talent is to be fully extended.
James DeGale is also in action tonight. He is looking to impress against Yank Dyah Davis at Glow, Bluewater – he should impress tonight.
WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns’ career continues to astound me.
Readers will recall that I had arranged a ‘nailed on’ unification clash for the Scot, on home soil, against IBF counterpart Miguel Vasquez of Mexico earlier this year.
Instead, ‘Rickster’ opted to breach our contract and pursue alternative avenues. The matter will now at last be settled in a court room early next year.
Regardless, the grass certainly hasn’t proven greener elsewhere. In his two subsequent starts, Burns lost almost every round before rallying to force little known Puerto Rican Jose Gonzalez to bail out on his stool after nine rounds in May. He then suffered a fractured jaw and the decision unceremoniously booed by his home crowd after copping a fortuitous draw with Mexican Ray Beltran in September.
This week, despite promoter Eddie Hearn boasting that a rematch with Beltran was ‘99% done’, the WBO has insisted that Burns must instead fulfil his mandatory obligation against Omaha’s formidable Terence Crawford.
The 26 year old Nebraskan – who scalped reigning world light-welter king Danny Garcia in the amateurs and is undefeated in 22 pro fights with 16 stoppages – is promoted by the influential Top Rank organisation and a favourite of US cable TV giants HBO.
Just think if he had fought and beaten the light punching Vasquez then as dual Champion he would have the option on who he fought!!
Last Wednesday I was pleased to deliver the winning purse bid to promote the eagerly anticipated British heavyweight title showdown between champion David Price and Dereck Chisora, who presently reigns on the European throne.
Unsurprisingly, the Southern Area Council sided with manager Adam Booth this week, in his contractual dispute with George Groves.
Having negotiated ‘The Saint’s’ WBA and IBF challenge to Carl Froch next weekend, the estranged Booth is entitled to trouser a quarter of Groves’ £500,000 purse plus a similar percentage for all future fights until their contract expires in January 2015.
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