Programming covering Mike Tyson’s tumultuous life and career is very much still in demand in 2021.
ABC News became the latest entity on Monday to jump into the ring looking to tell the story of the “Baddest Man on the Planet” when it announced “Mike Tyson: The Knockout,” a two-part, four-hour documentary series scheduled to air on back-back-back Tuesdays on May 25 and June 1 from 8 to 10 p.m. EST.
“Mike Tyson: The Knockout will put viewers ringside for a main event that will chronicle the former champion’s climb, crash and comeback, from his difficult childhood to becoming undisputed world champion to his 1992 rape conviction and his personal struggles,” ABC News wrote in a press release.
“Through the lens of his life’s extreme highs and lows, the two-part primetime event will examine some of the most pressing questions about resilience and reinvention.”
The new special will show unaired interview footage with Tyson and new interviews with boxing superfan Rosie Perez, former president of HBO Sports Ross Greenburg, ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless, former trainers Bobby Stewart, Teddy Atlas and Joe Colangel, and previous opponents Michael Spinks and Buster Douglas.
“In addition to being an inspiring story of the perseverance and hard-won growth of one extraordinary person, Mike Tyson’s life and career are also relevant to the important collective self-reflection finally occurring in America,” said executive producer Geoffrey Fletcher.
“Mike Tyson: The Knockout” can also be seen the next day on demand and on Hulu.
In a separate series, Hulu announced in February it was developing an eight-episode biopic “Iron Mike” without Tyson’s involvement or authorization.
Tyson was upset at the development.
Shortly afterward, it was announced that actor Jamie Foxx would officially be playing as Tyson in a separate limited series directed by Antoine Fuqua and executive-produced by Martin Scorsese.
“Hulu's announcement to do an unauthorized mini-series of the Tyson story without compensation, although unfortunate, isn't surprising,” Tyson said in a statement posted on Instagram at the time in regard to Hulu’s series “Iron Mike.”
“This announcement on the heels of social disparities in our country is a prime example of how Hulu's corporate greed led to this tone-deaf cultural misappropriation of the Tyson life story. To make this announcement during Black History Month only confirms Hulu's concern for dollars over respect for black story rights. Hollywood needs to be more sensitive to black experiences especially after all that has transpired in 2020. The real Mike Tyson authorized story is in development and will be announced in coming days. Hulu to announce stealing a black athletes story during Black History month couldn't be more inappropriate or tone deaf. #boycotthulu #corporategreed.
“These actions taken by Hulu are just the tip of the iceberg. We shouldn't be surprised by these abhorrent actions as they represent the systemic racism that has plagued Hollywood for its entire existence. These corporate giants hide behind plays and praise themselves for offering tone-deaf attempts at diversity and inclusion like Hulu's "Black Stories" playlist that recommends stories about Black culture to viewers on the app. Yet behind closed doors they steal stories from the Black community. #BoycottHulu”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com