Former two-time undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson
railroaded over the former United States Boxing Association (USBA) and
International Boxing Association (IBA) heavyweight champion Lou Savarese in
Glasgow, Scotland on June 24, 2000. The fight served as an important
credibility statement for Tyson's behavior, which now rockets him to the very
top of the division. Tyson's convincing first round TKO started by landing a
left hook on Savarese's temple 11 seconds into the bout. Savarese never
recovered from the shot and the fight was ended by the referee before the
closing first round bell sounded. Finally, boxing fans were treated to a
vintage Tyson performance that had not been seen in his recent fights.
This vintage performance was marked with some definitely non
vintage events surrounding the fight, namely, protests from women's groups and
politicians that dedicated themselves to keep Tyson out of the country. Tyson
was never uniformly loved by the public, even before his rape conviction, but
nowadays there is a rage of hate by a general sector of the public against
Tyson. This small sector is still not big enough to ban Tyson from fighting,
thankfully, for boxing fans. The real problem with the anti-Tyson rhetoric is
the damage to his credibility. Tyson has been called a shot fighter, has been,
and passed his prime. Such allegations discount Tyson's performance within the
last year. The post prison Tyson has had 3 major accomplishments that, if not
for his public loathing, should have him ranked number 2 or 3 to Lennox Lewis.
But this is not the case, Tyson is ranked as far as number 8 by Ring magazine,
and other publications refuse to consider him seriously at all.
These publications, the boxing ranking officials, and the
general public should examine the 3 major boxing achievements Tyson has
accomplished recently. First, and foremost is the knock out of Botha in 1999.
Botha, who is scheduled to fight the undisputed heavyweight champion Lewis in
a few months, is a solid heavyweight who is guaranteed to give a fighter 12
rounds, as he did with Michael Moorer, and Shannon Briggs. Tyson knocked out
Botha in devastating fashion with one right hook in the fifth round. Although
the overall fight showed Tyson's lack of conditioning and speed, his power
remained in tact. Botha himself stated that "a regular guy wouldn't have
gotten up from that punch, at least I got up and walked away."
Tyson's second accomplishment was his fight with Orlin
Norris. Upon close examination, discounting the punch after the bell that hurt
Tyson's credibility, there was the right hook that dropped Norris in the first
round causing his alleged knee injury. Norris is another solid, second rate
heavyweight who recently went 12 rounds with the hard hitting Andrew Golota. Golota
never gained a knock down from all his power shots, yet the punch Tyson landed
was completely ignored due to the no decision (ND) fiasco. Is there another
heavyweight who could have landed such a punch? I doubt it.
Tyson's third and most recent accomplishment is his knock
out of Savarese. Savarese is another solid heavyweight who went 12 rounds with
George Foreman a few years ago. A 38 second stoppage by a few series of Tyson
power shots seemed to be the punches that finally got the boxing world's
attention. The number one ranked contender
David Tua, has no such feats. Fast knock outs of John Ruiz and Obed
Sullivan are poor substitutes. Ruiz and Sullivan have never faced the
opposition that Savarese and Botha did, yet the Tua knock outs were received
with a lot more sensation then Tyson's TKOs. A trainer in boxing remarked
recently that Tyson fights alone, not having a trust worthy friend, promoter,
or manager in his corner. Along with the public sector that hates him, Tyson
seems to be fighting against the world. This may add entertainment value to
his fights, but it hurts his historical creditability with the boxing press.
This unfortunate fact is evident when a second rate fighter liked Tua is
ranked ahead of the greatest puncher of the modern era. The self proclaimed
"baddest man on the planet" may be too bad for his own good.
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