Saturday, July 31, 2004

Tyson Toasted

Former Heavyweight Champion, Mike Tyson, during the 4th Round of his bout against Danny Williams Posted by Hello

by Taylor Sias (photo courtesy of

Last evening, the career of Mike Tyson took another monumental hit as he was KO’d by former British Heavyweight Champion Danny Williams. The bout officially was terminated at 2:51 in the 4th Round, following a relentless assault by the 9-1 underdog, Williams. Tyson was thoroughly dazed by the more aggressive than expected Brit. Unable to beat the ten-second count, referee Dennis Alfred formally declared an end to the contest.

From the beginning, this partisan Louisville crowd favored Mr. Tyson. The reception was the same as when a prime Mike Tyson was blowing through opponent after opponent with stunning ease. Tyson appeared unusually calm through the introductions and referee instructions. Crisp left hooks and uppercuts in the opening stanza had Williams visibly shaken. The first round was characterized by strategic holding from the British pugilist. There were moments where it looked like Williams was headed straight for the territory of Julius Francis and Lou Savarese. Fortunately for Williams, he survived the first round and was able to regroup in his corner. In what may or may not have been a factor in the fight’s result, Tyson did twist his left knee during the final seconds of the round.

The second round yielded better results for Williams. While Tyson clearly was winning the rounds, Williams was able to make some headway. One punch early in the round stunned Tyson momentarily. Also, Williams began to work Tyson’s body in earnest beginning this round. More importantly, it was becoming clear that the case for Tyson’s continued success in the ring was rather specious. Tyson was landing with quality shots, but Williams was never forced to the canvas.

Round three was even more competitive, except for the two point deductions from Williams. The judges scored the round 10-7 for Mr. Tyson, but the bout was becoming more competitive and Williams was on the verge of taking control. An unintentional clash of heads yielded a cut under Tyson’s right eye. The doctor was summoned to investigate and concluded the fight could continue.
The bout turned disastrous for Tyson midway through the fourth round. At this stage, Williams had completely seized control of the pace. Williams relentlessly attacked Tyson to the head and body. Tyson was thoroughly beaten and unable to protect himself from further aggression. Finally, Tyson’s body conceded to the punishment and fell to the canvas at Freedom Hall. Tyson was unable to beat a mysteriously lengthy ten-second count. Tyson did reach his feet, but only after Alfred reached the count of ten. Williams had unexpectedly handed Tyson the fifth loss of his professional career.

Tyson had nothing to say after the bout. Manager Shelly Finkel mentioned to Jim Gray that Tyson had injured his knee. Trainer Freddie Roach mentioned the real possibility that he would encourage Tyson to retire. Williams, on the other hand, was ecstatic. He proposed to his girlfriend, who accepted this gesture. As admirably as he performed this evening, tonight was not about Danny Williams.

The details of this boxing contest are relatively meaningless. A 38 year-old warrior could not muster up the energy to dispose of an unheralded heavyweight contender. Williams showed tremendous heart and resolve, withstanding nearly twelve minutes of punishment from Tyson. A lot of fighter would not have been able to pull out this victory. For that, Williams deserves praise and will certainly reap the financial rewards. Williams will likely never ascend to the notoriety that he achieved Friday night. Hopefully, he’ll get some deserved paychecks against prominent heavyweights. Certainly he’ll be welcomed as a hero back in his home of Great Britain. But this evening was about the probable end of the career of Mike Tyson.

Whether Tyson retires is not the question to be asked. Financial obligations may force Tyson’s teams come up with creative ideas to market his continued career. It is reported that Tyson is in debt up to about $30 million. He needed these seven upcoming fights to pay off his many creditors. When the PPV buys return, we’ll see how much magic Tyson had left in his arsenal. Could Tyson still draw an audience fighting an unknown fighter? Whatever he sold tonight, it will likely be less if he ever does fight again. Tyson did not provide any extracurricular high jinks for public gawking. In fact, he fought admirably and put on a fantastic show. Tyson demonstrated tremendous heart in giving as good as he was taking for nearly four rounds. And in many cases, his effort would have been satisfactory enough to ensure victory. The problem for Tyson is that Williams was not a premiere fighter. FOX Sports Net’s Max Kellerman assessed Williams as a Top-20 contender. There are still Top 50 and Top 100 guys that Tyson could annihilate. The question is about the public’s willingness to follow Tyson’s travels any further. It appears that the blueprint for defeating Tyson was followed perfectly by Williams. Take punishment and hold on for dear life. Once the fight progresses, Tyson will fade and is prime for the taking. After tonight, it is hard to envision Tyson competing for a title belt even in this historically weak era.

There was much sadness emanating from my living room last night. I was very happy for Danny Williams. Typically, I pull for the underdog in this type of contest. He deserves the credit and adulation for his effort tonight. On the other hand, Tyson was unquestionably beaten. There was no doubt that Tyson was the inferior fighter. As Tim and I watched him muster the strength to get off that canvas, we knew that Tyson’s career was effectively over. It didn’t matter whether it happened in ten seconds or three rounds down the road. The Mike Tyson of the 1980’s was nowhere to be seen tonight. In fact, that Mike Tyson left us in January of 1990 in Tokyo. Deep down, I yearned for Tyson to reach a comparable level of success. We knew Tyson would never be the same, but he could at least summon enough to dispose of the mediocre Danny Williams. In no other sport is the end so painful to witness. Seeing Willie Mays stumble around Center Field was regrettable, but it cannot compare to the sight of Tyson, bleeding from his eye, unable to make it to his feet for the ten-count. Mays, nor any athletes in other sports, put themselves in grave danger by continuing past the point that they should. Tyson was literally beaten up this evening. If he decides to continue for financial reasons, a repeat of this will happen sooner or later. Unfortunately, the beatings could get worse and result in an even more damaged Mike Tyson. But for Tyson, he knows no other way. No credible endorser will want to be associated with the embattled former champ. There are other options, like K-1, that could be comparably lucrative.

Finally, the feeling I have about Tyson tonight may not be logical. Many people view him as a rapist and a downright loathsome individual. All of that might be true. Still, Tyson was an American original and this defeat might bring to an end a 20-year public obsession with Michael Gerard Tyson.


Post a Comment

<< Home