By Jackie Kallen:
For those who thought they’d never see “Iron” Mike Tyson climb through the ropes again–be sure to watch ESPN2 on August 23 when he steps into the squared circle as PROMOTER Mike Tyson. It’s been eight years since he faced Kevin McBride in DC. Those days are long gone. He retired after that fiasco. But a new door has opened.
Following in the footsteps of mega-successful Oscar de la Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotions, Tyson is partners in Iron Mike productions. His first show as a promoter will be this Friday night at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY. The show is being hailed as “Tyson is Back” and includes title bouts in the featherweight and super featherweight classes.
He has been touring with his own one-man show (Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth) and doing quite well with that. He appeared in The Hangover I and II. His life has been on an incline. Getting back into the boxing game was not big on Tyson’s bucket list. He felt that this business had caused him enough stress and pain.
After thinking it through, he decided that he still has a lot to give to the game that made him famous, wealthy, and almost-dead. Several years ago, after years of drug abuse and less-than-exemplary behavior, suicide was starting to look like an enticing option. Divorces, prison time, financial problems, the loss of a child. Tyson suffered through a lot. But fortunately he pulled it all together and survived. And he is once again reinventing himself.
Mike Tyson has become a beloved figure. People gravitate to him and he can bring an entire arena to its’ feet. As a promoter, he can help other young boxers achieve their goal to be another “Iron Mike.” And having been a fighter himself, he knows how a fighter thinks and feels. I believe he will do a good job in his new role.
Part of Mike’s stability these days can be attributed to his marriage to Lakiha Spicer Tyson. She is beautiful, intelligent and devoted to her husband. Gone are the hangers-on who drained his pockets and stabbed him in the back. His years with Don King as his promoter taught Tyson how not to be a promoter.
Unlike King, Tyson vows to never lie to a fighter, steal from him, or take advantage of a hard-working pugilist. He learned the hard way. King is reputed to have stolen millions of dollars from Tyson, who sued King for $200 million (and ended up settling for $14 million).
The main event on Friday night featured IBF junior featherweight champ Argenis Mendez (21-1) defending his crown against Arash Usmanee (20-1) that turned out to be an interesting majority draw.
Tyson has also not ruled out the possibility of someday training young boxers. The future is bright for the man who less than a decade ago felt close to death.
If you are the gambling type, bet the house on Iron Mike succeeding.