By: Sean Crose
Now that he’s a certified 21st century pop culture icon, it’s sometimes easy to forget just how SKILLED a boxer Iron Mike Tyson was back in the 80s and even into the 90s. Thirty years ago this week, Tyson battled Donovan “Razor” Ruddock in a highly controversial fight. Watching that bout again, I was once more reminded that Tyson was no longer the fighter he had been just a few years earlier…but I was also reminded of how GOOD the man was even when he wasn’t at his best. Power, bodywork and an insanely underrated defense defined Tyson, even after he had slipped a notch on the skill scale. The point, really, is that the personality that is Tyson shouldn’t eclipse the masterful ring warrior.
In fact, that’s something Tyson himself doesn’t apparently want to have happen. For, after his wildly successful pay per view exhibition bout against Roy Jones last autumn, the fifty something Hall of Famer is eager to get back in the ring. Many are pointing to arch foil Evander Holyfield as a logical, and lucrative, choice of an opponent, but nothing has yet to be signed. Still, Tyson made it clear on his “Hotboxin'” podcast that he’s fighting again in May. What’s more, the former undisputed heavyweight champion indicated he might want to return to fighting in a way he’s more familiar with.
“I felt better than I anticipated,” he said, referring to the Jones fight. “I thought I would be a little more nervous than I was, but I was relaxed.” Tyson came to realize that night that he wanted to do more than simply fight within the restrictive realm of the exhibition bout he found himself in. “I felt like, wow, I could do some more,” he said. “I could punch more combinations, I could do this and do that. I said, ‘Wow, this is interesting.’ And I want to do it again, and I want to do it against someone I could go all out on. It made me interested in wanting to do it again.”
As for the Jones’ match, Tyson claimed he held off on fighting to his fullest. “I wanted to go the distance,” he said. “I didn’t want to knock anybody out. That’s what people expected, but I wanted to go the distance.” Exhibition bout or no, Tyson plans on fighting Memorial Day weekend at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.