Saturday, October 31, 2009

Iron Mike and Boxing KOed

Sometimes, athletes can be extremely annoying to the average fan. It gets to the point that their freakish nature becomes more intriguing than watching them compete. Take the following pathetic account, for example.

Iron Mike Tyson . Let that name resonate for just one moment. In the mid 1980s and some of the '90s, Iron Mike Tyson made boxing the most exciting sport in the world -- even to non-boxing fans. This kid with the sheepish smile and Swarzeneggar body was an absolute fury inside the boxing ring. The youngest heavyweight champ ever, Tyson burst onto the scene with fists that could knock down walls and a interviews that could put a smile on Yogi Berra's face.

After a prison term for a rape conviction, Tyson became less of a devastating fighter and more of a freak. One minute he was crashing his car and walking away from it, the next he was denying raping a young girl but saying he wished he had, then he was nawing on Evander Holyfield's ear in a failed attempt to regain boxing prominence. Finally, after countless run-ins with the law, Tyson was pummeled into submission in one last title shot by Lennox Lewis, a champ who had run out of quality opponents.

There was a time that we all learned to love Tyson. Soon, we learned to hate him. And, in the end, many would pity him.

After squandering a 400 million fortune and claiming bankruptcy, Tyson decided to escape his demons and try to get some of his glory and a few of those lost millions back. He would fight again, after several years of recovery from the beating he suffered from Lewis.

Finally, an overweight, too old Tyson, lacking the skills he once had, took yet another beating -- this time at the hands of an unknown journeyman named Danny Williams. Knocked out in the fourth round, Tyson was left to ponder a dark future. His own trainer suggested that Tyson's journey must come to an end.

For nearly two decades, Mike Tyson has saved boxing from completely drowning in its own pool of greed, malevolence, and awful boxers. Whether he was decimating an opponent with the most powerful punches in history or boggling our minds with his strange behavior, Tyson awed virtually everyone who watched him or read about him. He did what all sportsmen should do -- he kept us entertained.

Now, with his latest defeat, Tyson and boxing are both beaten. And all we can do is hope for the next freak to get here soon.