Boxing was the only sport that my father and I would watch together. We weren’t a baseball, basketball, or football family. I’m sure that my father was heavy into the Sixers back when Dr. J and Moses Malone were balling like they had a block (Jeezy!) but my memories are filled with him being a huge fan of all that was pugilistic. He was around to experience the Ali, Foreman, Frazier era down to the Sugar Ray Leonard, Hagler and Hearns matches too but none seemed to be more impactful than Mike Tyson.
Tyson was the ONLY fighter that I was cognizant of during the mid to late 80s. By the time he lost to Buster Douglas (which he shouldn’t have BTW), I was on my way into kindergarten and besides Nintendo’s Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, I had never seen him in action. The 90’s were a tumultuous time for Tyson especially after he was convicted of rape in 1992. Even though I’d rarely seen their matches, boxers like Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis weren’t “stars” to me. As great as they were skill wise, they were all boring to watch. I found no excitement in ANY of those guys. No disrespect intended but I’d rather watch one of nerdiest stars of Big Bang Theory test his might on American Gladiator. Because that, like the thought itself, would be much more entertaining.
If there was an era of Tyson that I’d prefer to watch over and over again, it would definitely be his entrance into the sport as a professional fighter when while under the auspicious tutelage of the late Cus D’amato. Sure you can say there wasn’t much to enjoy whenever he’d end a bout in the first round but you have to admire the beauty of his short work. One of my favorite matches was against Michael Johnson, a boxer who I believe had just come off a 2 year break. Tyson put him on his ass quickly and rocked the jaw like nobody’s business. And let’s not forget what he did to Joe Frazier’s progeny. BARBARIC! The son of Smokin’ Joe hadn’t a chance in the world against Iron Mike. I mean, back in that time, WHO DID?!
Why would I want to be like Mike? In the beginning of his career he was calculated and disciplined which meant that there was NOTHING that could stand in his way. I’ve watched Mike’s training sessions with his former trainer Kevin Rooney repeatedly hoping to gain some kind of knowledge from their interactions. Look, I can say loudly and proudly that I was never an athlete but I think that if I had the opportunity to be one, I’d definitely be a boxer. A friend of mine that’s a martial artist said that I had the build for it. I even invested in a few pairs of training gloves to rock out with at my local gym. Anything is possible at this point in life.
I’m a peaceful individual that will not hesitate to throw hands if the opportunity arose. I never went looking for fights nor am I someone that supports senseless violence but fighting has become the law of the land in my mind. There were so many things in life that I should’ve fought for and didn’t but as my good friend MP stated to me earlier in the week, I should be grateful for the things in life that didn’t result in a war of some sort and I couldn’t disagree. See for me, I have to fight myself, well, old ideas of what I thought I used to be. I’m fighting for love rather a love that I thought I was never deserving of. I have to be champion and after losing my grandfather, I have the be the biggest my family has ever seen.