Monday, February 21, 2005

More pulp, split guts

Mike Tyson is planning to fight again.

Now it’s sad. It’s always sad when someone who has been right at the top of his (or her) field, and has signed off, is forced to come back for reasons outside of ‘just for the heck of it’. You obviously don’t see too much of it in some of the more general fields of work. But among sportspersons, actors, other film people, entertainers, singers…this has always been a phenomena. And being showbiz (all these fields, including sports), it’s all the sadder. And there are just so many examples. And so many reasons for their comebacks.

It’s also especially common among boxers. Why? Well, I am no sociologist, but I would think it’s often the physicality of the sport. Not in Tyson’s case, but in general. Unlike in other sports, being the number one boxer doesn’t only mean you are the best. It also means you are the strongest. Losing, therefore, not only makes you second best, but also weaker. A loss is a sign of weakness. Of admitting that there are other blokes on the block who are stronger than you. I think that often brings people back into the ring. And, at the cost of sounding politically incorrect, the Hulks from Harlem are easy meat for this sort of provocation.

In Tyson’s case, it’s the financial shit he is in. All those misadventures and suits he has had to fight and alimony and compensations he has had to pay…plus the lavish Las Vegas kind of lifestyle that comes as part of fistic stardom. It’s not left him with a lot.

Then it’s sadder because this is not his first comeback. He tried it last year. Was beaten to pulp by a Brit of all people. Danny Williams. Not only was he beaten, knocked out in the second round or something, he was beaten by a guy who was beaten almost immediately after by a White Man. Vitaly Klitschko…a Ukrainian at that.

Tyson, therefore, is making a comeback knowing fully well that he has no hope in hell of going back to 1986. When he became the youngest ever heavyweight champion of the world. Or those glory years in the late 1980s or early 1990s. He knows he is going to lose. He knows he is going to come out worse than he did against Williams. But he can’t help it. Heck, he doesn’t know any other way of making money.

And the other interesting facet of the whole thing is that America is going to pay to watch Tyson being pulped. They hate him, don’t they? He is the bad guy. Among the Most Hated Americans ever. So, despite not having Don King around him anymore, Tyson will be able to sell himself and his fights.

Sad, but then…he isn’t the first to reach such a stage. And he certainly won’t be the last.