Why we love Mike Tyson

First off, you may not love Mike Tyson, that’s fine, but it would be hard to say you don’t love greatness. I think apart from all of us he wants to see greatness in action, particularly in sports. We are inspired by guys like Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, Muhammad Ali, they move us to achieve more and be better. Just ask any child who they have on the poster on their wall and why he is there. There is no doubt in my mind that Mike Tyson was in that league. There has never been a heavyweight that captivated us and had us on the edge of our seats like Iron Mike. At his best, we saw lightning speed, devastating power, slick defense, and a guy who wanted to fight and win every second of every round. He was young, the youngest champion in history, with an unending promise of becoming the greatest heavyweight in history.

However, we weren’t prepared for that, no one was, to see Tyson fall from such heights and never really get him back. It happened too fast and too soon, many people felt the pain of it whether they admit it or not. Watching him lose to Douglas is punishing for most boxing fans. You may be a Holyfield fan, a Lewis fan or just a Tyson hater, I even remember my coach saying with a smile that “Buster Douglas kicked his ass.” Some people hate Tyson, for whatever reason. As an analogy, take a look at Usain Bolt, do you really want to see him go to prison for three years and then get out and never be able to run a sub-10 100m again? It seems like a lot of people wanted something like that for Tyson.

Holyfield and Lewis were great fighters, but they weren’t Mike Tyson, they weren’t electric, they didn’t have the same trajectory destined for greatness. My question is, was the best of Tyson better than the best of Douglas, the best of Holyfield or the best of Lewis? My answer to that is a definite YES! And if you’re a Tyson fan, it’s not just that he lost or how he lost that’s the hardest part, it’s that what captured and inspired us is gone without replacement. We missed out on greatness and all boxing fans lost because of it, whether they were Tyson fans or not.

In my opinion, Tyson was in his prime for the Spinks fight, and after that he never was himself again. Was his downfall due to Cus D’amato’s death years before? Or the death of his manager and his close friend Jim Jacobs? Was it because of Robyn Givens, crazy Don King or running off with his trainer Kevin Rooney? Was it because he went to jail? The answer to all of them is another definite yes. Ultimately though, and I hate to say it, Mike Tyson’s downfall was due to Mike Tyson. He made his own decisions and dealt with things the best way he knew how, and when it came to becoming the best, those decisions were sadly not enough. We had expectations for Mike Tyson, he was supposed to fulfill them for us, he was supposed to become the greatest heavyweight of all time so we could be entertained and inspired. He is a heavy burden for anyone to carry.

I read a lot of comments on YouTube and on the net about why Tyson lost, we can talk about Holyfield’s headbutts, or Tyson’s trainers and life at the time, etc., but we need to stay away from that debate, because it’s almost a waste of breath. The best Tyson was gone and there was no glory for Holyfield or Lewis in beating the Tyson who showed up on those nights. We all know he wasn’t a cousin Tyson, the guy who wowed us. These other heavyweights weren’t the inspiration everyone was looking for, they could never replace the Tyson we all knew existed, even if he was gone.

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