Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson have been two of the biggest names on the international boxing scene over the better part of the past two decades. Their 2002 bout – in which Lewis easily held sway for eight rounds before landing the inevitable killer blow – will forever see the two names linked in heavyweight boxing annals.
But that’s probably where the link ends. The boxers may have shared the same weight division, but they were never in the same class.
At 41, Lewis has long since recognised the time was right to get out of the ring, while Tyson’s quest to become increasingly sad and bizarre is continuing strongly. Fresh from holding halfhearted training sessions in a Vegas casino, the rusting Iron Mike is now spruiking “Mike Tyson’s World Tour”.
As reported on Sports Illustrated, the show kicks off in Youngstown, Ohio, on Friday night with the 40-year-old fighting Corey “T-Rex” Sanders over a whole four rounds, maybe. The venue has 6,000 seats, which seems kind of optimistic.
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In an effort to whip up the public imagination, Tyson held a press conference where he announced an intention to fight women on the “world tour”, starting with Texas professional Ann Wolfe, who currently has the proud record of 21-1 with 15 KOs.
Tyson swore he was absolutely serious about this, but maybe he should have at least phoned Wolfe’s promoter, Russ Young, who laughed it off, saying: “That’s the first we’ve heard of it. No state would sanction that. She would be outweighed by 60 to 70 pounds. Ann would never entertain the idea.”
Maybe she should. Tyson has been belted by anybody even vaguely resembling a genuine fighter for several years now (his last loss was to that giant of the sport, Kevin McBride) but should be okay on the first stop of his tour. T-Rex is a former sparring partner and presumably is in on the script.
Tyson claims that the world tour is “for fun” and to raise money for charity. Hmm, so no mention of the massive tax bill that’s been weighing Tyson down for years.
Lewis, meanwhile, jetted into Melbourne this week to spruik the Superfighter Heavyweight Boxing series to be held at Telstra Dome in December. The last man to unify the heavyweight division, Lewis would have been offered massive piles of cash to participate in the event, but he has so far resisted the urge.
“I’ve always believed boxers should know when to hang them up,” Lewis told reporters yesterday. Perhaps he should patch a call to his old sparring partner!