It seems that the Mike Tyson Traveling Freak Show has finally clattered to a halt. With his loss to a journeyman fighter recently, Mike has humbly announced he's pulling the plug on what's left of his boxing career. We should be so lucky.
It's amazing that Tyson is still a draw considering the fact that he's lost four of his last five matches, but he is. I'm not sure if people pay to see a boxing match or a carnival sideshow, but they often get both. He's made a meal of Evander Holyfield's ear. He's been convicted of rape. He's beaten up civilians, smashed up a fleet of cars, and generated more ill will for the boxing community than any person in recent memory.
Of all his shenanigans, for me none is more incredible than the fact that he's squandered almost half a billion dollars. Yep. That's what we down here call "righteous bucks." A couple of years ago I saw a breakdown of his spending habits, and they were astounding. Seven thousand dollars a month in cell phone bills. Twelve thousand dollars a month taking care of his pigeons. Yeah, those things that fly overhead and crap on your car. Twenty thousand dollars a month for feeding his tigers. You get the picture.
Back in those days, Mike bragged that it was only money, and he could always earn more. It would seem that statement is going to be put to the test, as he is now forty million dollars in debt. That's a steep debt to pay for a 39-year-old washed-up boxer with a string of losses to his credit. He earned five million for his last fight, but kept only two hundred fifty thousand, and the rest went to his creditors. That is why I think we haven't seen the last of Tyson yet.
He's finding out that spending your life as a thug is poor job training, unless the job you want is whacking people for the local drug lord. He's made a living beating up people (and getting beaten up) and by his own admission that's all he knows how to do. That's why I suspect we haven't seen the last of him. Probably in a year or two, we'll hear of his "comeback". He'll talk about winning the heavyweight championship again. He'll puff and blow and schedule a fight with another tomato-can nobody who will probably knock what's left of his brains out of his ears and that'll finally end his career. Unfortunately, this is all too common in the boxing world.
The sad thing is, Tyson could be much better. He could make appearances around the world teaching young people how to avoid the pitfalls that have plagued his life. He could be a role model. He could actually make a difference if he tried. However, seeing him trying to head-butt his opponent and break his arm on several occasions during this last fight, I suspect Mike has learned nothing yet. It seems he's still a thug, but now he's an old thug who has been humiliated in the ring by a succession of boxing nobodies. He might be in for a few more years of hard knocks from life. He's now dealing with his toughest opponent yet: reality. Good luck, Mike. I suspect you'll need it.