Shafting Tyson

I was watching some tribute to Muhammad Ali on television the other night.  He had just celebrated his 70th birthday so some Las Vegas big wigs decided to honor the former heavyweight champion by basically booking every star imaginable for the occasion.  Lenny Kravitz was there.  LL Cool J was there.  Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones were there, all to show a little love for the greatest.

At one point during the show, Jeremy Schaap stepped up to the microphone and introduced what the ceremony dubbed “the greatest assembly of former champions ever.”   Schaap then went on to present Ray Mancini, Manny Pacquiao, George Chuvalo, Ken Norton, Thomas Hearns, Ernie Shavers, Evander Holyfield, Leon Spinks, Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman.  All took a bow as the thousand dollar a plate crowd paid their respects.

It was an impressive group of boxers to say the least but at one point, while Schaap was announcing each fighter, the cameras panned to Mike Tyson, who sat in the audience, for some reason uninvited to join the rest of the boxers on stage, as if he were being punished, as if he wouldn’t have garnered the loudest applause of them all.  Friggin’ Chuck Wepner was on that stage and Mike Tyson wasn’t?!?

For some reason unbeknownst to me, and if you know, please enlighten me, Tyson was not among this group even though he more than qualified, and please don’t give me that whole “they thought he might have bitten someone’s ear off” line.

It’s not like they had to fly him there for the occasion.  He was already in the crowd.  So what was the reason for not having him on that stage?  No boxer is without sin.

If you ask me, regardless of his eventual derailment, Mike Tyson had arguably the most dominant stretch of any individual athlete ever.  From 1985 to 1989, Tyson basically destroyed every fighter that stood in his path… in seconds flat.

Tyson was more dominant than Tiger during his run of majors.  You might consider comparing Tyson’s run to Michael’s Bulls, Russell’s Celtics or UCLA under Alcindor and Walton but those teams still lost games.  Not only was Tyson untouchable, he was decimating opponents.

In my mind and again, this is only my opinion, over that time, Tyson was as dominant as any athlete that has ever been.  Regardless of his checkered past, Tyson should have been on that stage to stand among his peers and hear the well-deserved adulation of the crowd.

Shame on those who neglected to put him there.

37 thoughts on “Shafting Tyson

  1. Pingback: Shafting Tyson - BallHyped, Other Sports | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Yea, that’s disrespect and crap. He has face tats but so what, he was the greatest. I remember Tyson’s dominance and it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

  3. Sorry. No Gerry Cooney, then no Mike Tyson. A lot of great boxers weren’t there. Where was Oscar De La Hoya? What about Rocky Balboa? Oh shit. Now I’m getting delusional. Never mind.

  4. That’s a shame. Mike made some mistakes, but he was the undisputed champion of the world at one time. I hope somebody knows the reason for the slight because now I’m curious as hell.

  5. Ya never know, Chris…he may have been invited to join in and taken a pass. I expect the unexpected with this guy. If you go to lvrj.com and search on Mike Tyson, the first two hits are interesting.

  6. Pest…

    For guys of our generation, or thereabouts, there was no draw like Tyson.

    His pay-per-view bouts were getting top dollar because everyone wanted to see how quickly he’d knock someone out.

    Just don’t get there late, right?

  7. Aer…

    I didn’t take too much time researching it online, but like I said, he was in the audience, and the camera panned to him, so I have no idea what the hell happened. I was hoping someone else would.

  8. Just checking, Snake.

    In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine any future athlete will ever have the impact on society that he had, ey?

    That is, of course, until Tim Tebow comes out of the closet.

  9. If Tebow comes out, can Pau Gasol be far behind? I know its not very scientific, but every time I see Gasol, my GAYTAR sounds the alarm.

  10. That’s unbelievable. Tyson was a destroyer and I also agree that he should have stood with those men on stage to pay respects to Ali. That goes to show you that many more people remember what you did wrong as oppose to celebrating what you did right.

    Where have you been Chris? Haven’t heard from you in a while? Too excited about March Madness? lol

  11. Top three reasons Tyson wasn’t snubbed…

    1…Tyson wanted an appearance fee for the dog and pony show.

    2… Tyson said, “Ray Boom-Boom Mancini! Are you guys friggin’ kiddin’ me?”

    3… Tyson thought he should be presented alone with Ali.

  12. Snake…

    As this is a bilingual website, I don’t think such slurs are entirely appropriate.

    Don’t make me sit you in a corner with Al.

    And just because Pau has a nice scarf collection doesn’t necessarily tip us off to his sexual proclivities.

    Wait, proclivities is a word, right?

  13. BS…

    First of all, I am DAYS behind on my reading. My “other” job has the best of me. I promise to catch up to any subscriptions I’ve missed… some time this year.

    And look, we all know Tyson is no saint. He’s screwed up plenty. But the kid had a bad upbringing, then was used by basically everyone he thought he trusted.

    Most everyone I know feels bad for the guy but that doesn’t deny the beast he was in the ring.

  14. Han…

    Let me guess.

    You were a Lennox Lewis fan.

    Although I must say, your theory (unless it’s fact) of Tyson wanting an appearance fee, does make perfect sense.

    Got any proof of that?

  15. You speak truth Chris. The most dominating boxer of all time. I wanna know how some of his so called critics would react when in his shoes. From the “Rainman’s Caesar Penthouse” to the shithouse.

    Mr. “I ain’t got nuttin against those Viet Cong” is an insult to all our brave warriors. As a combat era vet, I think he belongs sitting next to Jane Fonda.

  16. Well well well, that is certainly one perspective.

    I think one thing, RB, that people my age (I’m 43) tend to forget with all the Ali glorification we’re subjected to is how controversial a figure he was.

    Which is why many serious sports historians found it laughable that ESPN chose Michael Jordan over Ali as the greatest athlete of the century.

    Jordan certainly redefined the sport and how athletes are marketed, etc., but Ali was as controversial as they come. It was just barely before my time, but I’ve studied it plenty.

    And certainly there are not just a few vets that feel the way you do.

    We use a word like ‘polarizing’ these days to describe a particular athlete that’s in the now, without ever considering how polarizing an athlete like Ali really was.

  17. Chris

    The antics of Tyson “pre” …… Robin Givens with her mom are the things I remember about Iron Mike . Then came the missteps concerning the rape allegation , him entrusting Don King to look after his money ……… a f$$king “no- no” there for sure ! And then him being on the hook with the IRS to the tune of $100 million in unpaid taxes. You’re right for him to be overlooked was a disgrace but it may well have been a decision made by the organizers and not by anyone within Ali’s entourage or familial circle . Take into account also that both are being practicing Muslims (Ali a follower of the Sufi teachings and Tyson a Sunni ) but from different tenets of the religion could very well have something to do with it also . See , it’s not that Muslims detest Judaism or Christianity they also at times detest their own kind as well . What else could it be ?

    tophatal …………….

  18. It’s pretty surprising they wouldn’t invite him up on the stage. Maybe Holyfield has a restraining order on him so he has to stay 100 yards away, and it includes award banquets!

  19. Al…

    I’m not one to blame all of Tyson’s problems on Givens but she sure didn’t help.

    Ultimately, Tyson has to held be responsible for his own actions and where he’s at in his life right now.

    Again, that doesn’t change the fact that he should have been on that stage.

  20. Chap…

    That is certainly another possibility.

    In fact, I think it was actually when Schaap was announcing Holyfield that the cameras panned to Tyson in the crowd.

  21. I don’t know why Tyson wasn’t on that stage, but at the height of his career it felt to me as if he was as feared as Ali was (old enough to have “experienced” both). I think fighters feared Ali chipping away at them and making them look foolish before knocking them cold. I think fighters feared Tyson because they thought they might get killed almost instantly. They feared for their lives because of his fierce, hurry-up, all-or-nothing style. The ear-biting, the tats, the off-the-ring tragedies and criminal behavior aside…if you are willing to talk solely boxing…the man was an all-timer and should have been on the stage. This is not to praise him, just to confirm his imprint on the profession.

  22. Well said, SA.

    It seemed a lot of times, though, that Ali was the underdog in his fights. He was to Foreman, he was to Liston and Norton and Frazier always fought him tough.

    On the flipside, Tyson was a huge favorite against everyone he fought, including Buster Douglas who eventually brought about the end of what we knew to be Iron Mike.

    Han brings up a good point though. I wonder if Mike demanded money to be up there and if the others did it just to do it. If so, I wouldn’t be all that shocked and I’d pretty much take back everything I said in the post.

  23. Chris

    The only thing Givens was simply good for was ….. a “tumble ‘tween the sheets “ …..’nough said ! Ivy League education ( Harvard) or not she threw Tyson under the bus so quickly that it was unbelievable to watch that now infamous interview of the duo (with Barbara ” Wah Wah” Walters ) . ” WTF” was that about ?

    See link provided inset (above) & here ….. . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNJFXMXz_ow

    What ” meds” were being prescribed for him and was his doctor at the time Jacko’s personal physician Dr Conrad Murray ? Your thoughts ?

    tophatal ……………..

  24. Agree Tyson was more often the fav going into his fights. Also agree on Han’s point…if Mike did request a fee for that “seat” he’s more messed up than ever.

  25. Al…

    Givens went to Harvard? Ugh. How many classes to you think she actually went to, just out of curiosity?

    And thanks, but I still have remnants of that Baba Wawa interview in my head. No need to re-watch.

  26. SA…

    It’s amazing how athletes, once on top, making more money they can count, can suddenly be so broke.

    Unless of course they attended the Wesley Snipes School for Money Management.

  27. You’re right, CHump. I think Tyson’s run in the 80′s & early 90′s was possibly the most dominant run by any fighter ever… Even Ali.

    I doubt we’ll ever see a Tyson Tribute in Vegas. Too bad, because he deserves some recognition instead of constant ridicule.

  28. There is a significant reason why Tyson was not invited on stage. Sure. Cranial Hemorrhoids!

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