By SCOTT ADAMSON
Scripps Howard News Service
June 17, 2005
Don't get me wrong - Tyson should've retired a long time ago. But he hasn't and he won't. I'm guessing there will be several more bouts prior to the completion of his devolution from one of the greatest heavyweights ever to a sick joke.
Nineteen years after becoming the youngest heavyweight champ in history, Tyson lost to a fighter who couldn't be more of a tomato can if he had a "Heinz" logo on his trunks. In case you missed it, Kevin McBride earned a sixth-round TKO over Tyson late Saturday night. Basically, Tyson just quit.
He got tired of being shoved around by his opponent and simply told the ref he was through.
But like all Tyson fights in the last several years, this one was a freak show - before, during and after.
While he didn't bite McBride's ear off, here's what he did do:
In the sixth round he grabbed McBride's arm and tried to break it. Tyson then hit him with a low blow and - in his crowning achievement of the evening - he intentionally rammed his head against McBride, drawing blood and a two-point penalty from referee Joe Cortez.
"I was desperate," Tyson told Associated Press. "I wanted to win."
By the end of the round, Tyson just sat there.
"I didn't want to get up. I was tired," Tyson said.
With that, Tyson headed to the post-fight press conference where he broke into a rambling dialogue about possibly doing missionary work in Africa. Then he backed off on that because he's afraid he might "get killed."
To his credit, Tyson said he wants no sympathy.
"Most of my fans are too sensitive when it comes to me. I'm a cold and a cruel and a hard person. I've been around the worst," he told AP. "You can't take away what's happened to me. I've been abused any way anyone can be abused. I'm not used to sensitivity any more. Don't cry. I don't know how to handle people crying anymore. I've lost my sensitivity."
I'll never shed a tear for Tyson. A convicted rapist and an abusive thug, Tyson deserves to be relegated to has-been status.
But he remains marketable. Not because anyone expects him to somehow display the raw, destructive power he once possessed, but because he is now a sideshow.
People say they go to state fairs to eat the corn dogs and ride the rides, but most of them are still drawn into the tent to stare at the world's smallest woman or the half-man, half-goldfish.
Such is the case with Tyson.
In the coming days, weeks or months, some promoter will offer Tyson a fight. Instead of Madison Square Garden, it might be at some American Legion hall in Kansas, but it'll happen.
And people will pay to see it.
We will pay to see boxing's own version of a circus geek, because we're a society that loves seeing train wrecks more than we love riding trains.
Give us a chance to stare at Miss America or a chance to stare at the Human Goat Boy, and the Human Goat Boy wins almost every time.
Such is the case with Tyson who, believe me, will fight again.
General Douglas McArthur once said, "Old soldiers never die - they just fade away."
Old boxers never die, either. They either become parodies of themselves or, in the case of Tyson, become human oddities.
in Alabama at www.postherald.com