I just finished watching the new Mike Tyson documentary “Tyson.” The documentary received limited release earlier this year in movie theaters. I have been hearing a lot about this movie for months. As someone who probably watched every Mike Tyson fight growing up, I was excited to hear about this movie. Needless to say, the movie came out like the Tyson of old and continued with a barrage of knockouts.
[adinserter block=”1″]As stated above, I remember watching all of Tyson’s fight as a kid. It seemed at the time, that between ESPN and HBO, Tyson was fighting every three months. I got the same feeling watching Mike Tyson enter a ring that I felt whenever I watched Hulk Hogan as a kid. Unlike the Hulkster, none of his fights ever disappointed. I had no idea that Tyson the man would be even more interesting to watch than his fights when I’d get older.
What I remember most about Tyson as a fighter other than his short bouts, was the fear and intimidation. Nobody in either boxing or mixed martial-arts has come close to intimidating his opponents the way Tyson did. It really hit me when he fought Michael Spinks. I expected a hell of a fight considering Spinks was a dominant champion. I’ll never forget the look on Spinks’ face during pre-fight instructions. Here was another world champion looking like he was going to crap in his pants in front of the world. The fight was over before it began.
One thing I forgot about Tyson was his speed. Everyone is well aware of his punching power. Nobody takes anything away from him in that department. Yet, his immortal speed is often overlooked as arguably his best strength as a fighter. As a heavyweight, his speed was just absolutely insane. At his peak, Tyson fought like a flyweight. I don’t think there will ever be another heavyweight that can match the speed of Iron Mike.
I will also never forget the night that Mike lost the title in Tokyo, Japan. I was with friends at a party and the fight was an afterthought. Tyson’s fights were so one-sided that by the time I got older it was just as fun to watch them on replay as it was to watch live. I remember someone casually mentioning (could have been me) that Tyson was fighting. We turned it on and were shocked seeing the knockout. We all went nuts like we all had money on Douglas. It was a moment in sports that could only be appreciated by those that grew up watching Mike fight in his prime.
Tyson’s fall from grace following the fight is well documented. I have probably watched and read more on Mike than any other fighter, yet I learn something new every time. This was probably the best of the bunch of documentaries. What I enjoyed more than anything was hearing Mike recount exactly what was going through his head during the fights. Hearing Mike tell his side of the story, you can almost empathize with him for the famous ear-biting fight with Holyfield. Hearing Mike recount what was going through his head was probably one of the best moments of the film.
I don’t know if the film will change anyone’s mind on Mike. I’ll admit that I am a little biased since I grew up watching Mike and maybe cut him a little more slack on things. I have to say the biggest outrage will probably come from his comments about the rape conviction. “I may have taken advantage of women before, but I didn’t this time.” It is going to be hard to evoke any kind of sympathy for Mike after hearing a statement from him like that one.
[adinserter block=”2″]As I watched the movie I wondered “what if?” What if Mike hadn’t gone to jail? Would he have rebounded, beaten Holyfield, and went back to dominating the sport? He definitely had the skills to do so. However, his mind seemed so out of whack at the time that I don’t know if he would have been in the right place to do what he needed to do to get back to form. I will say this, that whether you like him or not you cannot dispute the fact that he is one if not the greatest heavyweight of all-time. This is an argument you can debate, but is worthy of debate nonetheless.
Whether you like Mike Tyson, hate him, or never watched him box, I would highly recommend the movie. The movie moves fast and covers his entire life. Watching back, you remember just how great of a fighter he was. For me, that is the way I’d like to remember Mike Tyson. For the world, Mike Tyson the man is just too unforgiveable to forgive.
Order Ringside – The Best of Mike Tyson on DVD by clicking here.
Order ESPN Inside Access: Tyson by clicking here.