Hold Up. Is Mike Tyson Really Staging a Comeback?

Illustration for article titled Hold Up. Is Mike Tyson Really Staging a Comeback?
Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

Mike Tyson is thriving.

His podcast, Hotboxin With Mike Tyson, is killing, he’s a best-selling author with a one-man broadway show to his credit and he’s somehow successfully rehabilitated his public image from a feral animal to an innocuous sage in an era where convicted rapists are supposed to be shunned as pariahs.

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Yet despite this charmed life, the 53-year-old pugilist is miserable.

“I know the art of fighting. I know the art of war,” he told fellow boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard during a recent episode of Hotboxin. “That’s why they feared me when I was in the ring. I was an annihilator. That’s all I was born for.”

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As he broke down in tears, he continued, “Now those days are gone. It’s empty. I’m nothing. [...] That’s the reason why I’m crying, ‘cause I’m not that person no more. And I miss him.”

It was a disturbing glimpse into the mind of a lethal weapon, nearly 15 years removed from his last brawl in the ring. But no longer satisfied with reminiscing on the past, or allowing archival footage from yesteryear to speak on his behalf, Iron Mike is apparently staging a comeback.

On Monday, the former heavyweight champ posted a video of him training on Instagram—while punching way harder and way faster than people his age should be legally allowed—with a simple message: “I’m back.”

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He has yet to provide any further details, but as someone who’s spent years of his life watching one too many Roy Jones Juniors not know when to hang it up, I’m reluctant to see Iron Mike return to the ring. In the twilight of his career, he already embarrassed himself against the likes of Danny Williams and Kevin McBride, and does anyone really want to see the one-time Baddest Man on the Planet survive a global pandemic just to get his ass whooped by Father Time?

An even older Evander Holyfield announced his intention to return to the ring last week for some exhibition bouts, despite the fact he last fought in 2011 and may or may not even have an ear lobe anymore, and Mike seems hell-bent on following suit.

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“I’ve been working out, I’ve been trying to get in the ring, I think I’m going to box some exhibitions and get in shape,” he told T.I. recently on Hotboxin. “I want to go to the gym and get in shape to be able to box three or four-round exhibitions for some charities and stuff.”

He then broke down his training regimen.

“I do two hours on cardio, I do the bike and the treadmill for an hour, then I do some light weights, 300, 250 reps,” he said. “Then I start my day with the boxing thing, I go in there and hit the mitts, 30 minutes, 25 minutes, start getting in better condition.”

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I guess at this point all we can do is wait and see what happens, but while Will Smith once famously stated “I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson,” it’s entirely possible that 31 years later he might finally be able to follow through on that threat.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.

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DISCUSSION

“I guess at this point all we can do is wait and see what happens, but while Will Smith once famously stated “I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson,” it’s entirely possible that 31 years later he might finally be able to follow through on that threat.”

Will Smith would get absolutely destroyed by Mike Tyson. It’s one thing to play the Greatest in a movie, but a whole different animal to step into the ring with a former Heavyweight champ. Plus, did you SEE how hard this man is still punching??? And how’s he still moving around that quickly? Sure Tyson would be outmatched by a pro these days, but not the Fresh Prince.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d still pay to see that fight.