Tyson Quits Fight, Ends Career

By Francis Walker
Updated: June 13, 2005

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson

NEW YORK — Mike Tyson’s career is finally over. The freak show that was, is no longer an act. Tyson was finished as a fighter since he was banned as a professional boxer since 1997 after he bit Evander Holyfield’s ears. The runaway train has crashed many times throughout the years has been derailed and there is no way its cars or even its tracks can be repaired. The damage is done.

Tyson (50-6-2, 44 KOs) quit on his stool after the sixth-round in his bout against a “C-rated,” fringe contender in Kevin McBride (33-4-1, 27 KOs) on Saturday at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. The bout that was available for $44.95 on pay per view would be Tyson’s last.

“I do not have the guts to be in this sport anymore,” Tyson said. “I don’t want to disrespect the sport that I love. My heart is not into this anymore. I’m sorry for the fans who paid for this. I wish I could have done better. I want to move on with my life. It’s time to move on with my life and be a father, take care of my children.”

Tyson struggled from the opening bell, missing wide with his punches. Tyson did everything he could include fighting off ring rust. McBride was able to stand up to Tyson, trap him against the ropes and pummel him against the ropes. In the fifth round, Tyson, once famously known for his bobbing and weaving style, raw power-punching style, was only a shell of his former self.

Tyson was reduced to a frustrated, straight-up, one-punch fighter who was ineffective. Tyson was docked two points by referee Joe Cortez for cutting McBride with an intentional headbutt. Although Tyson and McBride exchanged punches in the sixth, it was clear that the end was near for Tyson. He struggled to return to his corner after he was pushed onto the canvas and he the quit on his stool between rounds.

“This win was for the pride of Ireland,” McBride said. “I proved everyone wrong tonight.”

Tyson in Retrospect

Tyson was once the “Baddest Man on the Planet.” He became the youngest fighter to win the heavyweight championship at the age of 20 when he knocked out WBC champion, Trevor Berbick (KO 2) in 1986. Tyson went on to become the first Undisputed world heavyweight champion the following year with victories against WBA champ, Bonecrusher Smith (W 12) and IBF champ, Tony Tucker (W 12).

Tyson was the hottest-thing since sliced bread. His confidence, determination, and refusal to lose and to destroy his opponents with bobbing-weaving, hand speed and raw power easily made him the most recognizable fighter since Muhammad Ali. Tyson had a reputation of knocking out his opponents in seconds. His most famous first-round knockout occurred on June 27, 1998 when he knocked Michael Spinks in less than two minutes. .

Tyson ended his career with 22 first round KOs.

Tyson was rich, famous, and on pace to retiring before he turned thirty. There was no one who could beat him in his prime. Unfortunately, like many African-American men in this country, Tyson as rich and famous as he became, found ways to destroy himself. Although Tyson had mansions, money, cars, women, and could get whatever he wanted without paying for it, he was never truly happy with himself. At least Tyson has survived to discuss his experiences on what its like to come from a poor inner-city community without a family or an education to becoming a mysterious wealthy celebrity who later became miserable, broke, and another sad story.

Since losing the world heavyweight title to Buster Douglas in one of the biggest upsets in world heavyweight title history in February 1990, Tyson’s career has steadily declined during the last 15 years. He lost 3½ to 4 years of his life on a rape conviction in 1991. Even though he returned in 1995 and became larger than life making more than $25 million to $30 million per fight while regaining the WBC and WBA heavyweight titles under boxing promoter Don King in 1996, Tyson’s career took a nose-dive the following year when he suffered two consecutive losses to Holyfield (TKO 10, 1996) and (DQ 1997).

Tyson was banned from fighting in the United States for over one year. Since 1998, Tyson has struggled to attain boxing licenses to fight in boxing’s major markets including Nevada, New York, and New Jersey. But Tyson always attracted huge crowds wherever and whenever he went, as he secured comeback fights in England and Denmark.

Tyson received one last opportunity to revive his career in June 2002 when he challenged Lennox Lewis for the WBC/IBF heavyweight titles. Tyson came out of his corner aggressively looking for the quick KO. Instead, Lewis hit Tyson with a booming right-uppercut on his chest and Tyson simply backed off. Lewis would pick his shots jabbing and hurting a bloodied Tyson with vicious punches before knocking him out in round 8.

The last two years of Tyson’s career was a mere joke and pay-per-view distributors and the TV networks cashed-in. “Tyson Returns, Tyson Is Back.”

In July 2004, Tyson came out like a whirlwind and nearly knocked out Danny Williams, another fringe contender, in the first round. Williams, like Douglas, Holyfield, Lewis, and now McBride, weathered the early storm to floor Tyson. Williams pummeled Tyson into submission in only the third round.

Inactivity has hurt Tyson’s career. The last time Tyson fought a 12-round fight was 14 years ago when he defeated Donovan “Razor” Ruddock in June 1991. In the last three years, Tyson has only has three fights and fought only 12 rounds overall. Tyson is 39 years old. He has repeatedly said that he does not like to train. Tyson continued to fight because he owes millions of dollars to the IRS, he’s broke, and needed the money.

Don’t Blame King

The height of Tyson’s fame, celebrity, and wealth came at the hands of boxing promoter Don King. Despite making record purses of $25 to $30 million per fight beginning in 1995, many blame King for Tyson’s financial and personal troubles. King was Tyson’s promoter. King did his job, as Tyson continued to put bodies on the canvas. King is also a business man who invested his own money. Tyson did not invest his money because; he simply did not invest but rather spent lavishly.

Since Tyson and King split after consecutive losses to Holyfield, Tyson lost over $90 million in income because he was banded from biting Holyfield’s ears. King promoted Holyfield because he had options on Holyfield and any other fighter that defeat Tyson. King helped Holyfield unify two-thirds of the heavyweight championship while rebuilding his strained relationship with HBO. Since 1999, King, Holyfield, and the rest of King’s stable that included Hasim Rahman, Lamon Brewster, John Ruiz, Chris Byrd, and Andrew Golota have made lots of money under King’s banner while Tyson’s career bas been in limbo.

The Undercard

Prior to Tyson’s meltdown against McBride, the daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali, Laila Ali (21-0, 18 KOs) remained undefeated by stopping Erin Toughill in the third round. Ali claimed the WBC women’s super middleweight title.

Former WBA junior middleweight champion, Sharmba Mitchell won a fifth-round technical decision in his welterweight bout against up and coming Chris Smith following an accidental clash of heads. Mitchell was ahead on the three judges scorecards 50-45 and 48-47 (twice) at the time of the stoppage.