Just a few months after coming out of boxing retirement and fighting Roy Jones, Jr. to a draw decision, 54-year old Mike Tyson is planning to step back into the ring again. This time Tyson will square off against a familiar foe, 55-year old Lennox Lewis (Fox News). Lewis defeated Tyson back in a 2002 title bout by knocking him out in the eighth round.
‘Iron Mike’ was scheduled to fight his old nemesis Evander Holyfield in late May, but the deal fell through because of a contract terms dispute. Instead of Tyson-Holyfield Part III, boxing fans will have to settle for a rematch against Lewis. Both Tyson and Lewis are former world heavyweight champions and both are known for drawing huge pay-per-view ratings.
Why do boxing fans pay to watch an exhibition match?
Love him or hate him, Mike Tyson is always entertaining to watch. Packed crowds never know if Tyson will knock his opponent out in a matter of seconds with a thunderous uppercut punch, or if he will go full on crazy mode and bite off an ear (like Holyfield experienced in 1997). Win, lose, draw, or bite, Tyson always makes sure that boxing fans get their money’s worth.
Also, with the emergence of the UFC, boxing has really lost a lot of its luster. The sport is literally hanging by a thread because of a lack of true superstars. As long as the heavyweight division remains watered down, these Tyson exhibition matches will continue to get high ratings.
Breakdown of Mike Tyson’s Boxing Career
- Compiled an overall record of 50 wins, six losses, and two no contests
- Defeated Trevor Berbick to win the WBC Heavyweight Title in 1986 at the age of 20 which made Tyson the youngest ever heavyweight champion
- Captured the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles to be named the Undisputed heavyweight champ in 1987
- Successfully defended all heavyweight titles until 1990 when Buster Douglas knocked him out as a huge underdog
- Won back both the WBC and WBA heavyweight titles in 1996 but lost to Evander Holyfield later that same year
- In a rematch against Holyfield in 1997, Tyson famously bit off Holyfield’s ear and was disqualified in the third round
- Retired in 2005 after losing to Kevin McBride
- Elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June of 2011
Who has the edge if Tyson and Lewis fight in September?
It is difficult to say which fighter would have the edge if they do indeed square off in September. Though it was nearly 20 years ago, Lewis dominated Tyson in that match with his insane 84” reach that neutralized Tyson’s inside punching power. We all saw in November that Tyson is in pretty decent shape and still has lightning quick hands.
Nobody knows how fit Lewis is these days but that long jab of his will still give Tyson plenty of trouble. That being said, if Tyson can get inside and land one big punch, Lewis may wish he would have stayed retired. The match will score high in entertainment value even though both men are well past their fighting prime.