With the responses we received from “The 11 Most Painfully-Awesome Mike Tyson ‘Punch-outs,’” we pondered how things might have worked out differently if Iron Mike had altered some of his choices. Don’t get me wrong, in the realm of making wrong choices throughout your entire lifetime, Iron Mike is the king. From wishing to stomp on a child’s testicles to misusing “impetuous” a myriad of times, Mike Tyson made a career out of wrong choices. These are some of the strategically place poor choices that helped define Iron Mike as one of the saddest cases in sports history.
1. Firing Teddy Atlas
Teddy Atlas trained as an amateur boxer briefly with trainer Cus D’Amato, but he was forced to retire after suffering a back injury. Atlas was made a trainer by D’Amato, and he was put in charge of training D’Amato’s protege Mike Tyson. Atlas felt D’Amato ought to discipline the young Tyson for his clashes with police. He finally took matters into his his own hands after Tyson had groped Atlas’s 11 year old niece. Atlas angrily confronted Tyson and reportedly held a gun to his head. I still totally believe that had D’Amato backed Atlas, Tyson may not have suffered his later troubles.
If they were a dysfunctional family, D’Amato was the Dad, Teddy was the big brother, and Mike was the little brother. A day before his rematch with Evander Holyfield, Atlas correctly predicted that “He’s [Tyson] going to get himself disqualified. He’ll bite Holyfield. He’ll butt him. He’ll hit him low. He’ll do something if he don’t get him early with a lucky shot. I know this guy. He’s got this all set up in his mind. That’s the only way he can face it. That’s what this is all about.“ He was proven right when Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ears. Once Cus died, Teddy Atlas was the last one who cared enough about Mike to tell him when he out of line. Everyone else kissed his ass and let him be as superfly as he wanted.
2. Evander Earbite
Even people who don’t know boxing, know about this.
As the third round was about to begin, Tyson came out of his corner without his mouthpiece. The referee ordered Tyson back to his corner to insert it. Tyson began the third round with a furious attack but was unable to hurt Holyfield, and after the first 30 seconds of the round Holyfield continued his battering of Tyson. Shortly before the two-minute mark, Tyson landed a hard left hook and right cross to Holyfield’s head but did not seem to hurt Holyfield. With forty seconds remaining in the round Holyfield got Tyson in a clinch, and Tyson bit Holyfield on his right ear, chewing off a one-inch piece of cartilage from the top of the ear. Holyfield pushed Tyson away at which Lane called for a time-out. Holyfield turned to walk to his corner, and Tyson ran up to Holyfield and shoved him from behind. Lane sent Tyson to a neutral corner as Holyfield had Lane look at his bitten ear. Tyson asserted that the injury to Holyfield’s ear was the result of a punch. “Bullshit,” retorted Lane. The best part was that it took a SECOND ear bite to get him disqualified!
It was a matter of fear. Fear of losing and fear of admitting that someone else had legitimately beat him…TWICE. In hindsight, it was only the 4th round. Though Holyfield’s conditioning is legendary, there is always a chance Mike could have caught him with the right shot. After this fight, insuring Iron Mike was almost impossible. Just getting him a license in a major market state was physically impossible.
If you press rewind, Mike Tyson loses to a probably TKO in the 6th or 7th round. He hugs Evander, says “Good job Champ.”
3. Marring Robin Givens
I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger…but she was a gold digger.
Having an amazing film and TV career including such timeless classics as Head of the Class and Boomerang, Robin found her own personal pension plan when she married Iron Mike. Now, I do not claim to be a mindreader, but it just seemed that she had the plan down pretty tight from day 1.
They met, had sex, Givens got “pregnant,” had a miraculous miscarriage weeks after they got married, and then got a spot on 20/20 with Barbara Walters. DONE. Sorry Mike, game over. Robin put on a performance the likes that award shows are made of. She talked like she was little Suzie Homemaker. They were married for 1 year and 7 days, from walking down the aisle to leaving the court after the divorce decree.
I just can’t help but thinking some of his bitterness towards women would have been somewhat lessened, had Robin Givens not f*cked with him from day 1 of their magical romance. I don’t know…I think if a chick screwed with me like that, I would be ruined forever to the point that I just might be completely unpredictable around future women.
4. Raping Desiree Washington
…So completely unpredictable in fact, that Mike Tyson was convicted of raping Desiree Washington. Let me be clear, I am not saying it is all Robin’s fault. I am merely saying that through my robust knowledge base as a psych minor, it probably didn’t help. Rape is not cool in any way, shape or form to even joke about but, in the daisy chain of events, had Iron Mike NOT been convicted of rape he probably would have not have gone to prison. From what I see on cable television, prison can mess with you. It makes you do unspeakable, ridiculous things. Like spooning with other dudes, finding Jesus or finding Allah. (The latter is a little bit of a career killer nowadays.)
5. Converting to Islam
It worked for Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdu-Jabbar and even Cat Stevens. Surely Malik Abdul Aziz would work for Mike Tyson! I mean, besides killing the infidels and promoting womens’ rights, Islam promotes discipline and self control. Only through discipline can someone achieve the focus and determination needed to live your life according to God’s laws…right?
I mean, your body is your temple. To defile your body is the same as defiling God…right?
6. Face Tattoo
Wow…ok…so I guess the Islam-thing didn’t really work out.
But seriously, when would that seem like like a good idea. I got a face tattoo on my Fable character. After a couple days, I was like…WOW, that was a stupid decision. Mike Tyson scared main stream America enough before the tattoo, how in the hell can you physically expect them to change their minds now. With this face tattoo, Iron Mike doomed himself to being a fighter for like. There will be no ring-side commentary in the future with a giant tattoo taking up half of his face.