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  Fantasy Booking Mike Tysonís
Possible Return Opponent


By Robert Jones
Art: Bret "The Threat" Newton - twitch.tv/ThreatDesigns

 

Let me be honest right from the start, I hope Mike Tysonís comeback is exactly what he says it will be - exhibitions for charity. However, combine the kid in me that grew up with the mystique of a young Tyson with the idle mind that comes along with quarantine, and I couldnít help but wonder who his possible opponents would be if he chooses to make an actual comeback in the paid ranks.

The last time we saw Mike Tyson in a boxing ring, he was 38-years-old, refusing to come out for the 7th round against Kevin McBride. Tysonís strategy of trying to bite, and break multiple parts of Mcbride, didnít deter the large Irish lad, as he stayed the course and battered the bully. Surprisingly, Tyson was ahead on two scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Even at this advanced stage of his career, there was still reason to believe that shady things were going on behind the scenes to keep Tysonís career afloat. Luckily, that was the end of Tyson, as he faded ďinto bolivian.Ē Until now.

Tyson had appeared to be settling into middle age, (read: old age) just fine. His one man show was wildly popular, as is his podcast, where he smokes up with well known celebrities. Heís a smart man. Every boxing fan knows he is a boxing historian, but if you spend anytime listening to him on his show, you know he has a pretty good knowledge of all history, in general.

The following is fantasy. It reminds me of being an eight year old boy - notebook in hand - setting up the nightís card for my wrestling figure federation. These are the opponents that I think could best suit a Mike Tyson comeback, should he choose to go back to the pro ranks. Hell, WBC said they would rank him since heís a former champion, so maybe this isnít as far-fetched as I think.

Before I start with my fantasy opponents, Iíll address the Evander Holyfield situation. Itís my hope that if they fight it is truly an exhibition match. While Holyfield has jumped at a chance to fight Tyson for a third time, and in a lot of ways this makes the most sense with the similarity in age (Holyfield is 57), not to mention their backstory, this is one I hope stays truly an exhibition should it happen. While Holyfield looks incredible for his age, there is concern that his speech has become more slurred lately. If he is cleared to fight for real, then far be it from me to tell him what to do, but I really donít want to see him taking live punches in a real fight. Even if he does have Tysonís number.

In no particular order, here are the possible opponents I think Tyson could fight, if he chooses to lace them up for real.

Kevin Mcbride


Iíll be honest, I have no idea what kind of shape McBride is in. Recent online searches show he still takes interviews regarding the night he shocked the boxing world, but as far as physical condition I really donít know. However, I think he would be willing to give us Tyson-Mcbride 2, if it meant he got a fairly big pot of gold for it. The other issue? Heís 47. In the last eight fights of his career - after defeating Tyson - he lost six of them. His knockout loss to Mariusz Wach in July of 2011 was the last we saw of Mcbride in the ring, but a second match with the man he sent into retirement for good (until now) would be intriguing.

Danny Williams


Along the same lines as a Mcbride fight, there is Williams, who beat Tyson in Tysonís second to last professional fight (so far). Williams parlayed his victory over Tyson into a world title shot against Vitali Klitschko, but lost that by getting stopped in eight. Since then he has largely been seen first as a gatekeeper and now as an opponent, not so long ago losing nine in a row. At 54-28, with 41 KOs his power will give Tyson a test. However, of those 28 losses, 18 of them have come as the result of a knockout. Tyson getting a knockout victory against an opponent who previously beat him would certainly draw the attention of the casual boxing fan. He last fought in November 2019, beating an opponent with zero wins. A potential, and probably shopworn Tyson would still be a huge step up, but then again, so would the money.

This is another fight that could write itself given their backstory. Another question regarding a possible comeback is how his body will hold up. If his body was already forsaking him against Williams - where he suffered a knee injury in the first round - how will his body hold up at 53 years old. Itís no secret that on top of a long career, Tyson hasnít exactly taken care of his body since his fighting days. I have no doubt Tyson can come to the ring looking the part, as evidenced by the videos coming out seemingly daily, with a now chiseled physique, but there is no telling how his joints and ligaments would withhold the activity of a proper training camp and a real fight with anyone.

Dominick Guinn


Guinn is 45 years old, but has fought as recently as November of last year. He called his victory over Terrell Jamal Woods his retirement fight, as it was fought in front of his hometown fans of Houston, but I imagine a Tyson fight would be intriguing. Guinnís moment in the sun came years ago in 2003, when he was knocking Michael Grantís head off on the undercard of Gatti-Ward III in Atlantic City, but he would hardly be a walk in the park for a 53 year old Tyson. Guinn has a career record of 38-13-1 (26 KOís). The 13 of that record is what is interesting to me because of those 13 losses, he has never been down, or even really hurt. The old gameplan on Tyson was that if you can last a few rounds with him you can probably take him out early once he loses his explosiveness. I know Tyson is living a better life now, but how long can that explosiveness of yesteryear possibly last at 53? If Tyson really wants to fight, going ten rounds with a guy he probably wonít be able to knockout would be a huge test out of the gate.

When I recently asked him if he would want to be a possible opponent for a Tyson return he said, ďLOL. Nope. I was in training camp with them for a few years, and he gave me and Malik Scott all the game in the world! Iím a true fan and friend. Evander Holyfield as well! Iím very grateful to them.Ē

Amir Mansour


Mansour, 23-4-1 18 KOís, lost most of his once promising career because he was locked up during what would have been his prime. Regardless of his past, Mansour is one of the more likable boxers in the game. Even now at his advanced age of 47, he gave it his all, giving top heavyweights a run for their money.

Mansour announced his retirement after losing to rising contender Efe Ajaba, when his corner elected to stop the fight before the third round. Like Tyson, Mansour will answer the bell with everything he has, and Tyson may rethink this fake comeback Iíve planned for him as soon as he sees Mansour trying to take his head off. The fight wouldnít last long, but the answer to if Tyson should be making a comeback at his age would be answered quickly and definitively.

Shannon Briggs

Briggs' name has been put among the top opponents for Tysonís exhibition return. If they decide to make this reality, the promotion will be an easy one to sell. They were both raised in the Brownsville section of New York. Apart from the shared location of birth, they both have a unique way with words. Tyson and Briggs are two of the most quoted boxers ever. Briggs hasnít fought since 2016, but he says it isnít for a lack of trying, as he has had multiple fights fall through (Fres Oquendo, David Haye, Tyson Fury, reportedly among them). He seems to have taken to training lately, but the 48 year old Briggs would jump at a chance to make real money with Tyson based on how much he is promoting the exhibition match that might not even be his yet.

Briggs (60-6-1 53 KOs) has 37 career first round knockouts. Heíd be gunning for number 38 against Tyson. Feeling that kind of power his first fight back from a 15 year hiatus might send Tyson back into retirement before round one is over, whether by his choice, or by Briggsí fists. To be fair, none of Briggsí 37 first round victims was ever a big name, but the question would be raised if Tyson would join that list as the most noticeable name, albeit, at 53 years old.

Finding a Fight With Someone in The Top 15 of The WBC


As mentioned, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman has said he would rank Tyson if he made a professional comeback. Of course Sulaiman, like everyone who has called Tyson out, sees dollar signs. Itís still interesting to see who Tyson could possibly be given a chance to beat in the current top 15 of the WBC, which is, for some archaic rule, where Tyson was ranked, due to him being a former champion, even though he last held the WBC title in 1996.

Tyson Fury is the top dog in the division, holding the belt. Would Tyson Fury fight his namesake? I donít know, but I donít think that would be a good idea for the elder Tyson for all the obvious reasons in the world. Size advantage of upwards of a foot, and being outweighed by 50 plus pounds.

Dillian Whyte, the interim champ, would also not be a good idea. Whyte is a good heavyweight, only losing to Anthony Joshua.

If - and this is a HUGE if - I had to pick one person in the top 15, I think I would pick Charles Martin. On paper, Martin seems like a tough fight for Tyson. (Honestly, everyone could be a tough fight for Tyson at this point.) Martin has 25 knockouts in his 28 wins, and has only lost to Joshua and Adam Kownacki. The reason Martin, rated 13 by the WBC, comes to mind is because of his performance, or lack of performance, against Joshua, back in 2016. He froze completely. Maybe he does the same against Tyson, a fight all eyes will be on. Tyson would be (should be) an underdog against Martin, and probably against nearly on this list, but bettorsí money would come fast and furious on Tyson, just for nostalgic reasons alone. Iíd personally avoid the betting windows for this one, and just try to enjoy the circus...I mean, show.

The truth is, I hope his fights stay exhibitions to raise money for the homeless and the addicted, like he has said. But the nostalgia in me roars strong when I think about a young Tyson, and the one-in-a-billion chance that he could upend George Foreman, who is all for a Tyson comeback, and become the oldest heavyweight champion in history. It wonít happen. But, itís okay to dream.



 

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