He remains a media phenomenon, even now two whole decades removed from the last of his boxing peak and with a whole generation of boxing fans for whom he was never a consensus world-champion now fully grown. The time when the word Tyson was part of the language of the playground, of bars, of water-coolers (not that they were present in Blighty til after he lost) alongside Rocky Balboa is a distant memory. Tyson’s name became short-hand for power, speed, aggression, brutality and pain. Today’s vague, shallow and generally transparent suggestion that the 43 year-old may yet return to the ring only serves to prove the fascination with Iron Mike has proven timeless.
Even Kevin Mitchell of the Guardian deemed the comments attributed to Tyson and former promoter Don King over the weekend to be sufficiently credible to float the story. As with lesser lights at some of boxing’s plethora of fan-driven sites – he will know the residual interest in Mike Tyson’s story make the otherwise flimsy notion of his possible return newsworthy and that the mention of his name in the title will generate a flood of clicks to his corner of the interweb.
Only the annual circulation of a Prince Naseem Hamed comeback in Dubai/China or Matalan ever comes close to matching the fixation fight fans have with a fighter who spent 4 years dominating heavyweight boxing and 15 further years pretending he could do it again. The genial, overweight 43 year old who is currently on a speaking tour remains as far from fighting again in any format as he did when slumped on the canvas, bleeding, tired and dejected against Danny Williams in 2004.
If it encourages one or two new fans to click on a You Tube video or two, then it cannot do any harm. To read Kevin Mitchell’s version of events click here.