|Mike Tyson Returns . . . Again|
Love him or hate him, Mike Tyson remains the biggest name in boxing. No other fighter creates the media and fan frenzy that the former "baddest man on the planet" continues to generate by simply venturing out in public. Roy Jones, Oscar De La Hoya and Lennox Lewis are all deservedly far above Tyson on any fight fans current pound-for-pound list, but that doesnt change the fact that only Tyson continues to make every one of his fights an "event."
At this stage in his career, Tyson has allowed his boxing skills to erode to the point that he scarcely resembles the awesome force he was in his all-too-brief prime. In fact, Tyson's record during the entire decade of the '90s was a very unimpressive 9-3-1. Yet, while every one of his recent fights has been controversial, if not downright bizarre, one simple fact remains which distinguishes him from nearly every other top fighter in the world today -- Mike Tyson is never boring.
As he prepares to take on Julius Francis in London this Saturday night, Tyson is making headlines and demonstrating that he remains the one active fighter whose popularity, or perhaps notoriety, truly transcends the sport of boxing. After almost being denied entry into the country because of his criminal record, Tyson has been mobbed everywhere he goes. No one knows if Tyson is actually doing any pre-fight training in England, but all reports indicate hes definitely spending plenty of money -- buying a bracelet and a watch for $1.6 million and picking up a wooden statue of himself for a mere $30,000.
Does Francis - a 16-1 underdog - have any chance of winning this fight? Only by disqualification if Tyson once again loses his head in the ring -- which, regrettably, at this point must be considered an almost alarmingly realistic possibility.
If Francis presented any real threat, Tysons handlers would never let him set foot in the ring with their meal-ticket. Already there are rumors that Tyson might get a shot at undisputed heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis before the end of the year, with each fighter receiving an astronomical $41 million! If that isnt enough to tell you that Francis got this shot because hes considered a "safe" opponent, then how about the fact that he's lost seven of his 28 professional bouts, with four of those losses coming by way of knockout. Also, what kind of confidence is Francis demonstrating by selling advertising space on the soles of his shoes to a British newspaper? The paper figures that once Tyson lays Francis out on the canvas, their ad will be visible to a worldwide audience.
Prediction: Tyson by second round knockout