What’s rusty Iron Mike seeking to prove in the fight?

The boxing world is abuzz with many questions. What is the point? What is Mike Tyson – this washed-up pugilist – trying to prove?

Whatever it is he seeks to prove, the staggering $20-million (R367-million) purse cannot be ruled out as a driving force.

Yet, even at 58, the former heavyweight champion of the world – controversy aside – is adored by many.


Tyson is a magnet. This despite a life marred by “unprovoked rage of violence and destruction”, so claimed his ex-wife, Robin Givens, who divorced from him in the 1980s.

More than 30 years ago, Tyson served a three-year jail term for the rape of beauty queen Desiree Washington. But even at an advanced age, he continues to be both an enigma and a boxing attraction to millions.

All is forgiven for his social transgressions and violent streak – and this has been achieved through a contrite heart and amendment of life for the better – a process that has taken a long time to unfurl, with healing and confession coming late in his life.

Ivan Solotaroff, the esteemed US journalist, writes about Tyson: “Mike Tyson has been humbled by life.

The former boxing champ – known for his brutality in the ring and his destructive behaviour away from it – feels so remorseful for the way he behaved over the years, that he could say, ‘I am a pig’.”

Yet again, we can never forget what a devastating fighter Tyson was, defeating Trevor Berbick in 1986 at 20 to become the youngest world heavyweight boxing champion.


But several factors may go against Tyson in his upcoming clash against Jake Paul.

His age, compounded by the fact that he is a recovering alcoholic, is seen by some boxing commentators and health experts as troubling.

Boxing can be a dangerous sport and requires total fitness and conditioning. Video footage of Tyson ship-shaping his old bones is a scary spectacle to watch.

He works himself into a frenzy, punching away ferociously with a combination of punches, crosses, uppercuts and straight rights, while screaming at the top of his voice while hitting the mitts.

Tyson last stepped into the ring in an exhibition bout against Roy Jones Jr in 2020, at 54, a bout that ended in a draw.

Can this give us a hint that he will do well against a younger man? Is there a precedent from which we can draw lessons?

In his comeback fight against Vitor Belfort in 2021, former world heavyweight Holyfield, 58 at the time, succumbed in one round to the mild blows of a 51-year-old journeyman.

As for Paul, he is a boxing journeyman. Only nine fights to his credit, losing one of these non-consequential fights.

How will he shape up against Tyson? It is hard to tell, but age is on his side.

Turning to another big fight, with all the attributes of a great boxing match, world lightweight champion Gervonta Davis defends his title against Frank Martin on June 15 in Las Vegas, US.

The fighters’ records suggest they are big bangers, but also methodical boxers.
Out of 29 fights, only two of his opponents survived Davis’s punching power.

Regarding pound-for-pound, as one of the best hitters, it is expected that Davis will seek to dominate and wear down his opponent, Martin, the Detroit-born challenger.

But Martin is no sluggard. Undefeated in 18 bouts, with 12 of them ending in stoppages, Davis may have his hands full trying to use his coup de grace to end hostilities.

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