- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2005

If there is someone left in the world that Mike Tyson can beat, please call his adviser, Shelly Finkel. The Tyson camp hasn’t been able yet to find anyone who fills the bill.

Last July, his people brought in Danny Williams from England to be the designated loser — a fighter who was often so scared before a fight that he would cry and sometimes not even show up.

He beat Mellow Mike in four rounds.

This time they went to Ireland — by way of Brockton, Mass. — to find a likely loser in Irish heavyweight champion Kevin McBride, who once got knocked out by a guy who had been knocked out by Butterbean.

Last night before more than 16,000 mostly disappointed fans at MCI Center, Irish Danny beat Mellow Mike in six rounds.

Is Butterbean available?

Some will say Irish Kevin ended the Tyson era for good last night when he beat a pathetic former world champion, but he just put another nail in the coffin. This career didn’t end in the ring. It ended in nightclubs and everyplace else where a man who should have known what it took to stay a champion ignored that knowledge and indulged himself in all manner of excesses that added up to more than $400million in blown career earnings and the loss of a legacy.

“I don’t have the guts to fight in this sport anymore,” the nearly 39-year-old Mellow Mike said after not coming out to answer the bell for the seventh round. “I don’t want to disrespect the sport that I love.”

That ship has sailed, though. He disrespected it in a way we had never seen before when he bit off pieces of Evander Holyfield’s ears while he was taking a beating in their second fight in Las Vegas in 1997. And he added to that disrespect by trying to break Frans Botha’s arm in their 1999 fight, by hitting Orlin Norris after the bell in their fight that same year and then by testing positive for marijuana after beating Andrew Golota in 2000 in a fight that later was declared a no-contest.

There also was his hitting of the referee after stopping Lou Savarese that same year and the brawl with Lennox Lewis at the press conference announcing their fight in 2002, which made Mellow Mike persona non grata in places like Vegas and Atlantic City and banished him to the hinterlands of the boxing world, like Memphis, Louisville and last night Washington.

Disrespect the sport he loves? He would have to turn back the hands of time to fight that battle, and last night he couldn’t even beat yet another glorified club fighter who was hand-picked and put in front of him.

Irish Kevin walked into the ring with no fear despite clearly being the villain to a vocal crowd of Mellow Mike supporters at MCI Center, and he walked in with a game plan. He has all the hand speed of a snail in training, so despite being the bigger man and having a 9-inch reach advantage, Irish Kevin knew he could not catch the quicker Mellow Mike from afar. So he used his nearly 40-pound weight advantage and fought him inside.

Irish Kevin leaned on Mellow Mike and made him carry a heavier fighter around the ring. And when they were fighting inside, Irish Kevin kept landing uppercuts, slowly doing damage. Remarkably, Mellow Mike helped Irish Kevin do this by repeatedly locking up Irish Kevin’s left arm and keeping the action where it did Irish Kevin the most good.

By the sixth round, Mellow Mike was far too mellow to keep fighting and, in his typical bully panic mode, starting using the top of his head to butt Irish Kevin when they were close. He opened up a cut over Irish Kevin’s left eye with a clearly intentional butt, and referee Joe Cortez deducted two points.

At the end of the round, after a series of uppercuts by Irish Kevin, Mellow Mike fell on the ropes and down to the canvas and sat there for several seconds before he could muster enough energy to get up and go to his corner.

Remarkably, two judges — Tamye Jenkins and Stephen Rodos — had Mellow Mike ahead by 57-55 when the fight ended. They shouldn’t be allowed to judge professional wrestling matches.

This was not the show everyone expected at MCI Center. This was a crowd expecting a Mike Tyson fight, the kind that used to happen nearly 20 years ago when he took people’s heads off in two or three rounds.

There were people in their finest clothes and bling bling who wanted to be part of history. They had seen Laila Ali dispose of her opponent in three rounds and got a chance to see the great Muhammad Ali embrace his daughter in the ring. They were primed for a Mellow Mike win.

Instead, all they did was get dressed up to launch the career of the new white hope — Irish Kevin McBride.

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