- The Washington Times - Monday, June 13, 2005

Even if Mike Tyson changes his mind about quitting, as “retired” boxers have done in the past, it is doubtful he could earn enough money to make it worth his while.

“He would be able to get a fight, but I don’t think it could remotely come close to the dollar amount he would be willing to accept,” promoter and consultant Rock Newman said yesterday.

Tyson, in what he said afterward was the last fight of his controversial career, lost to Irish journeyman Kevin McBride in a heavyweight bout Saturday night at MCI Center. Tyson was leading on the scorecards of two of the three judges when he failed to answer the bell for the seventh round.

“I’m not fighting no more,” said Tyson, who turns 39 on June30. “I just don’t have it in me. I don’t think I could beat Father Time. I don’t have the desire and the discipline no more.”

Tyson’s main motivation for fighting has been to relieve himself of debt, which has been reported to total $34million or more. He earned $5million from the McBride fight, with most of the money going to his creditors and a portion to his ex-wife, who also is his business manager.

Including a defeat by another unheralded fighter, Danny Williams, in July, Tyson has lost two straight and three of his last four fights.

“I don’t think anyone could remotely expect him to get close to [$5 million]” if he were to fight again, Newman said. “If you start talking about a purse of $2million and having to divvy that up with the bankruptcy, the returns would be so diminishing I don’t think it would be that attractive.”

Boxing history is replete with examples of fighters who retire, only to change their mind with unfortunate results. One example was Muhammad Ali, who showed up Saturday to watch his daughter, Laila, win her fight against Erin Toughill. Ali also visited with Tyson in the dressing room before he fought McBride.

“I pray Tyson won’t become part of that,” Newman said. “I genuinely hope he stays with what seems to me to be some very real sentiments. That he doesn’t want to disrespect the sport and that he wants to find some other meaning in his life.”

Despite Tyson’s recent record and his deteriorating skills, he was a heavy favorite to beat McBride. Newman, who was advising the fight’s promoters, Marty Wynn and Darryl Stuckey, was one of the few people other than the McBride camp who talked publicly last week about the possibility of Tyson losing if the fight lasted beyond a couple of rounds.

And that is exactly what happened. At the end of the sixth round, Tyson spent a great deal of time sitting in the ropes. He appeared to be tangled up slightly but was in no hurry to extricate himself.

“I saw him have great difficulty willing himself to get up,” Newman said. “He got pushed down and got tangled up, and he hardly had the energy to get up. He was spent. He gave it all he had. He had nothing else to offer.”

As the fight progressed, Tyson grew desperate. He was penalized two points for an intentional head butt that opened a cut below McBride’s eye, and McBride accused Tyson of intentionally trying to break his arm.

“As we tried to promote this fight, I kept trying to put in perspective what was at stake here,” Newman said. “The stakes were incredibly high. I believed it, and I said repeatedly, that if Tyson lost his career was over. If he won, he could go on to his next fight, get 5 to 7million dollars, and if he won that, get a championship fight where he might make $25million.”

With that notion out of the way, the attention now turns, at least for a while, to the 32-year-old McBride, who has vowed to become the first heavyweight champion from Ireland.

“He’s a very marketable talent,” Newman said.


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