While American Mike Tyson may never win another world heavyweight boxing title, he remains one of the sport's most colorful and confusing figures. Interest in the controversial fighter is following him back to the ring this Saturday night in Washington at the MCI Center where Tyson faces Kevin McBride of Ireland.
Even at age 38, Mike Tyson is likely the biggest draw in boxing. In recent years, he has not shown the punishing and sometimes brutal dominance that made him a heavyweight champion. But fight promoters in Washington say about 13,000 of the more than 17,000 tickets for the fight have been sold. They expect a near sellout for the scheduled 10-round, non-title fight.
Tyson's turbulent career has been punctuated by jail time, millions of dollars of debt, and the infamous biting of opponent Evander Holyfield's ear. Tyson has 50 wins, five losses, two no contests and 44 knockouts. But Tyson has only fought ten times in the past eight years, the last nearly a year ago when he was knocked out by British fighter Danny Williams.
Still, the man known as "Iron Mike" says he is ready.
"I have been away from it for a while," said Mike Tyson. "I have been inactive. I had a really bizarre lifetime for a while when I was not boxing. So I am just taking it one step at a time. Winning a championship, a championship belt does not define who I am as a man or a person. I put in my work. And I am just looking forward to improve my legacy in fighting."
Standing at almost two-meters (1.98), the unheralded McBride is the tallest opponent Tyson has ever faced. The 32-year-old McBride has a 32-four and one record with 27 knockouts, and the so-called "Clones Colossus" feels he has the advantage over the former champ.
"I love this game so much. I fear nobody," said Mr. McBride. "But to beat Mike Tyson is to take the fight to him. I respect his power. He has tremendous power. But I got tremendous power too. But when I hit Mike Tyson, he is going to think the whole of Ireland has hit him."
McBride will earn only $150,000 compared to Tyson's purse of five-million dollars. But Tyson owes nearly $40 million to various creditors and will likely see only about $250,000 after he makes payments under a court-ordered bankruptcy reorganization plan.