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Tyson needs help .......

any volunteers ?

August 4, 2000


OKAY, the time has finally come to put the whole Mike Tyson thing into perspective.

And yes, we all know why.

Once again, “Iron Mike” made a full contribution to yet another one of his fights ending in near chaos, when he brushed aside referee John Coyle to land an additional flurry of punches on the hapless Lou Savarese: in spite of the fact that Coyle was in the process of calling an end to the bout.
Lou Savarese (left) is shielded from Mike Tyson by referee John Coyle during their non-title heavyweight fight at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday, June 24. Tyson won the fight after it was stopped after 38 seconds of the first round.

Technically, it was not on the same level as hitting Orlin Norris after the bell, last October. Certainly, it did not even come close to munching on Evander Holyfield’s ears, three years ago. Nevertheless, the latest incident served to further calcify the notion that Tyson is a man who appears to have a control problem.

After all, why else would a man, on more than one occasion, traverse not only the basic codes of professional boxing, but human ethics as a whole? Could it be a severe psychological disorder that no one has tried to confirm, let alone treat? At least, one can point to a trail of other unsavoury incidents that have occurred outside of the ring as evidence that there is something amiss.

Let’s see, in August of 1998 Tyson attacks two elderly men after he and his wife, Monica, are involved in a non serious accident along a stretch of road in Maryland. “Iron Mike” spends a couple of months in the can for this assault. His conviction came four years after he served time in Indiana for the rape of a beauty contestant in an Indianapolis hotel room. This capped off years of incidents in which he was censured for sexual fondling of women in public. He was also involved in a street fight with one of his former ring opponents and was alleged to have physically abused his former wife, Robin Givens. As a matter of fact she accused Tyson of being “manic depressive” as he sat silently behind her, while being interviewed on a television show. Their marriage also featured an episode involving Tyson ramming a Mercedes Benz into a tree and having to be carted off to hospital.

Getting back to the ring, Tyson’s heyday was marred by some of the wild statements that he made concerning his fights. He admitted to trying to push Jesse Ferguson’s nose bone into his brain, following a 1986 bout. Even at the age of 15, while still under the tutelage of Cus D’Amato, Tyson was caught on documentary video, enthusing about the joy of hitting his amateur opponents in their heads. Of course, it was through boxing that the New York native was exonerated from reform school – having already kick-started an initial career as a pre-teen mugger.

It is just amazing how much stuff most of us mentally by-passed during Tyson’s late-80’s heavyweight championship reign: and how little has changed in the five years since being released from prison in Indiana. There have been more brushes with the law and more accusations of indecent assault from women. What's different is that the statements have gotten wilder and there are now those unforgettable ring episodes.

All of this will continue so long as Tyson continues to generate money for promoters and cable networks. So long as we continue to be fascinated by Mike’s awesome power and neglect concern about the potential for something very bad happening. So long as those around him continue to ignore his apparent problem. So long as there are still those granting Tyson a second chance.

Yes, Tyson needs help. But the question is: When will the first brave person step forward - before or after it is too late?