More than 15 years ago Mike Tyson had what we assumed was his last stand in the ring. He had moved up from the heavyweight to the galoot division, fighting a 270-pound slab of Irish back bacon named Kevin McBride.
As with most boxing farewells, this one went poorly for the once-great champion. McBride deployed the fallen-tree strategy, leaning on Tyson until he collapsed beneath the weight, sitting on the canvas, supported by the ring ropes at the end of the sixth round. Tyson then opted out, declining to come out for the seventh.
Now we know that Tyson didn't retire, he was just saving himself for a bigger fight in 2020.
They keep insisting that this is not the latest in a series of bad jokes authored by this year; still, have you heard the one about the 54-year-old Tyson fighting 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition as part of a card Nov. 28 in Los Angeles? It was scheduled back in the summer and postponed, but common sense could not prevail forever.
No, really, it's a thing.
They've even made up a belt for the winner, although at their age, suspenders might be more useful. It's called the WBC Frontline Battle Belt. Sounds like something every kid will want for Christmas, if the batarang and the bat-rope are included.
Jones himself was quite the skilled pugilist in his day who at various times held world titles in four weight divisions. He was on the short list of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of his time. So, no, he doesn't require any more boxing accessories.
A couple of initial thoughts.
First — and this comes from someone who watched Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady play golf together — I really didn't believe it possible that in a time when we are so desperate for any sporting diversion that they could invent something I wouldn't watch even to win a bet. Then this came along. And that's assuming the bet would cover the $49.99 suggested pay-per-view price for this Thanksgiving weekend distraction.
Secondly, there are certain things that shouldn't be done on an exhibition basis: Surgery. Missile launches. Weddings. Boxing. Either you're in these pursuits for real, or, please don't bother.