Mike Tyson remains in exile for two more weeks, until the Nevada State Athletic Commission gets further medical assurances that he's not full-on insane and can again provide family entertainment in the ring. As this is hard to guarantee of any boxer, particularly one given to spontaneous cannibalism, his chances of reinstatement are not 100%. But the fact that Tyson didn't detonate on the dais during a long and contentious hearing in Las Vegas ought to encourage everyone to consider that the former champ may have a new and improved equilibrium.
"In six hours," noted commission chairman Elias Ghanem with some surprise, "he did not blow up." This isn't just a new standard of mental health, as applied to boxing's biggest draw, but a psychological O.K. in itself. All Tyson needs to do is get it in wilting next week, so that the commission, better insulated from the consequences of Tyson's next disaster, can more confidently license him at an Oct. 3 healing.
Tyson's third career can then begin. Like the last one, which picked up after Tyson did time for rape, this one will be more about money than about boxing. Armed with pie charts and bar graphs, Tyson lawyer Dale Kinsella tried to show that Tyson's ban for biting Evander Holyfield 15 months ago cost Tyson $65 million in income. Moreover, according to Kinsella, the fighter never took home all that much to begin with because of a disadvantageous 1988 contract with Don King.
According to Kinsella, Tyson cleared just $5.2 million from his $30 million share of the purse from the Holyfield fight, with King claiming $9 million and Tyson's two former managers another $6 million. The commissioners were astonished to learn that King, as promoter, was dipping into Tyson's paycheck. They were saddened to hear of a $6.3 million lien the IRS had placed on one of Tyson's houses. But, determined not to grant a need-based license, they shrugged off his money woes.
For that matter, they weren't terribly impressed with the bunch of slick, entertainment-industry types who have self-righteously undertaken Tyson's comeback now that Tyson is estranged from King. While the commissioners seemed aghast at Tyson's contract with King, they weren't amused to learn that Tyson's new CPA was getting $325 an hour. They wondered how shrewd these advisers were to steer him to New Jersey for an abortive attempt to get a license there, burning up two months of the very career they were so impatient to restart.
The point is, the commissioners wanted a warranty on Tyson's mental health. The image of a frantic fighter, a foe's blood dripping from his leering grin and body parts strewn across the ring, is too fresh in their minds. They want assurances—a note from the doctor is all—that pie charts never seem to provide.