SI Vault
 
Unlike Mike
Rick Reilly
June 17, 2002
An hour after taking the bludgeoning he so richly deserved, Mike Tyson sat in his dressing room bloodied, swollen and oddly happy, his tiny newborn son in his Popeye arms.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
June 17, 2002

Unlike Mike

View CoverRead All Articles
1 2

What will he do? Rumored to be at least $12 million in debt to Showtime; rumored to owe his adviser, Shelly Finkel, $3 million; and rumored to owe America Presents nearly $2 million, Tyson's estimated $17.5 million payday from this public pummeling—after being cut up by his handlers and the IRS—might still leave him millions in hock.

"People can say what they want about me," he said, rocking little Miguel, "but I'm a proud father. All my kids are precious to me.... I'm just a young guy trying to feed my family. I just do what I have to do." How do you go from wanting to "eat" families to feeding them?

But who will pay to see a spent fighter who has lived off little but his incisors for years? If Lewis will be remembered for anything, it will be for ridding boxing of Tyson, burying Mad Mike's overblown career under a pyramid. Fitting, too, because Tyson fought like a mummy, with no movement, no counterpunching, no passion. The best that can be said of him is that he still has a granite chin, which goes nicely with those granite feet.

But Tyson will have to fight again because there's no other way out of this hole. And it will be ugly, like Jesse Owens racing horses or Joe Frazier singing a cappella. You picture yourself somewhere asking him, "Were you surprised how well the bear wrestled?"

Tyson seemed unworried. He cooed to his boy, "I want you to be a fighter too."

Looking at Tyson's face—and his future—you just had to think, God forbid.

1 2