Mike Tyson’s boxing return would turn him into a circus freak show – a top attraction for the morbidly curious

IF PT Barnum, the American 19th century impresario, was alive today he would be the first in the queue to sign Mike Tyson up for his circus freak show.

Barnum would be aware Tyson, 54 next month, who had his last fight 15 years ago, would still be a major attraction for the morbidly curious if he made a ring return.

Mike Tyson was one of the most feared fighters on the planet
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He would be beating his big drum and parading old-man Mike alongside the four-legged lady and his other weirdos.

PT’s entrepreneurial instincts would tell him there would be a fortune to be made from the thousands willing to pay for the ghoulish pleasure of seeing Tyson in action once more.

Barnum certainly knew a thing or two about human nature when he proclaimed “no man ever went broke overestimating the ignorance of the American public”.

Let’s not kid ourselves, that same cynical philosophy applies equally as well here in Britain.

Maybe it’s because of the no-boxing boredom of lockdown but this nonsense of Tyson making a comeback has been gathering momentum for the last couple of weeks.

It started when a video of Tyson working out in a gym ferociously punching the pads went viral.

Rafael Cordeiro, a Brazilian trainer irresponsibly told the world Mike has the same speed and power as a 21-year-old and would be ready to fight again in six months.

That’s just the cue Evander Holyfield, 57, needed to increase the speculation by revealing he’s in talks to come out of retirement for a trilogy clash with Tyson.

Mike Tyson has been training with Rafael Cordeiro ahead of his comeback
Instagram @kingsmma_hb

If that grotesque possibility should happen it would be a pugilistic parody. None of the mainstream promoters would dream of having anything to do with it.

But there are enough Barnum-type hucksters out there who would jump at the chance of making a fast buck.

Tyson the one-time Baddest Man on the Planet, with his grey beard now looks more like loveable Uncle Remus, the fictional African-American storyteller who spun heart-warming children’s animal tales.

Having covered all Mike’s world heavyweight title fights the thought of him and Holyfield floundering around between the ropes at their time of life makes me cringe.

It’s a wonder someone hasn’t suggested staging The Geriatric world heavyweight championship for the over-50’s.

Tyson and Holyfield could be joined by George Foreman, 71, Larry Holmes, 70, Riddick Bowe, 52, Tim Witherspoon, 62, and Frank Bruno, 58, for a Prizefighter-type competition.

The winning finalist to be presented with the Muhammad Ali solid-gold Zimmer frame.

There have been many champions who carried on their careers well into middle-age — the most famous being Archie Moore, Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr.

But the Grand-daddy of them all was Saoul Mamby, who held the world super-lightweight title in the 1970’s — his 85 fights spanned 39 years.

Mamby, who was 72 when he died six months ago, had his last contest — a ten-round points loss — two weeks before his SIXTY-FIRST birthday.

Saoul Mamby held the WBC super lightweight title from 1980 until 1982
AP:Associated Press

 

If Jake La Motta was the Bronx Bull, Mamby was the Bronx pussy-cat. His longevity was down to a superb defence and a hit-and-hop-it style.

When I first saw him fight I realised why Teddy Brenner, the acerbic Madison Square Garden matchmaker, described Saoul as the greatest hot-dog salesman he’d ever seen.

Because Teddy used to say: “When he fights people go and get hot-dogs.”

Mike Tyson wants to return to the ring 15 years after retiring
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