Mike Tyson’s rumoured return to the boxing ring has got people asking – is this the real deal or just a publicity stunt?
At 53, Tyson’s impressive speed and ferocity in filmed pad workouts have fuelled the speculation.
“The power is different level,” says Rafael Cordeiro, the trainer holding the pads. “I didn’t expect to see what I saw – I saw a guy with the same speed, the same power as a guy who is 21-, 22-years-old.”
However, the last time someone was punching back Tyson quit on his stool against Kevin McBride in his last bout in 2005.
“There are probably hundreds of men above 14 stone that are boxing around the world that would easily beat Tyson now,” says 5 Live Boxing’s Steve Bunce.
“That’s the truth. Unless he fights another 53-year-old where they are both walking through treacle, after a minute it will be horrible.
“It comes to some fighters at 24 and some at 34; they realise inside they haven’t got it. Then the longer they are away from the sport, they start to forget that feeling they had when realised they didn’t have it.
“Tyson can have 20 years out of the gym and look sensational when he loses two stone with a man making him look good on the pads. I can assure you, within 30 seconds of a real fight with anything like real gloves on, no matter what the opposition is in the other corner, he will become a 53-year-old man again.
“It’s boxing, you don’t play this. It’s serious.”
Talk of a charity bout with Evander Holyfield, who has announced he will fight to raise money for good causes, has gained traction.
In 2006, Tyson engaged in a number of four-round exhibition bouts with Corey Sanders. At the time he needed money having filed for bankruptcy in 2003, but he also spoke of the mental health and stress-relieving benefits a light-hearted return gave him.
“When fighters have a second retirement, they can never look you in the eyes when they tell you of that one fight back that they know they shouldn’t have had,” adds Bunce.