Mike Tyson, part III?
The first two parts in this trilogy were as gripping as any drama in recent boxing history. And the conclusion - assuming it happens - promises to be just as intriguing.Tyson, banned from boxing by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after biting off a portion of Evander Holyfield's ear last June 28 in Las Vegas, can apply for reinstatement beginning today.
Shelly Finkel, Tyson's adviser, said he will file the application with the commission sometime this month.
A few weeks after the filing, Tyson would have his hearing before the commission panel that banned him. If he gets approval - most believe that he will - he could be fighting again as soon as October. Most believe the public will be eager to pay good money - a lot of good money - to see it.
"He'll be bigger than ever. Wait and see," said Jay Larkin, head of Showtime sports, which has Tyson under contract.
Ironically, the most disgusting incident in recent boxing history might've been the best thing that could've happened to Tyson.
The fighter who devastated his opponents early in his career was mauled by Holyfield - a 25-1 underdog at one point - before the fight was stopped 47 seconds into the 11th round when they met for the first time on Nov. 9, 1996.
In their second bout, which demolished all records with 1.95 million pay-per-view buys, Tyson appeared to be on his way to a similar fate when . . . "I snapped," he said shortly afterward.
Tyson lost the fight but probably saved himself from losing his drawing power. Even if it's clear he's not the fighter he once was, he seems to have enhanced his very marketable image as a wild man.
"As twisted as this sounds, this rejuvenated his career again," said Teddy Atlas, Tyson's one-time trainer and one of his most vociferous critics. "It's just like jail (his three-year term for rape) rejuvenated his career.
"He was on his way to being over with, to getting knocked out again by Holyfield. Then he quit in a way that saved him. He could keep his image, his savage image. And as long as he has that, the mystique lives."
However, at 32, what does he have left in the ring?
Not much, according to most observers. Holyfield twice exposed Tyson for what he is. He has the speed and power of his youth, but he's small for a heavyweight - around 5-foot-10, 220 pounds - and his skills have deteriorated, as those of many brawlers seem to do prematurely.
Also, Tyson's primary weapon - intimidation - was lost on Holyfield and might now be lost on most other capable fighters.
"He'll never again be what he was," said respected trainer Emanuel Steward. "A big part of what he was was his aura of invincibility. That's gone now.
"It's going to be very difficult for him."
If he's reinstated, he'll likely face a marginal opponent in his first fight back and, perhaps early next year, could take on Holyfield one more time in what might be the most lucrative bout ever.
It doesn't seem likely the commission will spare him this fate.
In the year since the ear fight, Tyson appears to have done all the right things. Aside from a harmless romp in professional wrestling, he has kept a low profile.
He dumped the characters who handled his career since his release from prison - promoter Don King and co-managers John Horne and Rory Holloway, whom Tyson is suing on charges that they bilked him out of millions.
In addition to Finkel, he has hired record-business attorneys Jeff Wald and Irving Azoff to handle his business affairs. Tyson reportedly is trying to get into the music business.
He rejected offers to fight overseas, which presumably would've sabotaged any chance of reinstatement here.