Arrow-right Camera


Must Ex-Champion Suffer Forever? Pro-Boxing: Judicial System Real Problem

Fri., Feb. 17, 1995

Some want ex-heavyweight champion Mike Tyson to suffer forever for his 1991 date rape of a Rhode Island beauty queen.

His crime outrages them - as well it should.

But their beef is with our lenient judicial system, which decreed that Tyson owed only six years of his life for his crime, with time off for good behavior.

On March 25 Tyson will have paid that debt.

On a par, Tyson has paid dearer than the child molesters who routinely go free after six months of minimum security, or wife batterers, or drug dealers. He lost three years of his boxing prime and several huge paydays.

After a shaky start, he’s been a model prisoner and deserves a second chance to earn a living the only way he knows how - with his fists. Nothing legally prevents him from doing so.

In fact, Tyson will be less dangerous with a tough training schedule and supervised probation, which includes community service and counseling, than he would be banished to the streets. His rage will be directed at men who can hit back rather than at defenseless women in hotel rooms.

Some signs indicate Tyson has changed.

After threatening a prison guard early on, Tyson controlled himself, earning a day off his sentence for every one served for good behavior. As a result, his prison term was halved. Last June, he finally admitted to a judge that his actions were “inexcusable.”

His road back will be punishing.

A three-year layoff saps ring speed and the ability to slip thunderous punches.

Muhammad Ali found redemption in the ring after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned his 1967 conviction for draft evasion. But it came at a heavy price.

After a 43-month hiatus, Ali no longer could “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” Many believe the blows he suffered following his return - Joe Frazier hit him an incredible 440 times during the 1975 “Thrilla in Manila” - caused his Parkinson’s Syndrome and the mental fog he lives in today.

Tyson probably will recapture his crown. But he’s likely to get hurt badly.

Maybe then those crying for another pound of flesh will be satisfied.


The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides

Click here to comment on this story »