In the last three years, we’ve heard Mike Tyson would get out of prison, dump Don King, say “Free at last, free at last,” and then attach his chains to Murad Muhammad, Butch Lewis or Madonna.
But if you can read the writing on the undercards, you can tell Tyson is returning to his father figure:
Julio Cesar Chavez is a prelim fighter again.
When Tyson went away, King wisely promoted the Mexican icon from supporting role to superstar. Chavez, even on the downside of a brilliant career, performed brilliantly, putting hundreds of thousands in stadiums and millions in King’s till.
Now he has been added to King’s April 8 return to Caesars Palace as a prelim to Oliver McCall and Larry Holmes. Chavez faces Giovanni Parisi, who may be the best continental European fighter this side of Konstantin Tszyu.
Unless he was sure of regaining Tyson’s services, King would never risk Chavez against a Parisi.
Conclusion: Tyson is going home.
Oh, Rock Newman can articulate: “There are some very positive directions coming from Indianapolis that Mike Tyson really understands that Don King made twice as much money as he and Razor Ruddock combined.”
Tyson certainly doesn’t need King, any more than he needs any promoter or manager. He needs a lawyer to go over the contracts, an accountant and a banker. He can open his own country.
But as promoter Cedric Kushner said, “I think there’s some psychological need that King provides for Tyson.”
Conclusion: Tyson is a loser.
“If he goes back to King, he’s just another fighter who’s a commodity,” said Lou Duva.
And, said Eddie Futch, still the wisest trainer extant, three years in prison could leave Tyson better than ever.
“Heavyweights usually mature at 28 or 29,” said the 83-year-old wizard. “He could be better than he’s ever been, if he’s wiser and smarter.”
Ah, but if Tyson returned to King? Futch agreed he might not be any wiser.
Still, King offers Tyson not only access to all three major alphabet belts but also the services of his new house trainer, George Benton. Futch thinks Benton “would be a good move, if they listened to George.”
“The question is whether they’re going to rush him in before he’s ready,” said Futch. “He’s going to have to get back his timing, judging the distance, his balance, and that takes a little time.”
George Foreman argues, “If I could stay out 10 years, he’s been out just long enough to go to Europe and back on a boat.”
Big George is no fool. Tyson may have been allowed to do calisthenics and running in prison, but he has not tasted leather in 3-1/2 years - the skin has to get used to getting hit. Foreman doesn’t want Tyson to get too warm.
If he goes back to King, though, Tyson will be in hot water soon enough. So will Chavez.