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For a good time, give Iron Mike a microphone

Historians will tell you the original Renaissance man was Leonardo da Vinci. If not Leo, then Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson are next in line.

But the historians are woefully wrong. The first and best jack-of-all-trades is none other than Mike Tyson.

"I'm a convicted rapist," Tyson said in a Beverly Hills press conference Thursday. "I'm a hellraiser. I'm a loving father. I'm a semi-good husband."

That's not all. He's also a former heavyweight champion, a human earchew, a referee abuser, Robin Givens' ex and the shrew from Hansel and Gretel who relished wolfing down young children.

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  • ESPN's boxing page

    But most of all, Tyson is a deeply religious man, donning a colossal tattoo of his Muslim advisor across his abdomen. He's such an apostle that, after expressing a hungry desire to not only "rip Lennox Lewis' heart out and feed it to him," but also "eat his children." Tyson thanked the only one capable of making such dreams a reality: Allah.

    Now Tyson wants to be heavyweight champion again, but to achieve that end, he must first make a pitstop in Auburn Hills, Mich. on Oct. 20. Only this isn't your normal bathroom break at the roadside convenience store. This is a date with Polish ogre Andrew Golota, a bona fide brute who enjoys nothing more than hitting other men in the nether regions, as evidenced by his two disqualifications for repeated blows below Riddick Bowe's belt.

    Sounds like boxing's PG-13 version of the circus is heading back to the Palace of Auburn Hills.

    So with an impending volcano just waiting to erupt in 31 days, Tyson would opt to take the high road and clear the muddled air before the two chomp on each other's favorite facial features, right?

    Not exactly.

    Instead, the poor boy from Southington, Ohio offered media members Thursday some profound insights into his approach for the upcoming scrap.

    On why he's taking an anti-depressant drug called Zoloft: "I'm on that to keep me from killing ya'll."

    On whether he welcomes a Golota punch to the privates: "I wish the mother f----- would hit me low. Yeah, hit me low, and it's on like a mother f-----."

    Come on Mike, like it wasn't "on" before. This isn't a fight. It's an ECW Texas Death Match meets table-turning brawl at the corral.

    On whether Tyson cares one iota about reclaiming the belt that signifies dominion over the division he once controlled: "They can keep their title. I don't want their title. I want to strip them of their f------ health. Because I'm in pain, I want them to see pain. I want their kids to see pain. Lennox Lewis: I want his kids to say, 'ooh, Daddy, are you okay ... Daddy?'"

    All this malicious verbosity makes Tyson sound like the sports world's most ignorant rogue. Yet while rogue undoubtedly applies, ignorant does not. The man is a genius, able to spin words of immeasurable shock and scarcely little value into millions upon millions of dollars. Four times a year. For 15 years.

    This is a gentleman who broke Frans "The White Buffalo" Botha's arm, crushed Frank Bruno's spirit and shattered Shawn Michaels' dreams of a WWF Championship at Wrestlemania. Now Tyson's about to break the bank again, and you know who's going to be the first one forking over $49.95 to purchase the pay-per-view: Me.

    Why, you might ask? Because most sports, namely many of those they play in Sydney, promote athletic merit above all else and proffer little entertainment value. However, boxing couldn't provide a sharper contrast. While in many ways it's a black eye more than a breath of fresh air, at least it's unique. That's why that PG-13 circus is the Greatest Show on Earth.

    And for that, we should be thankful. As only Tyson would say: "Praise be to Allah."


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