The limited run of Mike Tyson's one-man Broadway show, directed by Spike Lee, ended the past weekend.
The show and the star have received mixed reviews, but in a way that's beside the point.
Who would have imagined, as crazy as Tyson's life has been, that he'd make it to Broadway?
Who would imagine people would actually pay to see the show? Who would have imagined that at 46 Tyson would be alive and pounding the boards.
Just six years ago I was in Las Vegas for a fight and Tyson was being put up/paid by a hotel for public "training" sessions followed by a question and "answer" session. I put those words in quotes because Tyson was completely disinterested in both activities the day I attended. His monosyllabic answers seemed to indicate he was hung over, or hadn't slept at all.
A few years later Tyson would confirm to ESPN's Jeremy Schaap that he was struggling around about that time to stay sober.
One of the few heavyweight mainstays that Tyson didn't fight in the 1980's was Michael Dokes.
And vice versa. Dokes died over the weekend at the age of 54 from liver cancer.
There were several notable moments from in Dokes's career
This list would give the impression that Dokes lost more than he won.
He actually only lost six times, with two draws, in 63 pro bouts. The truth was that the vast majority of his 55 wins were unmemorable, but the man nicknamed "Dynamite" had spectacular losses.
Spectacular would be one word, and a very euphemistic one at that, to describe his life outside of the ring.
Having a false wall to hide cocaine in case the cops called - they did, in 1986 - was one thing. Giving his girlfriend six broken ribs, as police alleged in 1988, was another. Confining and sexually assaulting a woman a decade later was something else entirely.
Dokes had just been out of prison about three years after serving time for that crime when he died.
The Akron, Ohio native once had talent to burn. At 17 he lost a narrow decision in the 1975 Pan Am Games to recently deceased Olympic legend Teofilo Stevenson.
He bedeviled Muhammad Ali so much in a 1977 sparring session, according to lore, that The Greatest had to respond with a couple of well-placed rights to temper the teen.
"I learned about a year's worth of boxing in that exchange," he told Jet magazine at the time.
He learned the hard way outside of the ring, one of several heayvweights of the 1970s and 1980s victimized by Don King's vice grip on the decision. Purses promised and paid out rarely jibed, fighers were given blank contracts to sign, and hangers on and drugs were plentiful.
Dokes told journalist Jack Newfeld that all his money was spent on lawyers and cocaine, and said he had the drug in his system when he lost to Coetzee.
He was hardly unique. The talking heads in the terrific ESPN doc about Len Bias mentioned a cocaine epiphany after the young basketballer's death, but it didn't happen in boxing.
Belt holders Pinklon Thomas and the deceased John Tate battled drugs, as did 1984 gold medallist Tyrell Biggs.
I've made my share of bad predictions over the years but seared in my memory was some poor chap (I honestly don't remember who) in a boxing book in the early 1980s who predicted that Tony Tucker and Tony Tubbs would be the Ali-Frazier of that decade
Tucker did manage to win a belt and partake in a number of big fights. Still, in a 2008 interview with Boxinginsider.com he took time to apologize to fans for not always appreciating his gifts and giving his best.
Tubbs was a case study of lax discipline in the ring, frequently showing up woefully out of shape. His children numbering in the teens, in 2010 he chose a short jail sentence over rehab. A mugshot from earlier this year is easily found on the internet.
Bad choices, drugs and a career spent taking punches to the head. A brutal combination for fighters.
Dokes, in a 2009 interview found on YouTube, lamented the fact that he fought Holyfield fresh off of a multi-year layoff. Only problem was the layoff he was speaking of happened much earlier in the decade. In actual fact the Holyfield bout was his ninth in a year-and-a-half, after a string of wins that included one over Edmontonian Ken Lakusta.
Am I cheering you up yet?
Biggs told a reporter in 2009 in his native Philadelphia: "I [once] got a key to the city. That was nice. But you know what would be nicer? For me to take that key back to City Hall and trade it for a really good job somewhere."
Tyson, interviews and documentaries since have revealed, was certainly doing his share of partying. But he was able to separate himself from the pack with this power and enough sustained bursts of passion.
But the belts and the money he earned came and went.
The best thing Tyson accumulated during that time, despite his myriad and monumental subsequent screw-ups in and out of the ring, was the goodwill and celebrity to be afforded opportunities again and again many years later to get back up.
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