Sports

Former heavyweight champs Tyson, Holyfield preparing for possible comebacks

Mike Tyson hasn't announced any plans to return to fight again, though he did suggest on an Instagram post he might make himself available for 3 or 4-round exhibitions if the price was right. Already, some people in Australia are talking about offering him $1 million US to fight an exhibition against a rugby star or two.

Both now over 50, see charity matches as path back to ring

Evander Holyfield, left, and Mike Tyson, are seen above at event in 2015. The boxing legends are both in their fifties and considering comebacks to the boxing ring for charity. (Andy Kropa/The Associated Press)

It's hard to say what is more startling, seeing Mike Tyson hitting a bong or watching him hitting the mitts in a boxing gym like he was getting ready to fight Evander Holyfield again.

Videos of both can be found online, mostly because Tyson is as good as promoting himself in his second career as he was knocking guys silly in his first.

Here's hoping the former heavyweight champion is aware there's a big difference between the two activities.

Because while smoking copious amounts of marijuana probably won't kill him, getting back in the ring at the age of 53 just might.

Tyson hasn't announced any plans to return to fight again, though he did suggest on an Instagram post he might make himself available for three or four-round exhibitions if the price was right. Already, some people in Australia are talking about offering him $1 million US to fight an exhibition against a rugby star or two.

"I'd hold it at Melbourne Arena where we'd get over 10,000 or even Princes Park where they got 30,000 for Jeff Fenech versus Azumah Nelson," said Brian Amatruda, an Australian-based promoter. "He might be 53 years old, but he's still a huge name and any of those blokes Hall, Gallen or Sonny Bill would jump at the chance to get into the ring with him."

'The champ is back'

Meanwhile Holyfield wrote, "The moment you've all been waiting for ... The Champ is back! I'd like to announce that I will be making a comeback to the ring.

"I will be fighting in exhibition matches for a great cause #Unite4OurFight."

Holyfield's charitable foundation, devoted to young development, is in need of assistance due to the coronavirus pandemic, he wrote on the organization's website.

If the internet is any guide, there's certainly interest. Tyson's video showing him hitting mitts in a gym not only generated more than nine million views in just a few days but also some buzz about just what the aging former champion might have left.

"He hasn't hit mitts for almost 10 years. So I didn't expect to see what I saw," trainer Rafael Cordeiro told ESPN. "I saw a guy with the same speed, same power as guys 21, 22 years old."

It's a drill Tyson has always excelled at. When he was grooming Tyson as a teen, trainer Cus D'Amato had a number system for each punch Tyson threw and would call them out as an assistant held the mitts and Tyson dutifully threw a right hand or left hook.

New generation of fans 

And while people remember Tyson for his spectacular knockouts in his prime, remember that this is a man who gave up while sitting on his stool in his last fight 15 years ago.

But boxing will return. And Tyson remains intriguing, even to a new generation of fans who know him only through tales from their fathers or videos of him at his most vicious.

All publicity is good publicity when you're Mike Tyson, and he's getting plenty with a video dropped at a time the world is starved for sports of any kind.

Tyson owns a 50-6 record, with his most recent bout a loss to Kevin McBride in 2005. Holyfield has a 44-10-2 mark, having won his last fight, against Brian Nielsen in 2011.

The two squared off twice in the ring: an 11th-round technical knockout for Holyfield in 1996, then another Holyfield win the next year when Tyson was disqualified for biting off part of Holyfield's ear.

With files from Field Level Media

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