Should Tyson Worry?

Whether you call him “Iron Mike,” “Kid Dynamite” or “The Baddest Man on the Planet,” since the 1980s Mike Tyson is regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. His legacy began on November 22, 1986, at 20 years old, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history, with a second-round knockout of Trevor Berbick.

Among his impressive achievements, Tyson reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990, winning his first 19 professional fights by knockout, 12 of them in the first round. He was the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, as well as the only heavyweight to unify them in succession. The following year, Tyson became the lineal champion when he knocked out Michael Spinks in 91 seconds of the first round.

Tyson’s impact extended in 1980s pop culture too. When Nintendo first ported Punch Out/Super Punch Out from the arcades to their new home entertainment system, it was branded as “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.” In 1989, the Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff released the song “I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson,” in which Will Smith rapped about a fictional bout with the champion.

Of course, Tyson is not without his controversies. In 1992, Tyson was convicted of rape and sentenced to six years in prison, although he was released on parole after three years.

But now, at age 57, and better known for his roles in such projects as The Hangover films and the Mike Tyson Mysteries TV series over the last 19 years, Tyson has raised concerns that he’s making a big mistake by returning to boxing.

Tyson is set to fight YouTube sensation Jake Paul on July 20. It’s not an exhibition – the match has been commissioned by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations as a professional fight. Paul, who at age 27 is 30 years Tyson’s junior, is 9-1 in his career with six knockouts against a mix of celebrities and middling fighters. His only loss was a split decision to Tommy Fury, the brother of current heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

Despite Paul’s lack of top opponents, and Tyson’s 50-6 record with 44 knockouts, there is concern among the older boxer’s peers. Former champ Deontay Wilder is the latest to speak out. Wilder told Sportsbook Review:

“I think it’s bad the commission has licensed Mike Tyson, because he hasn’t been active in 20 years, so they should not just license him because of who he is, that’s how people get hurt – God forbid he gets hurt.”

Tyson, however, has posted workout videos that show he still has power and skills. That will be needed against Paul, a powerful puncher. But while according to many experts power is the last to go, Wilder insists Tyron will also needs stamina, something that may be harder to come by at Tyson’s age.

And although Paul said he respects the champ, he also said “as soon as it turned into a pro fight, one of us has to die.”

This reminds us of an old interview with Tyson. The champion once told an interviewer that when he entered the ring he planned to kill his opponent. And when asked how he felt after he won, he said he was “sad,” because he wasn’t able to see his plan through.

So, whether Tyson may lack stamina by the first bell, he will definitely have heart.

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