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Lewis vs. Tyson: Is There a Psychiatrist in the House?26 November 2001
Now that Lennox Lewis has disposed of the Hassim Rahman, the attention turns to a Tyson fight for the 6'5" 245lb Lewis.
This will be a battle of the head cases as opposed to a battle of the century, new as that century is. Lewis had all the tools to be a great heavyweight, and at times, when he used those tools (against Andrew Golota and Tommy Morrison, for example), he has looked nothing short of spectacular. At other times, he has looked like nothing.
The key to Lewis lies not in his godlike physical attributes but inside his good-looking head, and also on the point of what many pundits believe to be his Lennox-china chin. At times Lewis looks not like a Greek god in the ring but like a frightened little antelope. In that latter guise he has gotten bagged twice by KO (Oliver McCall and Rahman in their first fight) and has looked awful at least a half dozen times against inferior opponents.
The key to Tyson is also in his head. Rattling around in that dark cavern is a bully, a child, a coward, a gourmet (recall the appetizer he made of a Holyfield ear), a convicted rapist, and a guy who thinks of himself as the meanest man on the planet--that is, until he meets someone who can actually fight.
Perhaps the most overrated fighter of the past 25 years, Tyson lost in his prime to a workmanlike Buster Douglas (Tyson was outclassed and knocked out no less); then in the first comeback era from a rape conviction, Tyson lost to an over-the-hill Evander Holyfield who had been almost a 30 to 1 underdog when the fight was signed. In the return engagement, Tyson looked like he was going down the same road to ruin when he decided to get himself disqualified by dining in the ring. Since then, he has fought a series of pathetic opponents, mostly in Europe, and now he is on the verge of another championship match.
So, there they are, two for the psychiatrist's couch. In the best of all possible worlds, where both performers performed at their peak, it would be no contest--Tyson gets knocked out after being brutalized by Lewis' jab and clobbered with Lewis' right. Tyson would, of course, have an excuse for why he lost: "It was a short count. I didn't want my children to see me this way. I was hungry. The woman asked for it. I'm being set up."
But this isn't the best of all possible worlds. It is the world of possibilities. It is quite possible for an extremely cautious, methodical Lewis to leave himself open to a big Tyson left, right, or bite; once hit, Lewis goes down and stays down. Tyson is the new champion and, for the next several years, the meanest man on earth defends the title against occupants of various nursing homes in the United States. (Picture the billboard: For the Heavyweight Championship of the World: Iron Mike Tyson vs. Iron-deficient Sadie Greenstein from Florida!)
There is only one thing preventing this fight from taking place and that is a heavyweight named Ray Mercer. Now, some of you know who Mercer is--one tough hombre. Of course, that was many, many years ago that Mercer gave both Lewis and Holyfield fits when they fought him in tuneup bouts. Also recall how he almost tore off Tommy Morrison's head when they fought in the mid-1990s. But Mercer has been down a long, long road since then, and time may have eaten away at the key skills he had--dogged determination, courage and, most especially, a chin like granite. Tyson, realizing that he needs a tuneup bout for Lewis that isn't against your grandmother, might be in for a long night if even one-half of the old Ray Mercer shows up.
The bet here is that only about one-quarter of the old Ray Mercer exists and that's why Tyson has okayed the match. Remember this, bullies don't want to fight anyone who might fight them back.
Naturally, Tyson, when there was very little chance that he would be facing Lewis, made the ridiculous but, in light of the Holyfield meal, all too believable statement to Lewis that "I want to eat your children." Now, I don't recall if Lewis has any kids, but certainly Tyson's tirade is scary, not that he will be able to back it up with his fists, but we know he can back it up with his teeth.
The preliminary pick here is Lewis by KO in the 7th round and Tyson only gets to eat the canvas and make excuses.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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