Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Mike Tyson: The Saddest Man on the Planet. Part 3
Read Part 1.
Read Part 2.

The other documentary I came across was Fox’s Beyond the Glory – Mike Tyson.  Narrated by Ice T, the programme opens with Tyson’s loss to Lennox Lewis (a fight that broke the box-office record, grossing $104m), claiming that this was the moment Tyson “hit rock bottom”.   It includes footage from throughout his career and interviews with Tyson.  It doesn’t take long to realise that the Lennox Lewis fight was not the moment Tyson hit “rock bottom” he was already there. 

Teddy Atlas, one of Tyson’s original trainers describes Tyson as a young man who had amazing talent, but was emotionally unstable.  This is illustrated by footage of a young Tyson crying before his first bout at the Olympic games, seeking reassurance from Atlas who has to console him.  Tyson went on to win the fight in eight seconds, recording the fastest ever knockout at the Olympic games. 

The interview with Atlas goes on to describe a darker truth, that Tyson was accused of numerous allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards females when at school.  Atlas claimed that Cus D ’Amato used the promise that Tyson would one day make the area famous as a way to get the school governors not to take action.   With the allegations brushed under the carpet, Mike was taken out of school with the promise of home tutoring, something that never happened.  Atlas could see that Mike needed more discipline in his life, but Cus was getting old and wanted one last chance at training a world champion, so neglected this in pursuit of his dream.  Atlas didn’t remain in the Tyson camp long after an incident in which Tyson groped Atlas’ 11-year-old niece’s bum.  Atlas confronted Cus about the incident, but no action was taken and the two parted company.  

The man once called Iron Mike, no longer seemed indestructible.  Overweight and forlorn Tyson tells the interviewer that he has no friends, that people only want to use him, “they don’t love me, it’s all this [gestures to his house], it’s easy to fall in love with all this money”.  He claims that he’s a monster as that is how people view him that boxing had made him and consumed him. 

Whilst Tyson admits that his prison sentence broke him as a man, he contradicts this by saying he never wanted to leave, that he felt comfortable in prison.  Tyson is so angry at the world; the bullies from his youth; his ex-wife, Robin Givens; Don King and of course Denise Washington.  As the title of the documentary, “Beyond the Glory” suggests, this one hour and thirty minute documentary does exactly just that, placing the spotlight on his violent verbal outbursts, dirty tactics in the ring (including the ear biting incident), vulgar views on women, drug abuse and mental health.  It’s hard to see why Tyson agreed to this being made, I can only assume for the money. 

At the end of the documentary I’m left feeling uneasy by how blindly I had followed and supported him throughout and after his career, but equally sad for the Tyson that was put in front of me.  A Tyson who has no love in his life, “I have no chance to love anyone or care for anybody because I was so stuck in the past. The past is a glorious moment, isn’t it?”

I still believe that Tyson was a great fighter who should have had it all.  Despite all the evidence presented to me, it’s hard to see where it all went wrong.  This perplexes me as much as it does Tyson himself, as revealed in an emotional closing address to camera: “Why can’t I have what I want? I worked hard for it.  I sweated for it.  I didn’t steal it.  I bled in the gym for it.  I beat my body up and allowed people to beat me up. Why shouldn’t I have it all?”


James Glazebrook said...

Just finished watching Tyson: The Movie. saddest moment was actually when he gave up the McBride fight - "I don't have the fighting guts... I don't want to disrespect the sport". Aw, Mikey :-(

James Glazebrook said...

Will this be depressing?


Post a Comment