South Slope. Asheville.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tyson Fights

I saw the Mike Tyson-Michael Spinks fight at Dothan (AL) Civic Center on Pay-Per-View.  I sat with my uncle, Don McClendon, and someone else.  I think I rode down there with them.  We had floor seats, right in front of the screen, not many rows back.  We sat on metal folding chairs.  Maybe they were cushioned, a bit. Everybody was geared up for fight.  I think we paid $20 a ticket to see it on a huge screen with hundreds of other people!  We talked about how steep the ticket price was, but that the fight was too compelling not to see it.  It had that kind of draw.  And then it was over in a flash!  When I got home and watched the local news - WTVY - I saw my brother Miles, who was also at the Civic Center, with his friends, being interviewed.  As the crowd was leaving, the reporter asked him what he thought of Tyson's quick work of Spinks, and I think he simply said, "It was awesome!" 

Mike Tyson's loss to Buster Douglas in Tokyo stunned everybody.  I was in college, at Samford University, and the weekend of the fight my fraternity was in the dancing and singing competition, Step-Sing.  My mind certainly wasn't on boxing!  But truly, Tyson had become so invincible, it was a foregone conclusion he'd win any bout, and convincingly. I'm sure that's even a bigger reason I didn't think about it.  So after a Friday or Saturday Step-Sing performance ended, everyone started exiting the preforming arts center.  I remember it being a very cool, crisp night, and I was walking across the parking lot.  And then I heard someone say, "Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson!"  I would have been less shocked had aliens come to earth!  And as I write this, I can't think of any sports outcome that has come remotely close to eclipsing how that news hit me.  To me, Mike Tyson was unstoppable - almost like Hercules!
Although I wasn't a huge boxing fan, the dominant fighter that was Mike Tyson, captured my attention, as he did to lots of people.  He was ferocious, and scary!  A force.  A year or two before Tyson's loss to Douglas, I read a biography of Tyson, Fire & Fear.  Looking at the publishing date, rather than it being my Senior year of high school, I likely read the book my first summer home from college, when I worked at the bank.  My memory is a bit hazy, but I would say that I purchased the book on discount at Walden Books in Wiregrass Commons Mall (Dothan, AL).  Of course, I was VERY religious back then.  And when I read the biography, the details about Tyson's personal life, especially the months leading up to and after he became champion, were so salacious and graphic, I felt guilty reading it - like I was sinning or something.  His life was crazy!  And yet it appealed to me, in a sick kind of way.  Who would not want to be on top of the world?!?!  Tyson was a mega-star.

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