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Tyson Takes a Seat, Quits

Former heavyweight champion doesn't answer the bell for the seventh round and loses to McBride.

June 12, 2005|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The end came for Mike Tyson while he was sitting on a stool. The fighter who was once the baddest man on the planet wanted no more.

Looking more like a pathetic, aging fighter than the man who once terrorized the heavyweight division, Tyson's career may have ended Saturday night when he quit after the sixth round after desperately trying to foul his way to a victory against Kevin McBride.

Nineteen years after he became the youngest heavyweight champion ever, Tyson's stamina, speed and ring skills weren't enough to beat a journeyman.

"I don't have the stomach for this anymore," Tyson said. "I most likely won't fight anymore. I'm not going to disrespect the sport by losing to this caliber of fighters."

The sixth round was bizarre even by the standards of a fighter once banned from boxing for biting Evander Holyfield's ears.

Tyson tried to break McBride's arm in the final round, which resulted in a two-point penalty, then tried to hit him low. When all else failed he aimed his head at McBride's forehead, butting him and opening a cut next to his left eye.

"I was desperate," Tyson said. "I wanted to win."

When the round ended, though, it wasn't McBride who was in trouble. It was Tyson, pushed to the canvas by his 6-foot-5, 271-pound opponent, with his head stuck between the ropes. Tyson seemed barely able to get up and, when he did, he wobbled to his corner and sat on the stool for one final time.

"I felt like I was 120 years old," said Tyson, 38.

Trainer Jeff Fenech stroked Tyson's face as referee Joe Cortez came by to ask whether he wanted to continue. Tyson didn't, probably bringing an end to a career that began in spectacular fashion but flamed out amid Tyson's inability to deal with the pressures of being in the spotlight.

Tyson sat on his stool blankly watching McBride's celebration, a white towel draped over his shoulder.

"I could have gone on, but I thought I was getting beat," Tyson said. "I don't think I have it anymore."

It was the third loss in the last four fights for Tyson, who was trying to fight his way out of $40 million in debt and back into contention. But, just as he did against Danny Williams last July, he faded badly as the rounds went on and tried to resort to street fouls to turn the tide against McBride.

Tyson was winning, ahead 57-55 on two scorecards and behind by the same score on a third, when he quit. But the fight had changed and McBride had taken over.

"You're smart too late and old too soon," Tyson said. "I just got caught up in that suction cup. I feel like Rip Van Winkle right now."

Tyson (50-6) was a huge favorite over McBride (33-4-1) and won the early rounds, but as the fight went on, it was McBride landing the bigger punches.

Tyson was paid $5 million for the fight, which was on the low end of purses he has made in his career. After his creditors got $2 million, the IRS got its cut and his ex-wife got $750,000, so there wasn't much left for the fighter.

Tyson owes nearly $40 million, and there were plans for him to fight up to seven times to pay off the debt. But those plans didn't include Tyson taking the kind of beating that McBride was beginning to administer to him in the fifth and sixth rounds.

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