Inside this week | Inside Mike’s Mind

September 14th, 2013

This article is more than 10 years old.

Jake ‘Raging Bull’ LaMotta, ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson (or Leonard), ‘Marvellous’ Marvin Hagler and Thomas ‘The Hitman’ Hearns – these boxers might have had brilliant nicknames and been involved in some of the best fights in history, but there’s something about heavyweight boxing that the other divisions can’t match.

Sure, the last decade – be it the mutant clones from Ukraine, the arrogant posturing of the Brits, or that Russian orc, seemingly plucked off the pages of a graphic novel – has been lacking in charm, but it will bounce back when it finds a new all-American hero to embrace: a Rocky for the 21st century.

There’s something soulful and deeply moving about a once great fighter hitting the canvas for the last time. Joe Louis set the standard, continuing long after his best was over. When the final bell came, against Rocky Marciano no less, it was like the end of King Kong.

And many followed:  from Muhammad Ali bowing out against Larry Holmes in 1980, to Holmes losing to Mike Tyson in 1988, to Tyson getting beaten by … Tyson.

Tyson might have been a savage in the ring, and by all accounts the bedroom too, but he had no worse enemies than himself. For nearly two years now, he’s been touring with a one-man stage show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth – Live on Stage, and next March, he’s bringing it to Copenhagen. See G8 for more details.

The show rather bizarrely has a director and it is none other than Spike Lee, who on opening night, the Guardian observed, looked “like the class geek who can’t believe the toughest kid in school wants to hang out with him”.

The choice of director for the Formula 1 film Rush also surprised a fair few. Not really sure why – it’s not like there haven’t been American F1 drivers before. And Hunt the Shunt isn’t the first quintessential Brit to get the Ron Howard treatment, as he also worked with screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen) on Frost/Nixon. It would appear that Howard is becoming quite the Anglophile.

Tyson liked the British, or at least he enjoyed smashing in Frank Bruno’s face. Now there was a heavyweight sob story – a nation’s soft spot that turned out to be on his jaw.   


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