If Mike Tyson is really back, then could America be far behind? OK, excuse the excitement.
The former heavyweight champion boxer isn’t going to cure COVID-19 or help flatten the curve. But he does look capable of flattening an opponent, even at the age of 53.
On Monday, Tyson released on his Instagram account video of a recent boxing workout. In less than 24 hours, the video had more than 6.5 million views.
Can you imagine the eyeballs Tyson would draw if he actually got into the ring?
There is lots of gray in that beard of his, and lots of pop in those punches. On the video, he looked as ferocious as the old “Iron Mike,’’ pounding boxing mitts with speed and power. He looked hungry, too. Hungry enough to munch on someone’s ear, in fact.
Speaking of ears, Evander Holyfield, 57, has said he’d be interested in stepping into the ring with Tyson for an exhibition match. Of course, the last time they fought, in 1997, Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear and was disqualified.
You think this is a publicity stunt? Not me. Unlike Floyd Mayweather, Tyson hasn’t continually teased us about the possibility of coming out of retirement. His intentions seem as real as his power seemed raw during the video.
On Tyson’s Instagram page, rapper 50 Cent wrote, “Mike look like he can win another title.’’
The idea is not outrageous. At 46, George Foreman won a heavyweight title in 1994 when he knocked out Michael Moorer, then 26. and Bernard Hopkins won a light heavyweight championship at 48 when in 2013 he scored a unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud, then 31.
But this time, Tyson has suggested, he would be fighting not for a championship belt, but for a good cause — and that good cause is us. No basketball. No football. No baseball. It’s a brutally barren landscape for sports fans.
But UFC’s event Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida showed it may be possible to safely stage combat sports during the pandemic. So, if mixed martial arts fighters can mix it up in an Octagon, why not Mike Tyson and Holyfield?
Sure, Tyson hasn’t been in the ring since 2005, when he failed to answer the bell for the seventh round against Kevin McBride. But now Tyson appears ready to answer the bell for us, based on the seductive words he uttered at the end of the video he released.
“I’m back,’’ Tyson said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY