Despite all the troubles that Tyson, 32, has caused, he remains boxing's biggest draw — when he fights, people pay to watch. We can't help but do so, just as we stare when passing by car wrecks and linger just a bit too long on the Jerry Springer show as we flip through the channels. It is only a matter of time before this car wreck gets another title shot. His stated plan is to fight four times this year, culminating with a late 1999 bout with Holyfield.
Saturday Tyson faces South African Francois Botha, a fellow former disgraced champion and a more credible opponent than McNeeley. Botha (39-1) is the man who beat Axel Schulz for the vacant IBF heavyweight title in December 1995, but was then stripped of the belt due to a positive test for steroids.
Botha shouldn't put up much of a fight, although he has a lot of Rocky Balboa in him, meaning he sure can take a punch. But would you expect any less from a man they call the "White Buffalo"? Tyson will have to work for a knockout.
If you believe the incessant television promos for this fight, Tyson has been training diligently and will enter the ring in the best shape of his life. He does have a new trainer in widely respected Tommy Brooks and he is running out of chances. Oh yeah, he's $13 million in debt to Uncle Sam for back taxes, on probation, and if he messes up again he could go back to jail. All of that could add up to a re-energized and refocused fighter.