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This Life!, by Ahmed Yahaya – Joe

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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The recent image of the bone-crusher, “Iron Mike” in a wheelchair really jolted me. It is a poignant reminder that those of us born in the 1960s have already started collecting our boarding passes.

Tick, tock, tick, tock………

According to Ross Perot, “In a boxing match, you can lose the first 14 rounds. All you have to do is nail your opponent in the last 10 seconds of the 15th round and you’re the world’s heavyweight champion.”

Wetin concern Mike Tyson with any yeye 15th round?

He won his first 12 professional fights by knockout in just the first round. In fact, after becoming the world heavyweight champion at just 20 in 1986 he beat Michael Spinks, 10 years his senior by age in only 91 seconds into the first round while many spectators were still struggling to get into their seats to watch the 15-round fight. That was in 1988.

Mike Tyson’s childhood was difficult and as hard as his knuckles.

By the age of 13, he had been arrested 38 times. He was actually in juvenile detention at the age of 16 when a psychologist told his friend, Cus D’Amato, an Italian-American boxing coach over drinks about some angry kid beating up everybody at the correctional center he works.

While the State of New York saw a no-gooder habitually involved in serial burglaries, pickpocketing, snatching jewelry, and punch robbery who would likely end up in life imprisonment or even death on the streets, D’Amato immediately recognized a future champion that just needed emotional stabilization and guidance – mentorship.

In his own words, Tyson explains why he deferred to D’Amato, “I didn’t want to let my mother down. My mother really did a lot. Always going to police stations to get me out.”

Tyson’s father, a career hustler had long skipped town when the future champion was just two years old.

 When Tyson’s mum died, D’Amato and his wife Camille became his legal guardians. They took the kid in and gave him a stable environment that helped in transferring all that aggression into formidable skill.

In February 2022 he punched the living daylights out of a fellow First Class passenger mid-flight and just last month in July he openly announced in a podcast, “When I look into the mirror, I see those little spots on my face, I say, wow. That means my expiration date is coming close, really soon.”

 Asked about his winning formula during his hey-days he answered, “My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. Anybody that fights me has a death wish.”

After declaring bankruptcy in 2003 he announced, “I now finally feel free.”

My favorite Tyson fight was back in 1996 when he knocked out Frank Bruno in the third round in the attached picture. Back then, I was a local champion myself because I had an ABG decoder to watch the fight live.

I vividly remember when Michael Gerard Tyson had a religious epiphany and briefly became Malik Abdul Aziz. I still recall him declaring, “I am a Muslim now, but I think Jesus would have a drink with me. That would be cool.”

He then added, “When Jesus comes back these crazy, greedy, capitalistic men are gonna kill him again.”

The tattoo on his biceps as can be seen features the portrait of Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) the first Black Wimbledon Tennis champion. “Days of Grace” is the title of Ashe’s memoirs.

Tyson’s career low was the “Bite Fight” when he bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear at Las Vegas in 1997.

No doubt, like everybody else, he has his issues. Ups and downs.

I, therefore, wish him a well and speedy recovery.

There was a champion.

One other thing….

In the last 48 hours and still counting there has been constant electricity in my axis of Zaria.

Hope to rise in the nation? I hope so.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

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