Last of Tyson? Probably not

Alan Hubbard suggests talk of retirement ignores basic economics

Andrew Golota, the Polish refusenik, may have quit but, despite his pre-fight pronouncement, it is highly improbable that Mike Tyson will do the same. For one thing, he cannot afford to call time on his tormented career just yet. He still owes the taxman, among others, too much money, and the $10m he earned when Golota decided that discretion was the better part of an inevitable mugging will not sustain his lifestyle for long.

Andrew Golota, the Polish refusenik, may have quit but, despite his pre-fight pronouncement, it is highly improbable that Mike Tyson will do the same. For one thing, he cannot afford to call time on his tormented career just yet. He still owes the taxman, among others, too much money, and the $10m he earned when Golota decided that discretion was the better part of an inevitable mugging will not sustain his lifestyle for long.

There are many who believe that Tyson is simply an incorrigible psychopath, yet he continues to behave more like a sad schizophrenic, humble, articulate and oozing decent, civilised thoughts one day and a monstrous raving loony the next. So what he says about almost anything can be taken with a stiff pinch of ring resin. He will fight on because he has to, for all sorts of reasons, the most compelling of which is the prospect of sharing a $100m payday with Lennox Lewis.

Lewis, who watched what he described as "a circus" from his Pennsylvania training camp, scoffs at Tyson's threat to retire: "When Tyson makes a comment I don't take it 100 per cent. I realise he's a disturbed person, it's like listening to a madman talking. I think the public are starving to see a proper fight. They want to see me take him out of boxing."

Even if that doesn't work out (it is not inconceivable that Lewis could come unstuck against Tyson's big-punching pal David Tua next month) there is the possibility of a third meeting with the bitten but not smitten Evander Holyfield, who says he is up for it, or a way back to a world title through Ukraine's World Boxing Organisation champion Vladimir Klitchsko.

Tyson is not short of prospective opponents, good, bad or equally as faint-hearted as Golota, whose walk-off part in boxing's latest farce brought him the dubious distinction of completing Tyson's hat-trick of pugilistic patsies this year. Better men than Golota have quit on their stool - Sonny Liston among them - but none quite so abjectly. We should have known what to expect: Golota has turned his back on impending pain before, in the manner of the playground bully he so often resembles.

But one swallow does not make an Indian summer, and it is still difficult to assess Tyson's current capability. Physically he is leaner and mentally he seems even meaner, but the legs and the reflexes have yet to be tested and, if we really are to believe him, the fires of ambition are now a dying ember.

We shall see. To his credit, in a match that was supposedly made in Hades, Tyson did not put a foot, or a fist, out of line, and gave Golota no opportunity to do so, either. Whether he would be so self-disciplined against more adventurous opposition remains open to question. What did seem evident was his frustration at being unable to complete the demolition of Golota. There was still a balloon of anger there waiting to be pricked. The concern is that, as he struggles to harness that unrequited fury while he contemplates his future, someone is likely to get hurt.

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