TRUE to its reputation of being the year where the most bizarre things have happened, 2020 has churned out another aberration—fighters who had their heyday in the ‘80s, making ill-advised comebacks.
Or should I say, planning to make comebacks and I hope it certainly remains that way—in the planning stage.
Mike Tyson, that ear-biting, threatening-to-eat-children, knockout phenom, the youngest man to ever win the heavyweight title, is apparently serious and has even issued a challenge on social media to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to fight him.
And just yesterday in an interview with Ring Magazine (which he owns), Oscar de la Hoya has announced he intends to fight again.
BAD IDEA. Let’s consider the timeline, just to give you an idea of why this is such a bad decision.
Tyson’s prime was in the late ‘80s when he knocked out the likes of Michael Spinks, Frank Bruno and again Larry Holmes.
Corazon Aquino was our President at that time.
Oscar is a bit younger because his prime came a decade later when he beat the likes of Ike Quartey and Julio Cesar Chavez .
And yes, Fidel Ramos was our President and Manny Pacquiao at that time was a skinny flyweight who had just won his first world title.
At that time, I was a skinny freshman at UP Diliman. Now, my eldest child is going to be a freshman this year at DLSU.
OSCAR. The Golden Boy did lay down a few caveats. First, he would like to see how Tyson would do. And next, he would fight at 160 lbs., the middleweight limit. He would also want Floyd Mayweather Sr. to train him and lastly, it would not be a charity or exhibition bout but a real fight against the best fighters.
The scary thing is that the “Golden Boy” sounds as serious as a heart attack.
And what’s even scarier is that unlike Tyson who still has the added task of looking for a promoter, Oscar, being the owner of Golden Boy Promotions, can actually just do it in a heartbeat.
LAYOFFS. The thing about comebacks is that the number of years the fighter was in a layoff matters a lot. For example, a layoff of almost three years is in itself not a death sentence. An example would be former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko who retired in 2004 and came back successfully in 2008 to stop formidable puncher Samuel Peter.
The fighter with the longest layoff and with the most successful comeback has got to be George Foreman.
After losing to Jimmy Young in 1977, Foreman retired and became a preacher. Then he made a comeback 10 years later and slowly made his way up the rankings—culminating in a heavyweight championship victory against Michael Moorer in 1994.
In Oscar’s case, if he gets to fight next year at the earliest, it would have been 13 years since his last fight—a TKO loss to Manny Pacquiao in December of 2008.
That said, Oscar wasn’t exactly a fighter in the apogee of his sport when he retired after that loss.
Don’t do it, Oscar. You are nearing 50 already. You’re the Golden Boy of boxing, not the Golden Age Boxer.
LAST ROUND. It’s on John Unchuan, doting dad to Alex and Juan, and loving hubby to Atty. Carrie De La Serna-Unchuan, who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!