This is a strange age, for boxing, for the world economy, for the whole world.
The show must go on, that adage holds, because there has to be economic activity, or systems come to a halt.
The planners of the Mike Tyson comeback ran head-first into these realities as they put together the plan to bring Tyson back to where he's been comfortable, but also a place he'd come to loathe.
“Iron Mike” became a bit jaded, as fame and pursuing fortune messed with his mind, and had him pondering his reason for existing. After scuffling for a couple decades, Tyson emerged in the last few years as a survivor type, someone who isn't afraid to show their psychic scars, and also admit that living ain't easy. Thirty five years after his pro debut, 15 years after he hung up the mitts, it wasn't debatable that he was still regarded by the masses as an icon. But to what degree? Would Tyson be able to collect enough interest to do an exhibition, and have that presented on pay per view?
The answer, judging by sampling of social media traffic on Saturday night, when the 54 year old podcaster/weed enthusiast/author/stage star stepped back into a boxing ring, and threw down, against fellow oldster Roy Jones Jr, is YES. I watched, and thought it was time and money reasonably well spent.
How many others did? I asked someone who toils in the PPV arena, who reached out to his contact high up the ladder within the cable/satellite constellation.
“The Tyson pay per view event will do over 1 million buys for sure,” my guy told me. I pressed further and he said that extrapolating early results, maybe it does 1.2 million, likely not over 1.5 million. This, by the way, is not an exact science, in fact it's not science at all, there is no squad of auditors who count buys like some states counted and re-counded ballots cast in the big rumble that occured Nov. 3.
Bob Arum on Tuesday afternoon told me he heard the Tyson extravaganza, which got high marks mostly from people who liked the irreverence, like how they had Snoop Dogg providing “analysis” which played as high comedy for many people who came to the party wondering how Tyson would fare, did “over one million.”
Not everyone dug it, one ultra high level boxing insider told me he bought the $50 pay per view, but turned it off three rounds into the Tyson-Jones fight, because, he said, the fighting looked like it was choreographed, it was clear to him that punches were being pulled, and he felt like this was simply a sucker cash grab.
“To me,” the guy said, “it was a snoozer. The first round told me everything I needed to know. It was the equivalent of a pro wrestling match…It certainly wasn't the fiery competition that Tyson described in the lead-up.”
Some salient points made there. Indeed, moving forward, it will be interesting to see how things proceed with the next one.
Tyson worked with the platform Triller, which seeks to yank TikTok from their throne and be platform king of user-made content consisting of skits-dancing-lip syncing.
I'm guessing whatever number they inform the press watched the PPV Saturday, they saw this play as a success.
But for the next one, will Tyson again suggest he will be looking to seperate his foes' head from his shoulders? Or will he tell possible buyers that he is a new man, and giving the peasants their pound of flesh simply isn't what he wants to provide?
Would the buy rate from the first Tyson/Triller foray then dip, because the novelty factor has worn off?
Here is an undeiable fact. Tyson is still an attraction. I and you knew that before, but, I think, it's true on a grander scale than we'd assumed. Triller, I think, presumed more correctly what the appetite for Tyson could be.