|ON THE ROPES...|
What's your ruling on the Tyson bite?
July 15, 1997
Other questions asked in this forum:
Why wasn't Tyson kicked out of boxing for his rape conviction? What is the historical link between the lower/working classes and boxing? Why is boxing's fate linked to Mike Tyson? What is beautiful and intriguing about boxing?
June 30, 1997:
Paul Solman examines the Tyson bite and the effect it will have on public support for boxing.
The NewsHour's sport coverage.
Excerpts from Joyce Carol Oates on Mike Tyson.
Mike Tyson's record.
Evander Holyfield's record.
A question from John Lynch of Framingham, MA:
How has the character of boxers and fighters changed over the years? What does it say about our modern times that the most famous boxer is not the Title holder, Holyfield, but his monstrous enemy, Mike Tyson?
Joyce Carol Oates responds:
When a "famous" or notorious boxer has been deposed as champion, it's usually the case that the reigning titleholder is less well known and commercially attractive than the contender. When Muhammad Ali was fighting Larry Holmes and Joe Frazier, for instance, this was the case. Mike Tyson was once justly perceived as a potentially great heavyweight boxer and expectations die slowly--though in fact, in performance, Tyson has not been a very skilled boxer since his loss to Buster Douglas in 1990.
Professor Gorn responds:
I would say that in important ways, boxing is the same socio-economically as it was one or even two hundred years ago. Even in the old bare-knuckle days, which ended in America in 1892, the ring attracted men from working-class backgrounds, especially immigrants and minorities. There were always exceptions, but most boxers saw the ring as a way out of poverty and obscurity. And most were wrong, since so few boxers ever receive financial rewards that resemble a good living. So while the ethnic and racial groups themselves have changed (more Irish-Americans in the nineteenth century, Jews early in the twentieth, Italians a little later, African-Americans and Latinos for the past few decades) the presence of young men from relatively disadvantaged groups has not changed.