Having Mike Tyson as a son-in-law? Creepy. Having Mike Tyson as your boxing promoter? Dream come true.
Some fighters might shun the spectacle of having a promoter more feared and infamous than they are. But Tyson is proving himself a true boon to his burgeoning stable of fighters, in particular southpaw welterweight Erickson Lubin, 18.
So far undefeated professionally, and all by knockout, Lubin’s name has been working its way into one Tyson interview after another these days. As opposed to the other fighters signed in the past year or so with his Iron Mike Productions outside Orlando, Florida, Erickson Lubin doesn’t need to be coddled along and is ready for a full-fledged race for the belt.
“There are exceptions to the rule,” Tyson told Boxing Scene. “I was one, and I believe that Erickson Lubin will be one. We have some very young talent that we will develop slowly, but this kid is different. He clearly has great talent but he is also mentally tough and he’s ahead of everyone at this age, and he can handle it. He left the amateurs because he got bored; he wanted a challenge.”
Tyson said his new gym didn’t have those types of sparring challenges, so he sent Lubin on a road trip: “The first day in our gym he said that he wanted to spar with the best pros in the world. After a few months in the gym, we had to send him out on the road to other cities and other gyms where he could spar with the best.”
With every fight Lubin’s dominated, critics have blamed his promoters of being easy on the youngster. Not so, Tyson says:
“When we have matched him in fights with contemporaries, everyone has said that we fought him too soft. There is no competition in four-round or six-round fights for him. The only way to really see him develop and to challenge him is to step him up. That is what he wants. Actually, that is what he demands. And when he has gone and sparred with some of the best guys in the world, he’s been dominant. This kid is one of the most exciting young fighters on the planet. He is fast and he boxes and he’s like me: mean and he likes to hurt people.”
Speaking of that, Tyson became so notorious for his penchant for inflicting pain during his career, most notably for biting off Evander Holyfield’s ear during a title fight, that Tyson’s name started trending on Twitter last week just because Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez bit somebody for the third time during professional play.
Those days seem to be behind Tyson. Concerning his entrance into the world of promotion, Fight News asked Tyson about his infamous disdain for promoter Don King. He said Don King was never a promoter of boxing, but a promoter of himself:
“Until fighters start upping the ante, finding out who’s the best fighter on the planet, boxing’s really always gonna have a black eye and that’s why MMA is always gonna be superior to boxing because we’re not bringing the best out of our fighters, we’re not bringing the best out of our whole conglomerate as far as the boxing world’s concerned.”
[Image courtesy of Iron Mike Productions]