Hall of fame boxing commentator Steve Farhood has been calling fights ringside for over 40 years and has worked with Showtime watching many fighters throughout their careers. He has seen young fighters rise to become champions and then pass the torch on the next generation as their careers comes to a close. There have been very few fighters to rise like Mike Tyson and this past weekend we saw him return to the ring at age 54 against future hall fame fighters Roy Jones Jr, fifteen years after his last professional fight.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Steve Farhood, I discuss with him the return of Mike Tyson and get his thoughts on how Mike looked as an over 50 year old fighter. Steve also shares his views on Roy Jones Jr and spoke on a possible trilogy match with Evander Holyfield. Additionally, Steve talked about how Mike Tyson would do against a top 30 contender. Here is what Steve Farhood had to say.
Jenna J: Mike Tyson returned this past weekend at the age of 54 against Roy Jones Jr. What were your thoughts on his comeback?
Steve Farhood: I guess it was a fitting fight for 2020. Anything normal is probably not going to happen this year. Seeing Mike Tyson at age 54, basically based on a video that he put on social media where he was hitting the pads. That is basically what got people interested in him and then sure enough what happens, I heard a report that there were as many as a million PPV buys, where some of the best fighters in the world today can’t do 400k.
That’s pretty amazing and it talks a lot about Tyson’s continued appeal and his appeal to a new generation. It’s hard for people my age to understand there is a whole new generation and people in their early 20’s and mid 20’s who didn’t see Mike Tyson fight the first time around and missed all that excitement and there was plenty of it. So I think that’s part of the appeal.
My impression on the fight itself is Mike did what he could do, the fight was not particularly appealing because of Roy Jones’s holding, but Mike wanted to fight and I’m not claiming he’s anywhere near where he was 30 years ago, but non the less he wanted to make it a fight so I give him credit for that and he legitimately got into pretty decent shape all things considered.
Jenna J: Now we have seen a lot of fighters comeback at an older age, but Tyson looks pretty good in comparison to what we have seen. How do you think he looked for someone of his age?
Steve Farhood: Well it’s interesting, short pressure fighters like Tyson and Marciano have very short primes, they don’t last because as soon as that lack of height and reach is no longer an advantage it becomes a huge disadvantage. So a guy like Tyson at 34 was not going to be anywhere near the level he was 25. Now he’s 54 and as long as expectations are held in check and people understand that what your getting is older timers day and not a legitimate fighter or a relevant fighter then it’s ok. It’s all about expectations and I don’t think anyone who remembers Tyson is his prime was expecting that much in terms of a competitive fight.
Jenna J: When you look at both Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr from this past weekend, who do you think has more left in terms of ability to fight?
Steve Farhood: Probably Tyson, because Roy first of all was a lighter fighter and now he is fighting much heavier and he depended in his prime on tremendous instincts and reflexes and as we saw when he was an active pro he was getting knocked out by Enzo Mac and fighters like that where a lot of those instincts and reflexes were gone. I think Tyson who depends on raw aggressiveness and muscle and punching power is more likely at an advanced age to be effective then a fighter who depended on what Roy Jones depended on. Roy didn’t do enough fighting to have the fans say I want to see him again against somebody else, where lets say if Tyson fought in an exhibition against an Evander Holyfield it probably would sell because Tyson looked viable as a 54 year old fighter.
Jenna J: Do you think Evander Holyfield is the next logical opponent for Mike Tyson?
Steve Farhood: Well I think so if he’s going to go the exhibition route. Now what’s going to be very interesting and this sounds crazy at first, but is there a chance that Mike is going to want to get a boxing license and box as a professional again. Now you say what commission is going to allow that, Nevada’s not, California’s not, New York’s not but there is always Arkansas and there is always Mississippi, states with weak commissions or no commissions at all or there is fighting abroad. So if he’s encouraged enough about what happened and the PPV buys then who knows there is a possibility that he might may want to take a crack at coming back and that sounds ridiculous and insane, but again this is 2020 so nothing would surprise me.
Jenna J: When you talk about Tyson getting a boxing license again, and keeping things in check. If he were to comeback in a pro fight do you think he is at all capable of beating anyone in the top 30?
Steve Farhood: No, I can say that right away, no. His lack of stamina which comes with being 54 would affect him. I picture Mike in a legitimate fight against a younger opponent, being much like the Mike who fought Lennox Lewis, which means for a round maybe two rounds he would be a danger because he could still punch. He would be winging those big left hooks, but any fighter who gets out of the first couple rounds against him who is a legitimate fighter or a legitimate top 30 contender I think is going to beat him and I think Mike will ultimately beat himself because he’s not going to have the stamina to keep throwing those kind of punches for 8 or 10 rounds and lets not forget they were 2 minute rounds, not 3 minute rounds so that’s a big difference.