Mike Tyson Says the Current Heavyweight Rosters Like Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, and Others “Doesn’t Have the Character”

Published 06/20/2022, 2:15 PM EDT

The omnipresent capitalist mode of production has long taken over the sport, and like a vulnerable species, boxing has significantly evolved over the past decades. Undoubtedly, like any other sport that has attained the label of ‘profession’, the evolution of boxing is man-willed and man-propelled.

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Back-to-back pay-per-views attracted a global audience and hence brought enormous exposure to the sport. However, it simultaneously pushed boxing to be a part of the culture industry and hence be reduced to a tailored product for consumption by the masses, ‘manufactured more or less according to plan’.

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Being part of the Culture Industry, ‘Boxing’ today discloses a variety of foreseen yet hard-to-deal-with symptoms. Former world champion and legendary boxer Mike Tyson has recently spoken of one. Of course, he implied more than what he said. Let us have a look at Tyson’s bold statement concerning the heavyweight division in present-day boxing.

“Boxing doesn’t have a personality”: Mike Tyson speaks about the lack of character

Recently, The Talks interviewed Mike Tyson. Among all the other questions regarding Tyson’s life and his attachment to boxing, they asked ‘Iron’ why heavyweight boxing now does not seem to have the “popular appeal” it had before. In response, this is what Tyson said:

“Well, it doesn’t have the character. Every part of entertainment needs a character. If you don’t have a character… being skillful, that’s nice too, but it’s more than being very skillful. You have to have a personality and boxing doesn’t have a personality.”

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – DECEMBER 8: Heavyweight fighter Mike Tyson enters the ring before he faces Alex Stewart in a ten round heavyweight fight December 8, 1990 at the Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Tyson won the fight with a KO in the first round. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Tyson’s response comprises two distinct characteristics he believes present-day boxing lacks. On one hand, he talks about showmanship to preserve and further entertainment, and on the other, a more or less defying character to worship and admire.

This leads us to a question. Does the current heavyweight roster that comprises Tyson Fury (although retired), Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua, and others not have the showmanship or the defying character Tyson speaks of in his interview? Let us inspect the probable reason.

Why does the current heavyweight roster comprising Joshua, Fury, and others not have the popular appeal anymore?

Well, there are many ways to go about it. However, the study of production and social science offers an immediate and irrefutable answer. It is an undeniable fact that when a heavyweight like Muhammad Ali decades ago stood for resistance and change, most of the major athletes today stand for personal and material gain from boxing.

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American heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali walks through the streets with members of the Black Panther Party, New York, New York, September 1970. Ali was sentenced to five years in prison and his championship title revoked after he was convicted of draft evasion upon his refusal to serve with the American army in Vietnam upon grounds of conscientious objection. The decision was overtuned in 1971 but Ali became a figurehead of resistance and a hero of the people.

Ali never had to worry about PPV, and he almost jeopardized his boxing career for what he believed in as a human. Isn’t it hard possessing a defying character when you are to serve and earn through the established and revered system of the ‘Culture Industry’ of which boxing today is a part?

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Say what you may, but boxing has not lost showmanship entirely yet. The problem probably is that the sort of showmanship once defined the sport has slowly walked to an end.

Anyway, what do you have to say about this matter? Do you agree with Mike Tyson’s statement? Would you say that heavyweight boxing today lacks character and popular appeal? What is the difference that strikes you the most? Well, think about it. And, let us know in the comments below.

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Samrat Sardar

192 articles

Samrat Sardar is a Boxing writer at EssentiallySports and is currently a final year undergraduate student of English literature. A passionate content creator, he has been writing since his high school days, and possesses work experience as a commercial writer for companies such as WordsKraft among others. Samrat believes he fell in love with boxing the day he watched Vasiliy Lomachenko share the ring with Guillermo Rigondeaux.

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