Friday, September 15, 2006

When Iron Mike Tyson was a gallant gentleman in Houston, Texas

On Nov. 13, 1985, Mike Tyson competed in his 11th professional prizefight, and it was in Houston, TX.

As recorded for posterity in "Mike Tyson's Greatest Hits, Volume I," Houston sportscaster Bill Worrell was the announcer. Beside him was Mickey Herskowitz, then employed by The Houston Post.
Tyson was relatively unknown to the general public, but he was getting noticed by hardcore boxing fights. Each of his 10 previous fights were won by knockouts; few last beyond the first round.

Nevertheless, Herskowitz set the stage for a competitive fight for the TV viewing audience:

"Well, you're looking at a very interesting and complicated matchup. Eddie Richardson (Tyson's opponent, from Tyler, TX) is 6-foot-6 against Mike Tyson, who is described as 5-11 but is closer to 5-10 because of the squarishness of his build.
It's going to be a really fascinating contest to see how Richardson attempts to use that advantage in height and reach."

Seven seconds into the first round, Tyson put Richardson, whose fight moniker was "Fast Eddie Richardson, on the canvas.

"Right hand, Mike Tyson," said Worrell. "Oh my. The first punch he threw!"

"What took him so long," Herskowitz deadpanned.

The bout continued, but not very long. It ended in less than a minute.

Before Tyson knocked Richardson down a second and final time, Herskowitz managed to tell the TV audience that Tyson's 19 and three-quarter inch neck was approximately the size of actress Shelly Duvall's waist. (She's from Houston, but Herskowitz did not divulge how he knew such deatails of the homegrown girl's vital statistics.)

"One of the real rising stars in the boxing galaxy today," Herskowitz added.

Right about then, Tyson put Fast Eddie down for good with a left hook that appeared to lift him, briefly, into midair.

When the ref ended the fight, Tyson walked across the ring to help Fast Eddie to his feet.

Richarson, described by the ring announcer as "the Southern Boxing Champion" (whatever that was), was still sitting on a stool in his corner after Tyson was announced as the winner.

Again, Tyson walked over to check on the well-being of his groggy opponent.

"Very gallantly and gentlemanly," Herskowitz noted.

The ring announcer told the crowd that Tyson's record now was a perfect 12 and 0.

Worrell said they perhaps should check that statistic.

"He maybe knocked somebody out in the hallway on the way to the ring."

By the time Tyson ended his career, his record stood at 50 wins, 6 losses, 2 "no contests," 44 Knockouts and one rape conviction, for which he spent time in prison.

He won the undisputed heavyweight title in 1987 and lost it in 1990.

Fast Eddie Richardson kept fighting after his defeat in 1985 to Tyson, but the lanky boxer won only three of his next 18 fights through 1991.

After a 5-year hiatus, he returned to the ring in 1998 in Baton Rouge, but lost that bout as well as the last three fights of his career. He finished with 14 wins and 27 losses.

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