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Saturday, June 11, 2005
No 'guts', no glory for Tyson in defeat

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

WASHINGTON – Now it finally appears to be over for Mike Tyson.

Once the most feared fighter alive, the so-called "Baddest Man on the Planet," Tyson is no longer that man. Not even close.

Now he appears to be nothing more than a 38-year-old pug with little to offer other than his famous name.

Unheralded Kevin McBride, who was barely seen or heard during this promotion, delivered a beating to Tyson until the former champion quit on his stool after the wild sixth round on Saturday night before 15,472 at the MCI Center.

"I do not have the guts to be in this sport anymore," Tyson said. "I don't want to disrespect the sport that I love. My heart is not into this anymore. I'm sorry for the fans who paid for this. I wish I could have done better. I want to move on with my life. It's time to move on with my life and be a father, take care of my children."

Tyson, the former two-time heavyweight champion was trying to rebound from last summer's shocking fourth-round knockout loss to Danny Williams and make one more run at the title, not to mention trying to dig himself out of bankruptcy.

Mike Tyson
Tyson hit the canvas in the sixth round, apparently his last as a pro fighter.

But these losses aren't so shocking anymore. Tyson (50-6) has lost three of his last four fights, including a title challenge to then-champ Lennox Lewis in 2002.

McBride, 32, from Ireland, took everything Tyson had to offer and never wavered, not even when Tyson purposely head butted him in the sixth round, ripping open a cut in the corner of McBride's left eye.

The ringside doctor examined the cut and referee Joe Cortez deducted two points from Tyson for the foul. But with blood streaking down his face, McBride went back into the battle after cursing at Tyson, who was incredibly winning on two of the three scorecards even with the deductions. He led 57-55 on two while McBride was ahead 57-55 on the other.

Tyson came out strong in the sixth, going for the knockout. McBride absorbed some heavy shots but never seemed to be in trouble.

Tyson was growing increasingly frustrated with the 271-pound McBride, who had a 38-pound weight advantage. He used it to his advantage, leaning on Tyson and tying him up whenever Tyson would try to unload.

With Tyson pinned along the ropes and McBride leaning on him, he smashed his head into McBride's face with a little more than 2 minutes left in the round.

The fight resumed after a short delay while McBride had the cut examined. When it did, McBride landed a brutal uppercut that rocked Tyson in the final 20 seconds of the round.

Right as the bell sounded Tyson went down on his backside along the ropes, but Cortez ruled it a slip. An exhausted Tyson didn't look like he wanted to get up but eventually did and slowly went back to his corner.

Moments later, the fight was over, and McBride (33-4-1, 28 KOs) and his crew were celebrating.

"This win was for the pride of Ireland," said McBride, who fought for Ireland in the 1992 Olympics. "I proved everyone wrong tonight."

Said McBride trainer Goody Petronelli, "He roughed him up and he got the better of him."

McBride had been considered nothing more than a journeyman, losing the two times he previously had stepped up in competition. He had also lost twice to sub-.500 fighters, including a third-round knockout by Michael Murray in 1998. Murray finished his career on a 1-17 skid – the only win coming against McBride.

That's how low Tyson had sunk when it came to finding an opponent, and he couldn't even handle him.

Kevin McBride
McBride dreamed about beating Tyson. He made his dream come true.

Muhammad Ali was with Tyson in the dressing room as he had his hands wrapped but even that couldn't inspire Tyson to score one of his famous early knockouts. Nor could new trainer Jeff Fenech.

Tyson came out slow and cautious in the first round. He tried to work the body and landed some body shots but he had a hard time getting inside on the 6-foot-6 McBride, who earned just $150,000 to Tyson's $5 million.

Tyson had an excellent fourth round, storming from the corner and opening up with a powerful right and body shots. He was going for the knockout and McBride looked a little woozy. But he hung in there, even after Tyson landed another left hook and body shot.

McBride tied Tyson up and slowed his momentum. But Tyson could only muster short spurts of activity.

In the fifth, McBride trapped Tyson along the ropes and they traded toe-to-toe for the final 30 seconds of the round. But McBride got in the heavier shots, bouncing Tyson's head from side to side.

One round later, it was over. And so, it appears, is Tyson's career.

Ali dominates Toughill

With her famous father Muhammad Ali at ringside, Laila Ali (21-0, 18 KOs) punished a bloody Erin Toughill (6-2-1) en route to a third-round TKO.

Ali, already regarded as the No. 1 women's fighter in the world, won the WBC women's super middleweight title in the first championship fight sanctioned by the Mexico City-based organization.

"I am the champ. It was wonderful," Ali said. "It adds to my fire to be fighting in front of my father."

She dominated the opening round, landing enough hard shots to leave Toughill bleeding badly from the nose by the end of the round. It was more of the same target practice in the second and third.

Eventually, Ali unloaded a flurry of shots that cornered Toughill, who wilted against the ropes until referee Joseph Cooper stepped in at 1:59. There was only one second left in the round because women fight only two-minute rounds, unlike men, who go three minutes.

"She was cowering in the corner," Ali said. "I tore her up."

In the pay-per-view opener, Sharmba Mitchell (56-4) won a five-round technical decision over Chris Smith (19-2-1) in his welterweight debut.

Mitchell was leading on the scorecards when he and Smith cracked heads accidentally early in the fifth round. Mitchell emerged from the hard clash with a cut under his left eye and appeared in significant pain. He was given time to recover but he didn't and referee Kenny Chevalier stopped the fight on advice of the ringside doctor.

Mitchell was leading on all three scorecards, 50-45, 48-47 and 48-47. He was fighting at 147 pounds for the first time after deciding to move up following last November's third-round knockout loss to then-junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu.

"I got caught with a head butt. End of story," said Mitchell of nearby Tacoma Park, Md., "when we came together our heads clashed and it felt like my eye exploded. I started out well. I was landing my combinations and then we clashed heads."

Smith lost his second fight in a row but looked better against Mitchell than he did in January when he suffered his first defeat, an 11th-round TKO against David Estrada.

The Smith camp was disgusted with the decision to end the bout.

"Sharmba quit, he just quit, that's what he did," said Johnny Bos, Smith's agent. "He didn't want to fight no more. Chris was starting to get to him and when he got a little cut under his eye he checked out."

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.