Tyson vs. Lewis: Iron Mike says he wasn’t ready

Tyson vs. Lewis was a fight that would always happen, no matter where or when – it had to. But Mike Tyson believes Pay Per View organizers pushed him into facing Lennox Lewis in their 2002 collision.

The fight got moved to Memphis without a Las Vegas license, another factor stacked against “The Baddest Man on the Planet.”

Not since the controversial Orlin Norris in 1999 had Tyson been granted the chance to compete on the Las Vegas strip. He would never again be able to grace his boxing home.

With all the build-up and the fact Tyson was already out of control, the Lewis fight was only going one way.

Lewis was too big, too skilled, and too calm for Tyson, who, by his future admissions, he was a trainwreck.

“If ever I was to go against Tyson, what old fight would I turn back to? Ali-Frazier. But I believe I can knock anybody out, including Tyson. If they just stand there for one second and let me generate all my body mechanics,” Lewis told GQ regarding his confidence going into the event.

By the time they did trade blows, Tyson had bitten off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear, tried to break Andrew Golota’s arm, and blasted Norris after the bell.

Mike Tyson Lennox Lewis HBO

Tyson vs. Lewis

Despite his mindset, Tyson believed he still could have given Lewis a fight given more time to prepare.

After the mid-round stoppage, Tyson said in the ring: “I told you guys I wasn’t ready. I told you I wasn’t ready for the fight, but you kept offering the money. What was I supposed to do?”

The truth is, Mike Tyson was taking drugs between fights, drinking too much, and was under the influence for the latter part of his career.

Knockout losses to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride after the Lewis fight paint a different picture of just how good Tyson was then.

Even if Tyson had a year to prepare and didn’t ingest any substances, Lewis would have still done a number on him.

The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.

WBN Editor Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Follow WBN on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.