Arum: Mike Tyson’s KOs Caused Network Issues

Bob Arum could not promote Mike Tyson earlier in his career because he knocked out everyone, damaging relationships with networks that wanted more commercial airtime. 

Tyson was one of the most devastating knockout artists in the world. His first 19 wins were all by way of knockout. His style took him to the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship in 1987, where he beat Tony Tucker in a unanimous decision. Tyson’s first year as a professional included 15 fights, resulting in 15 KO wins. Sponsors wanted to avoid investing in fights that ended early because it limited how long their commercials would be shown to an audience. 

“Tyson was just starting out and we booked him for a whole series of fights. But the problem was he was so intimidating, that he knocked out any opponent that we got him in one round and that wasn’t good for the network that relied on selling commercial time. 

“I think what happened was outside of the ring Tyson misbehaved, and the only way the management could figure out how to keep him out of trouble, was to find him a fight as often as possible.  And we had all these other fighters that we had put on the programme, and so we couldn’t have Tyson fighting on the show, every week or every other week so his management looked for opportunities elsewhere,” Arum said

Now Tyson will face Jake Paul on July 20, live on Netflix. The bout may struggle to get sanctioned as a professional fight since there is a three-decade gap, as Tyson will be 58 by the time the fight comes around. Tyson has not fought since 2020 when he faced Roy Jones Jr. Paul has two KO wins in his last two fights, beating Andre August and Ryan Bourland. But Tyson’s training clips have shown he still has power, which fans may see on fight night. 

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