It involved Tyson versus Tyson.
As for Tyson's second toughest fight, it continues, and it will never end. It involves Tyson versus many in society who just won't leave the guy alone.
The gold diggers. The mindless instigators -- you know, those into poking grizzlies with sticks. Oh, and the paparazzi. In fact, one of its members was the primary cause of the latest Mike Tyson Thing this week at Los Angeles International Airport. Tyson exploded (surprise, surprise) after the photographer tried to snap pictures of this famously temperamental former heavyweight boxing champion with his wife and his 10-month-old daughter.
What happened afterward is in dispute between Tyson, the photographer and witnesses, but this is for sure: they all know what they're doing when they invade Tyson's notorious space. They all have an agenda, too, and if you combine that with Tyson versus Tyson, this is a lethal combination.
I'll have one of Tyson's biggest supporters explain that agenda, and he is somebody who will surprise you. He is Holyfield, known for having Tyson use part of his right ear for a snack during a fight.
"People don't want to tell the truth about the things that they see, but I'm going to tell you the truth about what's really going on with Mike Tyson," Holyfield, 47, a noted straight shooter, told FanHouse on Thursday night. He also is boxing's only four-time heavyweight champion, and he captured one of those titles after his first fight with Tyson in November 1996 before their rematch seven months later in Eargate.
"When Mike went to jail (for rape for three years through March 1995) and came back as a Muslim, he understood what it took to be a Muslim. He knew he couldn't curse and do all of these things. So when he came back, he told people, 'I don't want to talk about my past. I paid my debt to society, and I don't want to talk about the past or the girl (that he was convicted of raping).'"
Holyfield raised his voice in disgust, saying, "But these reporters just kept trying to stick him, because just they kept asking him, 'What about this? What about that.' They kept doing this until they could get him upset. They did it on purpose. They just kept saying these smart things to him and all of this. They kept prodding and prodding until he went off and started cursing, and then the attitude (among reporters and society) was, 'Now, see there. I told you he ain't changed.'
"They didn't want him to change, because there wouldn't be anything to write about or to talk about. The whole big thing is that people still want to agitate him, because they don't want him to be different. Everybody hates for a bad guy to become good. It is like they keep saying, 'You ain't going to treat us this way. You've been bad all this time, and now you want to be good? We're not going to let you.'
"People agitate him on purpose, but given the way that he was brought up, he can't see it, and he just don't know any better."
That's true. You already know about Tyson's considerable tales of woe as a youth. If not, here's the quick version: He was a mess. He was abandoned by his father before he was 3. Then, while growing up in the crime-ridden streets of Brooklyn and elsewhere around New York, he was raised by his mother who saw her son get arrested nearly 40 times before puberty. Plus, courtesy of Tyson's distinctive lisp, he was teased often and brutally. "He even was raped. He had people calling him a sissy and all of that kind of stuff, so he needed psychological help, but he never got it," said Holyfield, of his long-time acquaintance, who eventually turned to boxing during his teenage years after trainer Cus D'Amato removed Tyson from reform school.
Before long, Tyson evolved into Iron Mike, The Baddest Man On The Planet, the heavy hitter who destroyed opponents with a single punch -- right through his 91-second gem against previously unbeaten Michael Spinks in July 1988.
The rest isn't pretty. Buster Douglas. Robin Givens and Barbara Walters. That rape conviction. Eargate. His remarks to Lennox Lewis: "I want to eat your heart, and I want to eat his children." Bankruptcy. An arrest for cocaine possession and DUI. The bizarre death of his 4-year-old daughter.
Now this: Both Tyson and that photographer, Tony Echevarria, pressed charges against each other for battery after they were arrested and booked after their encounter this week at LAX. Those present said punches were thrown by both parties, but while Tyson emerged unscathed, Echevarria needed five stitches on his head. As a result, Tyson may have violated his probation for that 2007 drug charge.
Echevarria called the entire situation "traumatizing."
Echevarria is grinning somewhere now after his 15 minutes of fame, or shall we say of infamy?
Just the other day, I saw paparazzi at work. After I walked to within 20 feet of the entrance to a Barnes & Noble store at an outdoor shopping mall in Newport Beach, Calif., I watched two middle-aged men rush out of nowhere from up ahead, and they were challenging Usain Bolt's record in the 100.
They jumped in front of me as two women moved quickly across the nearby parking toward the entrance. The women wore hats and dark sunglasses, along with jackets, even though the weather was southern California friendly.
It was Kate Hudson.
The photographers snapped and snapped, moving in and out of her face. Even so, Hudson never said a word. With her head slightly down, she continued to walk calmly toward the building with her companion before store security arrived to push the paparazzi away and lead the women to peace.
This wasn't the heavily smothered Mike Tyson, though. Neither was this Evander Holyfield, who isn't hounded by paparazzi despite his notoriety.
"When you welcome people like I do and talk to them, it don't excite (the paparazzi) as much," said Holyfield, whose smile always is seconds away. "They want somebody that really don't want to take a picture. This is what they do, and they get a lot of money for getting that one picture.
"But it's also like this: At some point in time, when you weren't a star, you wanted somebody to take your picture. So once you're a celebrity, you can't be a celebrity some time and not the whole time. It may be uncomfortable to have all these people in your face, but this is why you get paid a little bit more money than a lot of people, because of your popularity."
It's just that some people take it too far. In Tyson's case, it's not some people. It's a slew of people who use sticks to make the grizzly roar.
We should cheer when this grizzly bites them.