WBO heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov may get an extra boost in his corner for his February 23 bout against Wladimir Klitschko, as it's being circulate that his friend, ex-heavyweight king Mike Tyson, could work the fight.
If you've never heard about it, Tyson and Ibragimov's friendship is actually a pretty neat story. Tyson was a long-time friend of Mario Costa, a cornerman for Ibragimov, and Costa told Tyson about his new guy. After the two spoke on the phone a few times, Tyson went to a fight in Hollywood, FL, to see Ibragimov take on Lance Whitaker on December 15, 2005.
Backstage, Tyson gave Ibragimov some advice on how to attack Whitaker, and then even accompanied Ibragimov to the ring. Whitaker was knocked out in the seventh round, and Tyson and Ibragimov have remained friends since then.
But this isn't the first time that Tyson has been rumored to be in Ibragimov's corner for a fight, either. He was supposed to be there for the dreadful eliminator draw with Ray Austin, but never made it. Legal issues kept him from attending Ibragimov's wins over Shannon Briggs and Evander Holyfield this year.
But, if all is clear, Tyson is again supposedly going to be in the corner when Ibragimov takes on Klitschko, who is widely considered the best heavyweight in the sport.
There is no doubt that Ibragimov could benefit from having Tyson in his corner. Whatever you think of Mike (and I hate even talking about him anymore, personally), the man knows boxing. He knows the game inside and out. If you put a microphone in front of Mike Tyson on a random day, who knows what he'll say? If the question pertains to boxing, though, I could listen to Mike talk as long as he wants to. He flat-out knows boxing.
On the other hand, I kind of wish that boxing would wash its hands of Tyson. He is too prone to dragging the sport's name through the mud as it tries to recover from the absence of stars like him that had a great connection, good or bad, with the public. That's just the way I feel.
But if I were Sultan Ibragimov, I'd certainly want Mike's advice, too. And if I were Mike, I'd be honored that so many still do keep pulling for me. I'd also look at this as a genuine opportunity, but then, I'm not Mike Tyson. Nobody is.