Of the three marquee fighters headed into the International Boxing Hall of Fame today in Canastota, N.Y., I think we can all agree that Mexican boxing great Julio Cesar Chavez is a deserving honoree. And while there's also Sylvester Stallone, Nacho Beristain, Joe Cortez, Harry Carpenter, A.F. Bettinson, Jack Root, Memphis Pal Moore, Dave Shade and John Gully. But let's focus on the other "big two."
"Iron" Mike Tyson, some argue, didn't actually do enough in the ring to warrant inclusion. Same goes for Kostya Tszyu, though since he is less a controversial and polarizing figure than Tyson, the debates haven't been as loud.
What do you think?
Pros in Tyson's favor are that he was one of the greatest attractions in boxing history, a true marquee star who was globally famous and at his peak, perhaps the biggest sports star in the world. The biggest con, of course, is his actual record. He was a monster in his youth, but some argue that he was monstrous against mediocrities, while losing most of his biggest fights, to the likes of Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis, and of course the stunning upset by Buster Douglas that shook the myth of the indestructible "Iron" Mike forever. After Douglas, he was never the same. After prison a couple years later, he was really never the same, and his career ended with ugly losses to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride, the type of fighter he made mincemeat of during his meteoric rise. Tyson retired with a record of 50-6 (44 KO).
Tszyu (31-2, 25 KO) reigned as junior welterweight champion for a good while before losing to Ricky Hatton in 2005 and riding off into the sunset just shy of his 36th birthday. He didn't hang on and try to pad his record, and didn't take the depressing losses many old fighters do. He was also an outstanding amateur fighter, a true amateur great, and beat a lot of contenders as a pro. But some feel he wasn't "great enough."
Personally, I don't take the Hall of Fame seriously at all. Any Hall of Fame. It's a nice gathering every year and there's no less than a good fighter in there anywhere. Barry McGuigan is a popular target for cries of disgrace, but what disgrace? It's a building with pictures in it and everyone who has ever been voted in has felt honored. I just don't get it. I'm not wired to care about the Hall of Fame beyond being happy for the guys who get in.
But I realize some people deeply care about this stuff, and I do think the debates can be interesting. So here it is: If you'd had a vote, would you have given one to Tyson and/or Tszyu?