It’s now official. America’s most prominent celebrity-rapist, Mike Tyson, was part of the highest-grossing pay-per-view event in history. Joint venture partners HBO and Showtime grossed $103 million on 8.1 million buys.
Once again, the pithy platitude of P.T. Barnum rings too true.
Sure, those 8 million buys represent a lot of suckers who weren’t about to distinguish a fight from a farce. Suckers who didn’t care or notice that Tyson was a shot fighter, an erstwhile bully turned flailing heavy bag. And that Lennox Lewis was bigger, better and — by default — brighter. But then, boxing has always had its cannon-fodder followers.
Unfortunately, those 8 million buys also represent millions of enablers. They made possible the American Scheme and likely some sleazy sequels. Tyson is nothing if not nasty, vulgar, menacing, conniving and criminal, with or without his meds. Combine this with eroded skills and a string of hateful, obscenity-laced press conferences and interviews and the result is an 8-figure payday, which may or may not be enough to get him out of debt.
Although Tyson was fighting for a championship belt, he should have been fitted for a societal straitjacket.
For all those pay-per-view voyeurs who made it happen: Thanks for subsidizing and perpetuating all that’s wrong in society and in human nature.
And to P.T. Barnum: apologies. Not even you could have envisioned this.