Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SIGnificant Cards - Mike Tyson Sportkings Autograph

One of my first jobs was as a valet attendant at the Trump Regency Hotel. It used to be the famous Playboy Club, and was always a blast to hang out at and kill some time with friends. Atlantic City has always had its ups and downs and the Playboy Club just couldn't cut it with Steve Wynn and Donald Trump creating the ultimate beach resorts. Eventually Trump bought the struggling hotel and it functioned without a casino. I moved from the outside in, becoming a bell desk, oh who am I kidding, I can't even remember what my job title was...

Anyway, I worked with some very interesting people and met a lot of celebrities and athletes during my time there. One of the great things about the Regency was that it was host to almost all of the boxers that fought at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Many of the celebrities that would attend the fights would also stay there.

I met a ton of people and it was a great experience. When Mike Tyson came in for fights, his entire entourage stayed at the Regency. So for many months, I got to see the champ multiple times a day. Most times he would have a set of headphones on and would ignore nearly everyone in his path. Some days, more than likely you would get a glimpse of the Mike Tyson that people came to know from his turbulent career and on a good day, you'd get to see him be more like the man he has matured into today.

It was at the Trump Regency that I met my long time friend and co-host Russ Cohen. We attended many fights together including some that we'll never forget such as James Toney versus Mike McCallum I, Ray Mercer destroying Tommy Morrison, and nearly any and all Evander Holyfield, George Foreman and Mike Tyson fights that took place in the city.

As a lifelong boxing fan, I was a huge fan of Mike Tyson and watched him pick apart and annihilate his opponents on his way to the Heavyweight titles. He looked untouchable and put fear in people long before the bell rang. Just watch this clip of him decimating Michael Spinks.

That was just one of the insane events that involved Tyson in Atlantic City. Here's another brutal beating, this one suffered by Alex Stewart...

That was his comeback fight after losing to Buster Douglas. He was angry and fought like it. But this fight was the blueprint on how to beat him. He didn't utilize any of the skills he learned, it was all ferocity. Skilled fighters that weren't necessarily stronger, but ones that were better conditioned took him apart later on down the road. I don't know what his punch count numbers were after this fight but if he landed 20% of his punches I'd be shocked.

I'm glad Mike has his stuff together these days and he was hilarious in both of the Hangover movies. There's no doubt that this Sportkings card is one of the gems in my collection. It comes from Series C and card # A-MT1 is the Silver Version complete with the guarantee of Dr. Brian Price that it is authentic.

I write this as I just learned of the passing of another boxing icon -- "Smokin" Joe Fraizer. Joe also has a Sportkings auto and I wish I had that one in my collection, he will be missed by many. RIP Joe.

Just after I finished writing this, I saw this on TMZ. Seemed fitting to link to it.

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