“Chasing Tyson” review: a non-boxing fan’s 30 for 30

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mike tyson punchout chasing tyson

My knowledge of and interest in boxing doesn’t extend very far beyond the intro picture, or the next couple of pictures for that matter. Yes, the Nintendo game “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out” (a video game that would not come even remotely close to seeing the light of day in this era of extreme political correctness; it’s a game that oozes horribly socially backward ethnic stereotypes) sparked my interest in the sport, and the mid ’90s is when I found myself most drawn to the boxing world.

Then it plateaued, and quickly dissipated. In other words, the rise of fall of Mike Tyson seems to have perfectly coincided with my dilettante, entry level affinity for the fight game. “Chasing Tyson,” the latest ESPN Films 30 for 30 chronicles that era.

(hey, when you’re age 6 you don’t realize that the Nintendo game you’re playing is awfully racist, especially for a product geared towards kids)

mike tyson punchout

’90s nostalgia is just so hot right now, and Chasing Tyson is pretty much the archetypical ’90s nostalgia 30 for 30. It’s the current zeitgeist. Us tail end of Generation Xers/bordering on millenials are now in that sweet spot coveted by marketers. We’ve aged now to the point where everybody has to gear their products towards us, including the 30 for 30 series.

Say what you want about Mike Tyson, but he’s certainly the most interesting and compelling fighter of our generation. There were no other boxing games as memorable as the one that he endorsed. If he can make me try to care about boxing, a sport that will be in 20-30 years where horse racing is now (don’t be shocked if baseball goes to a similar place in 40-50 years either), then he truly is/was a compelling figure.

As the end credits in “Chasing Tyson” point out, “Evander Holyfield is the only four time heavyweight champion in history, yet he’s most known for having his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson.”

As you watch Chasing Tyson tonight, you’ll recall that Holyfield just had a blah, vanilla personality. The only thing memorable about Holyfield’s persona in the film is when he discusses how God was talking to him in the ring when Tyson bit his ear off and how God was instructing him how to handle it.

Are we sure Tyson is the so-called “crazy one” amongst the two.

mike tyson punchout

In other words, Chasing Tyson compels when it’s featuring Iron Mike, and it bores when it focuses on Evander.

Other highlights of the film include the minutes where we’re reminded James “Buster” Douglas and Peter McNeely are people that exist who we once cared about. Which again speaks to why Chasing Tyson is a film you should check out tonight (here’s a preview and the basic info regarding the documentary).

If somebody like me, whose attitude towards boxing is Doooooooooooooooooooon’t Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare, can through all 78 minutes of it, then it must be pretty good. Boxing may have been dead to me since about 1997 or so, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this doc.

Given that Mayweather is a human piece of garbage with very few brain cells remaining, and Manny is an extremist religious zealot, I don’t see myself caring about the fight game any time again soon, but I still enjoyed this movie.

Chasing Tyson,” premieres Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Paul M. Banks owns, operates and sometimes writes The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. The website is also featured on News Now.

Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes to the Chicago Tribune RedEye. He also appears regularly on numerous television and radio talk shows all across the country. Catch him Tuesdays on KOZN 1620 The Zone.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram

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