Tony Bellew has looked back on the career of one of the best and most infamous heavyweights to ever lace up the gloves, believing there was more in his locker with the right guidance.
The former cruiserweight world champion does his work outside of the ropes now, having retired in 2018 and moved into a punditry career.
He took to Twitter recently to share a clip of Mike Tyson – aka ‘The Baddest Man on The Planet’ – hitting the pads with coach Kevin Rooney.
Rooney was enlisted by Tyson’s trainer, mentor and father figure, Cus D’Amato – and it’s a partnership that Bellew believes could’ve produced the greatest heavyweight on the planet bar none should it have continued.
“If this relationship would of carried on and someone could of helped Mike instead of abusing him I genuinely believe he would of been something greater than we’d have ever seen! Such a short lived prime…”
If this relationship would of carried on and someone could of helped Mike instead of abusing him I genuinely believe he would of been something greater than we’d have ever seen! Such a short lived prime.. #PrimeTysonpic.twitter.com/97YdsenzlT
— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) May 6, 2023
Rooney was with Tyson from 1982, the year in which he won gold at the Junior Olympic Games. He was in the corner for his pro debut in 1985 – also the year D’Amato passed away – and guided him through 35 fights undefeated.
In 1988, a year on from becoming undisputed, Tyson cut ties with Rooney at the order of promoter Don King.
Tyson’s relationship with King is widely considered a negative influence on his career, and many flag up the firing of Rooney – who later sued – as the point in ‘Iron’ Mike’s career that his development as a fighter stopped.
He would suffer his first loss to James Douglas – a knockout in Tokyo – two years later.
Tyson went to jail in 1992 on a rape charge. Although he returned to the ring in 1995 a man on a mission and as big a megastar as ever, those three years were undoubtedly missed prime time.
He would win both the WBC and WBA titles again, but this part of his career was punctuated by losses to Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Danny Williams. He retired after defeat to Kevin McBride in Washington.