As awful and uneven as part one of ABC’s Mike Tyson: The Knockout was, part two was the exact opposite. Part two (which you can watch on ABC’s website) did an incredible job of covering his career from the alleged rape of Desiree Washington to a never before seen interview of Tyson. Part one thoroughly frustrated me. Part two thoroughly impressed me and painted a picture of Tyson as a man that today is happier than he’s ever been in his life.
The first 45 minutes of the documentary was a very even recap of the Tyson-Washington alleged rape saga. The documentary gave equal points of view to both Tyson’s and Washington’s claims of what happened in the early hours of July 19, 1991 when the alleged rape took place. Archival footage outlines the racial and gender tensions that casted a dark shadow over the case. Attorney Carl Douglas, a former associate partner of Johnnie Cochran, is perfect in his role as a commentator used to outline the errors made by Tyson’s attorney Vincent Fuller. Professor Dr. Boyce Watkins was also an excellent choice to comment on the racial and gender divide that was the ugly elephant in the courtroom during the entire trial. Of all the depictions that were ever made of the Tyson rape trial, this was easily the best job done in recapping both the alleged crime and trial.
Rosie Perez did a phenomenal recounting of the night Tupac Shakur was murdered following Tyson’s September 7, 1996 first round knockout of Bruce Seldon. Rosie gave an honest appraisal of not only the friendship between Tyson and Tupac, but of hers with them as well. I had to hold back from shedding a tear when she nearly started crying while recalling getting the phone call that Tupac had been shot on the Vegas strip.
Tyson’s losses to Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis were accurately detailed and showed Tyson in total decline in terms of his boxing skills. Rosie’s recollection of Tyson biting Holyfield’s ears was exactly what many boxing fans were feeling the night of that fight: that Tyson had completely lost his mind.
The Tyson redemption story is easily the highlight of the entire two part documentary. Footage is shown of Tyson apologizing to Teddy Atlas during the middle of a fight Atlas was broadcasting and appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show apologizing to Evander Holyfield for the tumultuous biting of his ears. Finally, the documentary comes full circle as in a recent never-before-seen interview. Tyson is shown still caring for pigeons and explaining how it was a bully that killed one of his pigeons when he was a little boy that fueled his desire to box. The documentary ends with Tyson and his young son Morocco talking about eagles and pigeons. Tyson caps off the conversation telling his son how much he loves him.
I would highly recommend anyone reading this review to go out of your way to see part two of Mike Tyson: The Knockout. It is the ultimate example of a man not only redeeming his past transgressions, but how a man in his mid 50s is happier now than he was when he was arguably the most famous man on the planet at the tender age of 21. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Mike Tyson is finally comfortable in his own skin.