Mike Tyson, the youngest man ever to become world heavyweight champion, came close to knocking out a charity opponent during a four-round exhibition clash back in October 2006.
Footage resurfaced of a 40-year-old Tyson showcasing his signature right hook against Corey Sanders at a 6,000-seater arena, which was broadcast to fans on pay-per-view after ‘Iron Mike’ had been out the ring for over a year.
Tyson officially retired from boxing on June 11, 2005 after a surprising defeat to the unheralded Irish fighter Kevin McBride.
The exhibition fight was part of Tyson’s 2006 World Tour, organised to help relieve some of the former world champion’s well-documented troubles.
At the time, ‘Kid Dynamite’ had squandered most of his reported $300 million career earnings, leaving him bankrupt and heavily indebted to creditors.
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Tyson even admitted that he would have been forced to become a ‘human punching bag’ as his financial affairs were in such dire straits.
“If I don’t get out of this financial quagmire, there’s a possibility I may have to be a punching bag for somebody,” said Tyson back in 2006.
“The money I make here isn’t going to help any of my bills from a tremendous standpoint, but I’m going to feel better about myself.
“I’m not going to be depressed.”
While clearly past his best in 2006, viewers could see that Tyson was taking it easy on Sanders in order to put on a show for his fans.
In the early rounds, Tyson turned back the clock with a trademark right hand, catching Sanders flush on the chin.
The blow seemed to knock Sanders off-balance and he looked destined to hit the canvas until Tyson waded forward to hold him up on his feet.
Watch the vintage clip below.
Fight fans all over the world praised Tyson for his ability and were convinced he could come out of retirement for another fight at the time.
YouTube user Light Free posted: “Mike Tyson never meant to hit him that hard, but those fighting instincts will never leave him. Held up after connecting, Mike Tyson is not a bad man.”
Another boxing fan added: “Bring him out of retirement. He could still give today’s heavyweight clowns a run for their money.”