Mike Tyson's comeback fight was fast, furious and disappointing.
But don't blame Tyson.Tyson knocked Peter McNeeley down twice and had a sellout crowd at the MGM Grand Garden roaring when suddenly McNeeley's manager-trainer, Vinny Vecchione, jumped into the ring and caused his fighter to be disqualified with the fight only 89 seconds old.
The crowd changed from roaring to chanting obscenities and a disgusted Tyson left the ring before the official decision was announced.
Iron Mike indicated later, however, that maybe the disqualification was the best thing for McNeeley.
"Eventually he would have gotten hurt," said Tyson. "I'm a blood man. I like to win."
"He's back. He got over the hurdle," said McNeeley, Tyson's first opponent in a little less than 50 months.
McNeeley turned out to be not even a speed bump, much less a hurdle.
"The speed (of Tyson) was the major factor in my stopping it," Vecchione said. "This young fighter is 26 years old. He's got a long ways to go."
How far he will go in boxing after Saturday night remains to be seen.
As for Tyson, he looked strong and fast and wild, but certainly the fight gave no indication how the long layoff affected the man who was once the most feared fighter in the world.
"I'm not surprised at anything," Tyson said. "He came out punching as soon as the bell rang. I just tried to counter him."
The 29-year-old Tyson nailed the swarming McNeeley with a short left hand that dropped him about 15 seconds into the fight.
McNeeley got up immediately and as Tyson stood in a neutral corner ran around the ring until referee Mills Lane could stop him and give a standing 8-count.
The 224-pound McNeeley again swarmed to the attack and backed Tyson into the ropes, where they exchanged punches in a toe-to-toe exchange, missing more than they landed.
After Tyson, 220, got off the ropes, he hurt McNeeley with a right to the head, then knocked him down with a left and right uppercut to the head. McNeeley bounced up but fell against the rope and that's when Vecchione jumped into the ring, causing the disqualification at 1:29.
McNeeley then went to his corner and, with a smile on his face, hugged his mother who had come up the steps and then he gave high fives to friends in the crowd of 16,736.
"What?" was Tyson's first reaction to the surprise ending, and he obviously was not happy at the way he earned $25 million.
"I didn't think I hit him hard, but he fell," Tyson said. "I was surprised his corner came in to stop it."
"Mike looked excellent," bellowed promoter Don King. "He looked great for a guy coming off a four-year layoff. You saw the old Tyson power."
Tyson, released from prison March 25 after serving three years for a rape conviction, came back to boxing in a flash of blue lights and a haze of smoke and the roar of a crowd that obviously was there to welcome him home.
His comeback also brought out a group of about 25 men, women and children who walked in a circle outside the hotel-casino chanting, "Rape is not a sport." The purpose
of their picketing was to call attention to violence against women.
"Women are not punching bags," read one sign.
The victory in 89 seconds was the 12th-shortest fight in Tyson's 42-fight career, in which seven opponents have lasted less than a minute. Tyson, a 15-1 favorite, now is 42-1 with 36 knockouts.
McNeeley, who says he will graduate from Bridgewater (Mass.) State in December, lost for only the second time in 38 fights, but his record was achieved against opposition with a combined record of 205-441-21. He had scored 30 knockouts.
The over-under at the MGM Grand Sports Book was two full rounds, so it's highly likely that some of the booing and cursing came from fans who had bet the over.
So Iron Mike is back. Boxing fans are obviously delighted, but they will have to wait for another fight and another night to find out if he is the Iron Mike of old.
Tyson is expected to fight again Nov. 6 at the MGM Grand, the same night Riddick Bowe is to fight Evander Holyfield at Caesars Palace. Plans also call for Tyson to fight four times next year.
A future opponent possibly will be Bruce Seldon, who defended the WBA heavyweight title Saturday night by cutting Joe Hipp under his left eye and closing Hipp's right eye in stopping him in the 10th round.