Mike Tyson's Last Comeback Opponent Helped Him Make $96 Million - Then Lived In A Crack Den
Mike Tyson's last comeback opponent Peter McNeeley suffered a tragic fall from grace after his defeat to 'Iron Mike'.
Tyson made a return to boxing in 1995 after serving three years in jail and fans were desperate to see his in-ring comeback.
McNeeley was selected to be Tyson's opponent at the MGM Grand on August 19, 1995 and it was a huge mismatch.
Tyson decimated McNeeley inside 90 seconds with the fight ending via disqualification after manager Vinnie Vecchione stopped his client taking more punishment.
The pay-per-view, which was billed as 'He's Back', went on to earn $96 million and it earned 'Hurricane' a variety of sponsorship deals with lucrative brands.
But why don't you hear of the Boston native who claimed he'd wrap Tyson 'in a cocoon' anymore?
"I hit a real bad spot in my life in 1996," McNeeley explained to Sports Illustrated on the 15th anniversary of their fight.
"I'd had 44 pro fights in 60 months. I was burned out mentally, physically and spiritually. I had to drop out of sight.
"I tucked into a crack house in Brockton [Massachusetts]. I lived there, walking distance from the Petronelli gym. I blew like 40 grand in six weeks.
:alarm_clock: In 1995, Mike Tyson faced the little-known Peter McNeeley in his first fight back after coming out of prison.
:speaking_head:️ McNeeley made this iconic press conference speech before being floored twice and beaten in the first round... pic.twitter.com/WXbCIuLjvd
- Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) March 3, 2020
"No sleeping, no eating, it was crazy. I walked into that house at 220 pounds, weeks after I'd had a fight. And I walked out six weeks later at a buck-ninety-five. The Jenny Crack diet!"
The 51-year-old's career never really recovered after the Tyson fight, with a first-round knockout loss to Eric 'Butterbean' Esch in 1999 standing out.
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He retired in 2001 after a defeat to Mike Bernardo and has since slipped out of the limelight.
Despite this, McNeeley revealed to SI that he remarkably stayed in contact with Tyson after their fight.
"Mike has contacted me a couple times after the fight," he stated.
"He contacted me in 1998. If you remember, he bit [Evander] Holyfield in 1997, which we all called 'Pay-Per-Chew' - a little bad boxing humour.
"Mike served a year suspension and went back in front of the board to get his license back. They said he had to pass an intensive psychiatric evaluation.
"Boston has a huge medical community, so he came to Boston and he - by complete coincidence - ended up with my old limousine driver. I was friendly with [the driver], so it wasn't unusual that he'd call me. He calls and says he's driving Tyson and says, 'Can I mention your name to him?'
"I come home from the gym and Tyson's on my voice mail asking if I wanted to hook up. Next thing I know, the limo driver was banging on my door saying Tyson wanted to see me right now. Apparently, he wanted to take me out to dinner.
"Then he wanted me to go with him to this famous club in Boston and check out the local talent. So I went to his hotel room. He sat me down and we talked for a half-hour.
"It wasn't a press conference, it wasn't a weigh-in, it wasn't a fight - it was just me and him alone in a room.
"He paid me respect," McNeeley said. "He didn't have to call me. He didn't have to leave a message or let me in his room."
Tyson's latest comeback opponent will likely look to the tale of Peter McNeeley for a reminder of how fickle fame can be.
Featured Image Credit: McNeris Entertainment TV on YouTube, The Ring Magazine & PA Images
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