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INCREDIBLE :Kevin McBride Ended Iron Mike Tyson’s Boxing Career , He’s Felling Trees  For a Living Now Rather Than Boxers

INCREDIBLE :Kevin McBride Ended Iron Mike Tyson’s Boxing Career , He’s Felling Trees For a Living Now Rather Than Boxers

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The man who beat the man is not so easy to find these days. Lately his name has cropped up more than usual, such is the renewal of interest in the other guy, but generally Kevin McBride goes about his business quietly.

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The man who beat the man is not so easy to find these days. Lately his name has cropped up more than usual, such is the renewal of interest in the other guy, but generally Kevin McBride goes about his business quietly.
He stops by a boxing show every so often but he doesn’t train fighters or cling to the old life. He also doesn’t drink — a decade sober and counting.

‘That’s a bigger fight than the one you’re talking about,’ he says. But he’s winning one and incredibly he won the other, almost 15 years ago to the day. An upset as shocking as any in boxing.

‘Hard to believe it’s been so long,’ says McBride. He’s 47 now, the big Irishman. He doesn’t give many interviews about what played out on that night in Washington, but it is clear in his mind.

‘It is coming up more often at the moment because every time they say about him making a comeback, they say I was the last guy to beat him. I like that. I don’t sit around re-watching the fight but someone put a clip on Facebook recently and I saw it — dream come true, isn’t it?’
The man who ended Mike Tyson’s career on June 11, 2005. That’s one hell of a dream made real. And it’s quite a story, taking in hypnosis, a trip to the cinema, the clever lies of a trainer and a bite that almost cost McBride a nipple.

It might have led to more if subsequent promises of a world-title shot had materialised, but McBride is fine with all that. ‘To say I even fought Tyson is one thing, but to beat him?’

His yarn gets going in July 2004. That was the month when Tyson was knocked out by Danny Williams and McBride was picked to be the easy comeback.

As a 32-year-old lad from Clones, his record of 32 wins, four defeats and a draw had been garnered against modest opposition, so even a terribly faded Tyson was expected to batter him.
‘We were based in Massachusetts for the camp and people would come up to us to say Kevin had no chance,’ Packie Collins tells Sportsmail
Along with the late Goody Petronelli, Collins, the brother of former world champion Steve Collins, was responsible for getting McBride ready. He was a major part of what followed.

‘Camp was about brain and body,’ Collins says.

‘Kevin has said publicly he had a problem with drink and it was a consideration.

‘We started a 10-week camp in separate rooms and one night I see him walking out towards a couple of bars so I call down, “What you doing?” He says he is going for a walk, but the next day we got a room to share.

‘The most important thing then was getting him to believe he could beat the baddest man on the planet.

‘I got a friend to Photoshop a picture of Tyson on the canvas with Kevin celebrating. We put that next to his bed so it was the last thing he saw at night.’

Other tricks of the mind were employed. They would run the same trails in DW Field Park as the great Rocky Marciano and hypnosis became a regular tool.
McBride says: ‘We did it every week. I remember being told to smile whenever Tyson hit me — if you watch the fight I smile a lot.’

Come the week of the bout, Tyson was telling the Press he would ‘gut McBride like a fish’ and the underdog escaped to the cinema.

‘They were releasing that film, Cinderella Man, about the fighter no one thought would win,’ McBride says. ‘I went with Packie three nights before the fight and when we came out he was saying it was a sign. His psychology stuff was massive.’

On fight night, there was more when Collins left McBride’s dressing room to observe Tyson’s hands being wrapped.

He was gone longer than an hour because Muhammad Ali walked in, but when Collins returned to McBride he explained it a different way.

McBride made use of hypnosis in the build up to the fight and it helped him to succeed +12
McBride made use of hypnosis in the build up to the fight and it helped him to succeed
‘I said it was because Tyson was shaking, bricking it, and they had to re-wrap his hands three times,’ Collins says.

What followed was a perfect storm of a motivated journeyman meeting an old, bankrupt legend, fighting only for the money.

After five scrappy rounds, Tyson was ahead on the cards but tiring rapidly. He went for broke.

‘I remember to this day he hit me so hard in the sixth it was like leprechauns playing drums in my head,’ McBride says.

‘On instinct I said, “Is that all you got? You’re in trouble”. That is when he tried things. First he got my left arm in a hold and tried to break it.’

A moment later, McBride felt something on his chest. ‘He tried to bite my nipple,’ he says. ‘Thank God he had his mouthpiece in — otherwise I’d be the Irishman with one nipple.’

Following his victory against Tyson, McBride admits he struggled for motivation in other fights +12
Following his victory against Tyson, McBride admits he struggled for motivation in other fights
Unlike his bites on Evander Holyfield’s ear eight years earlier, Tyson went unpunished but was deducted two points for a headbutt. He had unravelled.

Towards the end of that sixth round, McBride leant on the American and pushed him to the ground. Tyson’s reluctance to get up hinted at what was to come.

‘The picture of him on the floor is identical to the one we made on Photoshop before,’ Collins says.

When Tyson eventually reached his corner, the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world quit on his stool.

Remarkable. In the pandemonium, Collins approached the beaten man. ‘I told him we knew this never would have happened 10 years ago,’ Collins says. ‘He just whispered, “Thank you”. Take nothing from Kevin but it was quite sad.’

McBride adds: ‘I’m dancing and delighted and at the same time I know that wasn’t the Tyson of his prime. But I fought the man on the night and won.

After losing six of his next eight fights and battling alcohol, McBride retired himself in 2011 +12
After losing six of his next eight fights and battling alcohol, McBride retired himself in 2011
‘Next thing I know, I have Ali throwing pretend punches at me, saying “I’m the greatest, you’re the latest”. A dream.’

Tyson caved to the obvious, ending one of the great boxing careers. McBride, who pocketed only $150,000 for the fight, signed with Don King but never got his shot. He lost six of his next eight fights and retired himself in 2011 after battling alcohol and a lack of motivation.

‘Getting myself up after beating Tyson was part of it,’ he admits. Today it is a happy part of his past. But he doesn’t live there.

‘I have a wonderful family and that is what I look at now,’ he says. ‘The fight, the whole thing, was great though. That is something, even without going on to fight for a title. It’s funny, I saw Tyson a few years ago at a show. I went up to say hello and asked if he remembered me. He shook my hand and said, “Yes, I remember you Kevin”.’

Owing to that night 15 years ago, so do many others.

About Femi Ige