THE object of the exercise was to make large amounts of money for everyone concerned, and from that narrow perspective Mike Tyson’s 89-second defeat of Peter McNeeley in the MGM Garden was a resounding success on August 19, 1995.
The former champion, boxing for the first time in four years, took away a cheque for something like $22m, while McNeeley was happy to earn around $400,000, rather more than his previous career-best of $10,000. (George Kimball, the widely-respected Boston boxing writer, came up with the line of the week when he said that “If Peter McNeeley gets $400,000 from Don King, it would be a bigger upset than if he’d knocked out Mike Tyson.”)
The MGM, who have invested heavily in Tyson’s comeback, enjoyed probably the most lucrative night in the hotel’s brief history. The show attracted a sellout crowd of 16,736, and the throng of punters, pimps, exquisite ladies and celebrity-spotters was so solid that it took me 40 minutes to battle the 400 yards from the arena to the exit.