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Today it is not easy to find a man who has beaten a great champion. Lately, his name is mentioned more often than usual, because interest in this other boxer has grown, but Kevin McBride is doing his job as usual. He does not want a lot of attention and does not ask for attention, he is satisfied. He spends his daily routine with his wife and two children in Boston, Massachusetts, writes the Daily Mail.
“I work for a tree expert. I cut down trees, shout ‘watch the tree’, clear the snow and the like. It’s fine, it keeps me busy. It’s my job to pick things up and put them away,” McBride says.
He often visits boxing events, but does not train fighters, nor does he stick to his former life. Also, he stopped drinking, he has been sober for a decade.
“It’s a bigger fight than the one you’re talking about,” McBride says. But he wins in that fight, just as he surprisingly won in a fight that took place almost 15 years ago. The outcome was shocking.
“It’s hard for me to believe that so many years have passed,” the 47-year-old Irishman says today. He doesn’t give many interviews about what happened that night in Washington, but he remembers everything well.
Tyson almost bit off his nipple
“Right now our fight is often mentioned because every time they talk about his return, they also talk about the last guy who beat him. I like that. I don’t watch our fight often, but recently someone posted a video on Facebook. Dreams come true, don’t they?”
Kevin McBride concluded Mike Tyson’s career on June 11, 2005. One damn dream came true. And the story is great, it includes hypnosis, a trip to the cinema, smart coach lies and a bite that almost cost McBride his nipples, writes the Daily Mail.
Had the promises been kept, that fight could have led to opportunities to win the world title, but McBride doesn’t regret it: “It’s a big deal to box against Tyson already, let alone beat him!”
“Everyone told us Kevin didn’t stand a chance.”
His story begins in July 2004. Tyson was then knocked out by Danny Williams, and McBride was selected as an easy opponent to return. The 32-year-old from Clones, with a record of 32 wins, four losses and one draw, boxed against modest rivals so it was expected that the very pale Tyson would easily beat him.
“We trained in Massachusetts and people came just to tell us that Kevin had no chance,” coach and manager Packie Collins told Sportmail.
Along with the late Goody Petronelli, the brother of former world champion Steve Collins was in charge of preparing McBride for this match. And he found himself in the lead role.
“The camp was working on mind and body. Kevin said publicly that he had a drinking problem and we had to take care of that. We started the ten-week preparations in separate rooms, but in the evening I saw Kevin going to the bars. I asked him what he was doing, and he told me to go for a walk. The next day we took a common room. The most important thing was to convince him that he could beat the nastiest boxer in the world. We photoshopped a photo showing Tyson on the floor and Kevin celebrating. We put it next to his bed and it was the last thing he would look at every night before bed,” Collins explains.
We worked on hypnosis every week
There were other thought tricks. They ran the same trail in DW Field Park used by the great Rocky Marciano, and hypnosis was regular.
“We worked on hypnosis every week. I remember being told to laugh every time Tyson hit me. If you look at the fight, you’ll see I laugh a lot,” McBride says.
As the week of the fight approached, Tyson began telling the media that McBride would be gutted like a fish. And the outsider escaped to the cinema.
“A Cinderella Man movie just came out, about a boxer no one believed would win. The last three nights before the match I watched that movie with Packie and when we went out, he would say it was a sign. He was a good psychologist,” McBride says.
On the night of the fight, Collins left McBride’s locker room to check the bandages on Tyson’s fists. He was gone for more than an hour because Muhammad Ali had appeared, but when Collins returned to McBride, he told him a different story.
“I told him that Tyson was shaking, that he was scared and nervous and that because of that they had to fix his bandage three times,” Collins says.
“He almost broke my left arm”
What followed was the perfect storm of a motivated outsider in the fight against an aging and bankrupt legend who fights only for money. After five infamous rounds, Tyson led the scoring judges but quickly got tired. Then he failed.
“I still remember being hit hard in the sixth round. The drums were beating in my head. I instinctively said, ‘Is that all you can do? You’re in trouble!'” Then he started trying everything. He took my left hand first and he tried to break it. A moment later he tried to bite me on the nipple. Luckily he had a protective gum for his teeth, otherwise, I would be an Irishman with one nipple today,” McBride recalled for the Daily Mail.
Unlike Evander Holyfield’s ear bite eight years earlier, this Tyson bite went unpunished, but he was stripped of two points for hitting with his head. He was exposed.
Towards the end of the sixth round, McBride leaned against the American and pushed him to the floor. Tyson’s reluctant getting up hinted at what was coming.
“The Tyson scene on the floor was identical to the one we created in Photoshop, ”Collins said.
When he finally got to his corner, the former unique heavyweight world champion gave up.
Incredibly. In that pandemonium, Collins approached the loser.
“I told him we knew this couldn’t have happened 10 years ago. Tyson just whispered, ‘Thank you.’ I’m not belittling Kevin’s win, but it was pretty sad,” says McBride’s coach.
“I danced enthusiastically, at the same time aware that Tyson was not at his peak. But that night I fought him and won,” McBride recalls, adding, “And then, Muhammad Ali approaches and fakes punches, telling me he’s the biggest (greatest), but that I am the last (latest). What a dream.”
Tyson’s career, one of the greatest in boxing history, was over. McBride earned $150,000 and signed for Don King, but never got a chance to box for the world title. He lost six of the next eight matches and after a fight with alcohol in 2011 withdrew from boxing due to lack of motivation.
“The lack of motivation after the win over Tyson was part of the problem,” McBride admits. Today it is a happy part of his past. But he does not live in the past.
“I have a wonderful family and that it’s important to me today. Still, that fight and everything around it was great, even though I didn’t box for the title. I met Tyson at an event a few years ago. I approached him and asked him if he remembered me. We shook hands and he said to me, ‘Yes, I remember you, Kevin,’ McBride concluded.
He remembered him for that night 15 years ago, as did many others.