An Unforeseen Victory

By Declan O'Kelly, Contributor
August September 2005

No one in the boxing world thought Ireland’s Kevin McBride stood a chance against Mike Tyson in the American’s latest comeback fight on June 11.

Prior to the Tyson fight, McBride, known in the game as the “Clones Colossus,” spent his days bouting fellow no-name boxers, and confirming his reputation as a journeyman fighter. It was widely expected that Tyson would clobber him in quick time and move on to the next bout to pay his creditors.

No one told this to McBride. “I went in there with a strategy and it worked, you know? I said I would shock the world and I did shock the world. I believed in myself and I told all around me to believe,” he told Irish America in a recent phone interview.

McBride garnered a taste for boxing at the age of nine, when he took up the sport to ward off local ruffians who used to pick on him for his speech impediment. From Clones, Monaghan, the same town that bred 1985 WBA champion, Barry McGuigan, he met with early success, and went on to represent Ireland in the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, after which point he turned professional.

When finally presented with the opportunity to fight Tyson, he employed both a strength coach and Boston hypnotherapist Patrick Brady to help him be in the best physical and psychological condition possible.

“I didn’t want to leave any stones unturned,” he admits. “We worked on thinking and talking positive to help the mind and help the subconscious. I also had my strength coach, I was benching 265 lbs and was as strong as an ox.”

When he finally stepped into the ring with Tyson, McBride weathered an early storm, but once he imposed himself in the later rounds he wore Tyson down.

“I used my weight. I took his best shots and I asked him was that all he’s got? I was hoping that was all he’d got,” joked the genial giant who had a nine inch height advantage over Tyson.

As Iron Mike saw the fight slip away from him, he resorted to roughhouse tactics, head-butting the Irishman and opening a cut on his left eyebrow. “I got 15 stitches, eight on the inside and seven on the outside,” says McBride.

“He’s a nasty man, that Tyson, trying to bite me, trying to break my arm, trying to bite my nipple.”

McBride is reveling in his victory, and his reputation as the man who stopped Tyson and probably ended his career. “Kevin McBride will be known as the man who retired the baddest man in boxing,” he said.

The “Clones Colossus” who sees himself as “the new Cinderella Man” has earned the possibility of a WBA world title fight against John Ruiz in September or October of this year. Boxing insiders are skeptical of his chances, but McBride is confident once again, he will prove the doubters wrong.

“People don’t realize that I am 32 years old, and I am just coming into my prime. I am going to retire all the heavyweights and walk down the street heavyweight champion, that’s my mission,” he said. ♦

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