17 years ago on August 19, 1995, a recently paroled “Iron” Mike Tyson defeated troubled Bostonian Peter “Hurricane” McNeeley by a first round disqualification at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After serving three years behind bars at the Indiana Youth Center for being convicted of raping Miss Black Rhode Island Desiree Washington, Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs), who remains at 20 the youngest man to ever win the WBC, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles, was released in March of that year.
Roughly five months after regaining his freedom, Tyson, a deserved June 2011 International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum inductee, twice floored a brave and aggressive McNeeley (47-7, 36 KOs) before the Irish-American’s manager, Vinnie Vecchione, illegally entered the ring to save his fighter 89-seconds into the mismatch.
1.52 million homes across the United States paid a total of $63 million to watch one of TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Sports Moments of All Time in 1998.
On a given evening in the peak of his career, “Iron Mike,” an enormously skilled boxer who beautifully intertwined outstanding hand speed and accuracy with ferocious punching power, could have knocked any prizefighter onto Queer Street.
Unfortunately for Tyson, the McNeeley contest hinted that the gritty Brooklynite had lost some of his incredible Peek-a-Boo protection skills while in the pen.
The man named by ESPN.com as "the hardest hitter in heavyweight history” never regained his vintage form and ultimately retired as an unfulfilled pugilist.
Conversely, McNeeley was pinched by the fuzz on a few occasions for committing various crimes in and around the Greater Boston area.
Despite their many personal and professional issues and setbacks, Mike Tyson and Peter McNeeley were two of the most known names in America for a single evening two decades ago in “Sin City.”