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Boxing Spotlight: Taking On Tyson

By Daxx Kahn March 23rd, 2011 All Boxing Articles

One of the best and most addictive new reality shows?

I must admit I am not a big fan of reality television due to the over amount of under quality reality based series that seem to be popping up on the tube since about 2008.

On occasion though, there are some that I really enjoy such as “The First 48” because I find them to be more of what they are supposed to be “Reality” instead of staged incidents for audience attraction. When the series “Taking On Tyson” was advertised, I, considering my view on most reality series, was a bit unenthusiastic and my skeptic senses were in full effect. BOY WAS I WRONG!

Mike Tyson will be a draw no matter what he does; film him brushing his teeth and people will watch just because it is Tyson. If anything ,his famous past extreme antics keep people watching just to see if he will erupt.

The show that airs on Animal Planet is not one where we are likely to see any sort of the much anticipated scenes that has made people follow Tyson out of a ring just as they did when he fought in a ring. I know the show is set around Tyson and his love of pigeons and many people might think that is what this show is about, possibly turning them away from tuning in.

Pigeon racing is only the background for this series; in truth this is about people using an old time tradition originated some mid 19th century Belgium that became popular in inner cities like New York to actually better their lives. It is an outlet for better things than street lurking ,where inner city youth often get themselves into trouble.

Little known to people who have never taken an interest to learn about what entails in caring for these birds, is that partaking in the responsibility of owning a pigeon flock actually holds a tremendous amount of responsibility. The birds must be fed, cleaned up after, groomed for competition and checked on a regular basis, keeping them healthy.

In short, owning one of these flocks and caring for them is just shy of what effort being a parent can consist of, although on a different level. The old time hobby has taught many younger inner city youth there is more to life than a street corner and in words of many who have taken interest in pigeons, it saved them from personal downfall.

As you begin to follow the show, initially it seems like a group of guys on a roof with some birds. Later we learn this is not just a bunch of people raising birds for a hobby, neighborhoods rally behind them, all joining in the fun. We see friendships that might not have been forged if not for their common interest in pigeons.

Some of the cast have been raising pigeons all their lives, others found the hobby just when life was becoming out of control and these birds somehow became therapy for them. Tyson himself stated several times that over his life span he has only felt relaxed and at ease when on a roof with his birds.

Many of those who are on the show have lived rough lives, some have been to prison and others such as Tyson or former heavyweight journeyman Joe Green know what it is like to be in front of thousands, if not millions of viewers, living out a lifelong dream and of course some are ordinary fellows who live a simple, relaxing existence.

We learn of their interesting past while we see them all stand on the same level. There are no attitudes, no unneeded antics or are there any cast regulars trying to make a name for themselves by being on a national televised show. Everyone is respectful of each other, winner and losers of races encourage one another to do better next time, even teaming up for neighborhood charity events like P.A.L fundraisers.

"Taking On Tyson" is a top notch program that falls into family viewing while even people who know nothing about Mike Tyson or pigeons can enjoy, what’s more it is great from a boxing enthusiast view that has followed Mike since his amateur days to see him enjoying himself taking interest in what he is doing, going out of his way to be a positive part of a community without being harassed by media paparazzi, antagonizing him to react foolishly.

This version of Tyson shows him as not Mike the heavyweight boxing menace but Mike Tyson the champion out of the ring. Even if none of the shows basic plot sounds appealing, I encourage you to give it a chance anyhow because like Tyson in the ring, after one viewing, you can not help but keep tuning in.


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