McNeeley was a huge underdog with considerably more bark than bite when he fought Tyson almost 25 years ago, entertaining fans by pledging to “kick Tyson’s a**” in what he predicted would be little more than a spar against arguably the most feared fighter in the world at the time.
“The Hurricane” seemed to have lost none of the eccentricities he was known for during his career as he held his right fist up in a new video and stared straight at the camera when he was asked for his thoughts after the announcement that “boxing guru” Peter Czymbor’s promotions company had offered Tyson $1.1 million to fight him.
“Mike Tyson – do you want me to try to wrap you in a cocoon of horror again?” asked the 51-year-old, looking increasingly wild-eyed while sounding somewhat incoherent as he spoke.
The 12-second clip offered little indication of the veteran’s abilities to provide a realistic challenge to the former heavyweight champion, who knocked him down twice in the first round at the MGM Grand in August 1995 before McNeeley’s trainer, Vinnie Vecchnione, mercifully ended the mismatch by entering the ring to ensure his fighter was disqualified amid farcical scenes less than halfway through the opening stanza.
Tyson, who has had a range of lucrative offers to resume his career and recently produced a video in which he looked sharp and powerful on the pads, went on to win the WBC title within a year.
McNeeley was a promising 26-year-old slugger with 30 knockouts and one defeat from 36 fights to his name when he took him on, recovering to win nine of his next 10 fights before retiring after an eventful 10-year career with a respectable record of 47 wins from 54 contests in 2001.
He was arrested for assault after punching a man and stealing his wallet in 2006 and was charged with larceny three months later after being accused of acting as the getaway driver in a store robbery.
Fans expressed concerns for McNeeley after watching his uncertain performance, suggesting he had been “hit too many times” and had been damaged by his punishing sport of choice.
“I hate to see this,” replied one. “Poor guy. Boxing is brutal.”