Essay No. 10 – Andrew Rihn


Tyson vs. Francis
Jan 29, 2000
MEN Arena, Manchester, England

No prophet is accepted in his own country: a familiar ring in a foreign land, Mike Tyson takes refuge inside a Brixton police station and asks by bullhorn to be broken out. A British newspaper bought advertising space on the soles of Francis’s shoes, anticipating the front page photos of him laid low, their logo foreshortened in dramatic fashion. And yet, Mike Tyson looks to the referee, his eyes asking for a break to every clinch, an opportunity to set up his power punches – opportunities he once would have opened himself.  These long shot days without synonyms, grim and fugitive, desiccating.



Tyson vs. Savarese
Jun 24, 2000
Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland

The ring like a scroll, a monologue, a place where prophecy can reveal newness shimmering like a bruise on the flesh of the world. One thing about Tyson that you can be sure of, writes James Mossop, is that he senses the finish is imminent and knows how to execute it. The river’s cool waters parted by a rolled up robe: the cloth we are cut from, the teardrops and the dew. A finish and not an end; an execution and not a performance. When we watch Mike Tyson fight, we are watching a man losing himself with every victory.


Tyson vs. Golota
Oct 20, 2000
The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.

The contest between expectation and revelation, between division and exponential multiplication, between boundary and vital limitless joy. If Mike Tyson is in fact Mike Tyson’s own worst enemy, he is not only Elijah but also Ahab, both the fiery prophet and the scoundrel king. Golota, known for fighting dirty and throwing low blows, stands toe-to-toe with Mike Tyson, two bad men, guillotines of our collective conscience, breaking bones for us. That this is a sport of reinvention is made all the more clear by the fact of its constancy, by the myriad reminders and flagrant consistency with which it evolves.


Andrew Rihn is a writer of essays, poems, and scholarly articles. He is the author of several chapbooks, including America Plops and Fizzes (Sunnyoutside Press) and The Rust Belt MRI (Pudding House). Along with his wife, the writer Donora A. Rihn, he co-authored the chapbooks The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: An Election Cycle (Moria Books/ Locofo Chaps) and The Day of Small Things (Really Serious Literature). Together, they live in Portage Lakes, OH with their two rescue dogs.

© Andrew Rihn

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