Mike Tyson gets out of the juvenile detention center and turns into a champion boxer in the second episode of the Disney+ and Hulu Original Series “Mike.” Episode two follows Tyson’s journey as he is released from juvenile detention and his manager decides to adopt him to help him stay out of legal trouble and train him to be a better boxer. He gets him into the ring at 14, way too young to be boxing professionally, and builds him up to win gold medals at the Junior Olympics before the terror that was “Iron” Mike Tyson took over boxing’s heavyweight division in the 1980s and became world heavyweight champion.
Episode two is a much stronger episode than episode one was. We learn more about what drove Tyson to be a particular kind of boxer. At one time, he was the most feared boxer on the planet. We all know that it’s headed for heartbreak and disappointment, but it’s amazing to learn how much heartbreak and disappointment had been fueling him in his quest to be a better boxer and a better person. His mother never believed in him. Most of his friends were murdered before they turned 18. And a fight he lost on a judge’s decision led to him becoming the most vicious competitor in the ring of his time.
This episode ends with Tyson undefeated and being crowned the heavyweight champion of the world. He was only 20 years old, and he was fearsome. But you also learn how his managers took advantage of him. His first manager believed boxers should fight often, but you can tell from the portrayal that this man really loved Tyson as a son. He wanted Mike to be champion, yes, but he wanted better for Mike overall. When the first manager dies, two other managers take over and you can see the difference in how they treated Mike. They had Tyson fighting every two weeks. While fighting often may be a good philosophy for a boxer, fighting that often is dangerous and abusive. They were the ones in charge that got him to the world title, but if this second episode is any indicator, they are the ones who got him to a point where he lost it as well.
While it’s clear that Tyson has a charming personality when it matters, we all know there’s a major downfall coming. Yes, the two managers who took over abused Tyson with how much they had him fight. We’re also going to learn more about another questionable manager in Don King as this series goes along. But the big issues are going to be Tyson’s failures in his personal life. Their abuse doesn’t excuse the behavior that landed Tyson back in prison and banned from boxing. I’m interested to see how this series handles those events. This series is far from perfect, but it’s improving in its storytelling. I hope that continues with each episode.