For a few months, the eyes of the world rested on him. He was the protagonist of a boxing match that was more eagerly anticipated than any before it for years, grossed $96 million, and made him a global talking point. Just not necessarily for laudable reasons.
“Hurricane” Peter McNeeley was the man who was the opponent of the iconic Mike Tyson on August 19, 1995, when he returned to the ring after four years. After three years in prison for a conviction of raping then 18-year-old Desiree Washington.
The grim reasons for Tyson’s absence did not change the fact that he was quickly missed as the biggest attraction in the industry. The grandly staged comeback ended in a farce – which was not to remain the low point in McNeeley’s life.
Peter McNeeley’s record sounded good – but was worth little
Tyson’s notorious promoter Don King chose McNeeley as the opponent for his golden ass’s return – and at first glance, the pairing sounded attractive: born in Medfield, Massachusetts, McNeeley was a third-generation boxer. His father Tom had once challenged the great Floyd Patterson.
McNeeley’s own fight record sounded good, too: 37 fights, 36 wins. It was just that 36 wins were against not-very-veritable opponents.
McNeeley, clearly less trained than Tyson, already caused unintentional laughs before the fight in Las Vegas when he forgot to undo his belt when taking off his robe.
In the duel with Tyson he didn’t look any better: after just six seconds he ran into two right hooks from “Iron Mike” and was counted out. Before the end of the first round, it was over as McNeeley continued to get beaten up and finally his trainer Vinnie Vecchione stormed into the ring. Referee legend Mills Lane – who also officiated Tyson’s ear-biting fight against Evander Holyfield two years later – disqualified McNeeley after 89 seconds. If you are interested in boxing and its history, bet with 22bet.SN on the next fights.
“I wanted to protect my boy,” Vecchione reasoned, “This business has seen too many boxing deaths and lifelong physical disabilities.”
As a protagonist for big boxing fights, McNeeley was no longer in demand afterward, with another semi-noticed fight only coming in 1999 against super-heavyweight “Butterbean” Eric Esch – who also dispatched McNeeley within one round.
McNeeley is now 53 years old, works for a boxing gym in his home country, and shows himself to fans who still remember him now and then on Instagram. More often he shares memories of the Tyson fight.