Mike Tyson’s book “Undisputed Truth” is on the New York Times best sellers list and on April 18, Iron Mike Productions, put out a boxing card at the Monroeville Convention Center that was broadcast nationally on Showtime and billed as “Pittsburgh Power.”
The event, ShoBox: The New Generation was shown live on Showtime and featured two local stars—undefeated welterweight Sammy Vasquez from Monessen, and “Lightning” Rod Salka, a lightweight fighter from Bunola, Allegheny County.
“Iron Mike Productions contacted us, and we’ve kept the ball rolling with Mike and Showtime, “ said Lance Rihn, general manager of the Monroeville Convention Center and Monroeville Double Tree by Hilton Hotel. “It’s been a nice partnership from the start. It’s been great to be able to work with Mike and both local fighters and give the event that Pittsburgh flair.”
Sammy “The Who Can Mexican” Vasquez Jr., (14-0, 10 KOs), is under contract with Iron Mike Productions, and he knocked out previously unbeaten Juan Rodriguez in the first round.
“We will be back in Pittsburgh to promote Sammy Vasquez and boxing, “ said Iron Mike. “I promote Sammy. He don’t work for me, I work for him. I got into the business because I love the fighters. I am a promoter who won’t steal their money.”
Iron Mike Tyson travels with a small Entourage these days.
‘I don’t put myself in position to be your friend. I learned that the only reason we have enemies yourself and myself is because at one time in life they were our friends,” said Tyson. “We don’t find people who just come off the street and say I hate you. They became acquainted with us and familiar with us and that breeds contempt for us.”
Tyson’s company took a big hit in the main event. Alexei “Hurricane” Collado, (18-1, 16 Kos), a Cuban boxer promoted by Tyson’s company, had an outstanding amateur career with 198 amateur fights. He defected from Cuba to Ireland to blend in.
“Lightning” Rod Salka, easily defeated previously undefeated Collado. Salka consistently pumped lefts and rights into his face like he was fighting for tougher immigration laws in America.
Tyson took a lot of heat when he signed 18-year old National Champion Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin.
“The amateur boxing world was upset when we signed Erickson because he was a favorite to win a gold in the 2016 Olympics,” said Tyson. “But he was ready for professional competition and I am happy to sign him and he is going to be great.”
“The Hammer” Lubin, is 5-0, with 5 knockouts. He destroyed Jovan “Negrito” Ramirez inside of one round. The southpaw put Ramirez down with a straight left hand and Ramirez was flopping like a fish on a dock, forcing the referee to pull the hook out of his mouth and toss him in the cooler.
Tyson is still such a popular celebrity that he doesn’t need a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to stay connected with his fans. Mike wants to reach young guys and young fighters. He talked about the knockout game many young gang members play throughout the country, where they try to knock out a person with one punch. Generally a stranger on the street.
“I’m grateful and blessed and feel like I been reborn. I used to be so self-centered that I wanted a ticker-tape parade when I took out the garbage. But now I’m happy to be in the background and I want to use my celebrity and name to turn this young generation around,” said Tyson. “I can’t reach everybody and I’m not getting soft. These kids playing ‘The Knockout Game’ I think it’s some really bad stuff and I believe those people should be dealt with. The only thing I saw them knockout one guy all the rest were woman so these guys are cowards and I’m not going to base my opinion on what should happen to them but they are really bad people and should have to deal with the full extent of the law.”
Las Vegas holds the title of being the capital of the boxing world. The city has been the host site of some of the most memorable showdowns, however, it has never had the distinction of calling a world champion one of their own.
“Pittsburgh has a great boxing history,” said Tyson. “Back at the 1900s and the turn of the century with Harry Greb, Charlie Burley and Billy Conn. Out of 8 world champions, Pittsburgh had 5 or 6 of the 8 champions. My favorite fighter was Bruno Sammartino. He was a wrestling champion and I watched all his championships. I watched him pick up a 600 pound guy over his head. Michael Moorer and Paul Spadafora all Pittsburgh champions.”
Right now Iron Mike Productions number one fighter is Monessen native Sammy Vasquez. So Team Tyson it’s Who Can? Mexican and that’s the Undisputed Truth.