The sad state of pro boxing

Such is the state of professional boxing today that the two biggest stories of the week were George Foreman's comeback -- his 40th or so, in case you lost count -- and Mike Tyson's trial -- and we have lost count of those.
Foreman, who is 55 years old, wants to fight one more time because he needs "an adventure." Never mind he may need a cane to get around the ring.
The ex-champ, who made far more money selling hamburger grills than he ever did in the ring -- presumably because Don King couldn't get a percentage of the take -- admits he doesn't want to fight for a title and doesn't want to face another senior citizen, like Larry Holmes. Instead, he wants to go against an up-and-comer -- someone not yet ranked in the top 10 in the world.
To do so, Foreman says he needs to shed about 40 pounds, which, if he does that, means he'll step into the ring at about 225.
The last time Foreman was at 225 pounds, we were still using matches and charcoal briquets to grill our burgers.
Meanwhile, Tyson has avoided jail time by agreeing to a plead guilty to disorderly conduct in a brawl with two men outside a Brooklyn hotel last year.
Say what?
According to the agreement, Tyson will perform 100 hours of community service. His lawyer said that will involve teaching and instructing children in boxing.
Excuse me, but what sane parent would allow his or her child near this man?
This is the guy, after all, who once told an opponent at a pre-fight press conference that he would eat his children.
Talk about Romper Room on acid.
"Today, children, Mr. Tyson will show you how to shadow-box, jump rope and bite off your opponent's ear."
We can hardly wait for tomorrow's topic: "Lessons I Learned While in Prison."
Like virtually every other sport, the amateur side of boxing is far better than its professional counterpart.
Unfortunately, there's usually little, if any, media coverage, and a perfect example was this weekend's Olympic box-offs in Cleveland. There will probably be only a small blip in the national papers Monday morning.
Liars and cheats
The reason is simple -- the pro game is fair game for every Johnny-come-lately who can lace up a pair of gloves, and for every con artist who can dupe the public into shelling out $40 or more for pay per view events.
For every Oscar De La Hoya, who can turn a championship ring career into lucrative entertainment and endorsement opportunities, there are dozens of Tysons, whose flame is fleeting and whose downfall is often precipitous and littered with countless brushes with the law.
Professional boxing continually inches closer to resembling professional wrestling, that is, more entertainment than sport.
But while the chair-wielding actors of the WWE and other such organizations can finally admit to their charade, professional boxing continues to cling, barely, to the essence of the "sweet science" that produced icons like Rocky Marciano, Billy Conn, Willie Pep and Joe Louis.
Instead, the public seems drawn to the lowest common denominator, like a Tyson, whose skills are barely a shadow of his heyday, but can still generate millions in pay-per-view because of the chance he'll blow a gasket in the ring, as he did against Evander Holyfield.
Earlier this month, Pittsburgh fighter Paul Spadafora filed for a marriage license. His intended is the 21-year-old woman he is accused of shooting last October.
Spadafora is free on $50,000 bond, but he's trying to arrange for a fight with Floyd Mayweather.
The situation would be laughable, if it wasn't so disturbing.
A 55-year-old man, long past his prime, can talk of returning to the ring and creating multi-million dollar paydays.
And it's the best news out of the sport in months. Sheesh.
XRob Todor is sports editor of The Vindicator. Write to him at