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The champ self-destructed

GIB TWYMAN, Kansas City Star:

Mike Tyson's rape conviction is the freeze frame that will stay with us in a story of a man who never knew when to say when. In the former heavyweight champion's case, it was not alcohol or cocaine or even sexual hunger that brought him down. It was the same thing that gets a lot of celebrities, who are told by society, and come to believe, that they are larger than life.

It is an addiction to the power of their celebrity. Tyson is the personification of a man drunk with delusions that his money and fame and ability to perform really well professionally all make him beyond the law, or outside the normal conventions of human conduct.

DON WADE, Evansville (Ind.) Courier

But what does it mean for us, to have Mike Tyson as a neighbor? Why, it means Tyson will be the most famous _ and infamous _ among us.

Tyson's residency will diminish Indiana coach Bob Knight's stature. Long recognized as a bully in a red sweater, Knight is reduced to merely being a great basketball coach and a slightly doughy guy in a Domino's Pizza commercial. And Purdue coach Gene Keady's legendary scowl _ not much of a match for the Tyson glare. Evansville native Don Mattingly is no longer the state's hardest hitter.

So welcome, Mike, and make yourself comfortable. Quite possibly for a very long time, you're Back Home Again in Indiana.

ED SCHUYLER Jr., Associated Press:

He brought a sense of menace to the ring, and there's nothing more magnetic in boxing than menace. Tyson once told an interviewer that sometime before a fight he felt overwhelmed by a destructive rage that frightened him.

"I wish I didn't feel that way," he said. "It scares me. It makes me think like there's something wrong with me. It's a miserable feeling. I hate it. But I also love it."

The ring was a vent for that rage.

"If I wasn't in boxing," Tyson once said, "I'd be breaking the law. That's my nature."

EARL GUSTKEY, Los Angeles Times:

So boxing will survive this. This one's easy. More strong, tough young men from the rough-and-tumble inner-city streets are on the way. There will always be an ample market for strong, tough young men who can fight.

Don't blame boxing for this one. This tragedy is all Tyson's _ his and his alone.

And please, don't blame it on the ghetto. No, not this time. Evander Holyfield grew up in a ghetto, too. And it wasn't him standing before the judge Monday night. It was Michael Gerard Tyson.

Up next:The NAACP

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