An eyewitness account of the title fight between James 'The Wolf' Wolfensohn of the World Bank team and 'Iron Mike' Tyson.
Wolfensohn v Tyson, Barcelona, 2001
This was the one that fight fans around the world had waited for- James the Wolf Wolfensohn and Mike Tyson were to battle for the belt under the glittering lights of Barcelona's magnificent Olympic Stadium. The fight was announced amidst unprecedented publicity, the tickets were snapped up at millions of pesetas a plate, people rushed to register themselves with satellite TV in the hope of affording the pay per view live coverage.
Months passed, the World Bank team were reluctant to answer questions, was their man in peak condition? Was he prepared to go the distance with Iron Mike?
I had the privilege of attending the weigh in. Tyson, heavy but toned, stood defiantly on the scales glaring at the crowd. Then came Wolfensohn, white and flabby in a pair of over sized shorts, he scarcely looked a prize fighter.
I put this to him at the press conference afterwards. Wolfensohn turned on me in a manic rage, with crazy eyes he ranted- "I kill you mother fucker, I fuck all your shitty countries. That punk?" he continued gesticulating at Tyson, "that punk only bit one ear and raped one woman. I've eaten up swathes of jungle and fucked half the planet! I'm a pretty fighter, I'm a pretty fighter" he ranted.
When the big day came, Barcelona's Olympic Stadium was like a cauldron. Never have I know such intensity, the noise, the lights, the heat, the stench of eau de cologne. Tyson emerged and the crowd went crazy, he looked focused, pumped, angry. There was an agonising wait, the crowd went quiet, then suddenly erupted as Wolfensohn strode out "Wolf, Wolf, Wolf" bayed the masses. He was still white and flabby and he hadn't changed those over sized shorts but he looked one mean fucker. Astonishingly, there was blood all over his hands- before the fight had even started.
I trembled with excitement as the announcer began. "In the red corner, representing rape and cannibalism, Iron MIKE TYSON. And in the black corner, representing pillage, murder, famine, drought and exploitation, James, THE WOLF, WOLFENSOHN. Wolfensohn grinned pathetically at the cameras, only the sadistic look in his eyes convinced me he was capable of doing damage.
The referee called them together: "okay men, touch gloves and come out fighting". They touched gloves and Wolfensohn flung himself to the floor. I stared bemused as he lay motionless, spread flat on the ground. The ref. looked confused, should he count? He implored the Wolf to stand up. Tyson tried to lift him up but Wolfensohn clutched desperately to the ropes. Eventually the ref. began to count, Wolfensohn lay flat for the duration of the count then got up and waddled to his corner. The crowd fell briefly silent then exploded in rage hurling first their programmes then bottles and chairs into the ring. One of them insisted "that fight was a joke, it was fixed, the whole thing was rigged to make money".
Later, Don king claimed: "ma boy took a punch dat's all there be to it. We want a rematch." But the whole incident has left many dissatisfied. Several fight commentators are now claiming that from the start Wolfensohn and the World Bank team were only interested in picking up the cheque.
Seriously, we've won round one before we've even started. Now lets go to Barcelona en masse and show the World Bank that they can run but they can't hide. We've got them on the ropes and now is the time to press home our advantage, to fight capitalism on our terms.
See you in June,