25 Years On, Douglas Should’ve Given Tyson A Rematch

It was Saturday night, February 10, 1990 in the United States, or if you were in Tokyo Japan, it was the 11th. And Mike Tyson 37-0 (33) was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and was in Japan for the second time in two years to defend his heavyweight title. His opponent was Ohio native James “Buster” Douglas 29-4-1 (19). After the fight Douglas would say that he drew strength from his mother Lula Pearl’s passing 23 days prior to climbing into the ring to challenge Tyson for what was then the biggest prize in professional sports.

At the time, Tyson was viewed as a human wrecking machine and at 23, was thought to be in his prime. Douglas, 29, was a fighter of considerable talent, who defeated three fighters (Trevor Berbick, Greg Page and Oliver McCall) who won a piece of the title at some point during their careers. However, the knock on Douglas was that he seen as a fighter who lacked dedication and drive. This of course changed, at least for one bout, the night he touched gloves with Tyson.

On the night of the fight, the 5-10, 220 1/2 Tyson was a ridiculous 42-1 favorite over the 6-4, 231 1/2 Douglas. And by the middle of the first round it was apparent that the odds-makers tremendously overrated Tyson and dramatically underrated Douglas. Douglas, showing no signs of being intimidated by Tyson, came right out and started jolting Mike with hard jabs and right crosses that landed flush on his chin as he tried to get inside. On this night Douglas was beautiful and couldn’t have fought more purposefully and efficiently. So much so that Tyson was hit more cleanly by Douglas through the first seven rounds of the fight than he had been in his previous 37 bouts combined. Other than for a momentary defensive lapse in the eighth round when Tyson dropped him for an eight count with a right uppercut, Douglas dominated the bout. As the fight progressed, Douglas began drilling Tyson with right uppercuts as he tried to forge his way inside, and in the 10th round it was a right uppercut that for all intents and purposes knocked Tyson out and relieved him of his title.

Douglas’ upset of Tyson was monumental and left the boxing world in shock. Immediately after the fight the excuses for Douglas winning and Tyson losing were falling out of the sky. These ranged from Douglas losing his mother actually became an advantage, something that wasn’t hinted at before the fight and that Tyson was partying too much with Japanese women and wasn’t up for the fight. Yet Tyson endured a beating and still was strong enough to drop Douglas with a single uppercut deep into the fight, thus exposing the myth he was completely out of shape.

Once the shock of seeing Tyson lose lessened, everybody wanted to see a rematch to find out if it really was a fluke or whether Douglas just had the right size and style to handle Tyson. But Douglas wanted to break his ties with promoter Don King and eventually bought out his contract and made his first defense against the mandatory challenger Evander Holyfield, 28, 24-0 (20). Holyfield had been slated to fight Tyson in a mega showdown between career rivals after Tyson presumably beat Douglas, but Douglas killed the chance of that happening, at least in 1990, with his knockout of Tyson. So instead of fighting Tyson in a rematch, Douglas agreed to meet Holyfield on October 25, 1990 in Las Vegas. At that time Holyfield had only fought six times as a heavyweight after relinquishing his cruiserweight title. The thought by Team Douglas and an overwhelming majority of the boxing public was, if Douglas can beat Tyson, then the former cruiserweight champ shouldn’t be much of a problem for him.

Oh, how wrong they were…

As fighters, Tyson and Holyfield couldn’t be more different. When Douglas took the title from Tyson, he used his long reach to hit and punish Mike on the way in. And since Tyson came in crouching, he was right there to be hit with a right uppercut – he practicality moved right into its path trajectory. The right uppercut was pivotal in Douglas hurting and slowing Tyson down…..the only problem with that was, Holyfield fought more straight up and was usually too far out of range for the uppercut that Douglas was looking to land. What worked against Tyson for Douglas, winning the fight at long range and finishing it with the uppercut, wasn’t there versus Holyfield. Holyfield had faster hands than Douglas and nullified his left jab. Once Douglas couldn’t land the jab, his offense was stymied and he began reaching and over-committing, which left him wide open to the head.

Well, the uppercut that put Tyson’s head on a swivel missed against Holyfield in the third round. Evander smartly took a half step back as the uppercut was short, then drilled Douglas with a straight right hand to the chin — and Douglas’ title tenure ended eight months after it started.

After the fight some said Douglas was too cocky and blew the fight at the weigh-in when he scaled 246, 15 pounds more than when he fought Tyson. But Douglas being 246 didn’t determine the fight. Sure, perhaps Douglas may have put up a better effort had he been fighting at 231, but that wasn’t what lost it for him.

The reason Douglas lost to Holyfield was because a) Holyfield was beyond a doubt the greater fighter and b) he had the perfect style to foil Douglas. Buster’s weight would’ve never overcome Holyfield’s strategic advantage.

I said in 1990, and feel even stronger in my conviction today that Douglas should’ve given Tyson a rematch. Douglas-Tyson II would’ve been huge, just as Holyfield-Tyson II was after Evander became the second fighter to beat Mike in 1996. Had they fought a rematch, Douglas would’ve entered it with all the confidence in the world and Tyson would’ve been the one second guessing himself once Douglas started raking him in the face again with hard jabs as Tyson tried to press the action. Also, regardless of how hard Tyson trained for the rematch, he couldn’t change his stripes and fight a different style. Douglas had the style to trouble and beat Tyson. The only problem Douglas might have encountered in the rematch was, a more focused and determined Tyson may have overcome the style disadvantage with his career riding on him winning the fight.

”I’m not going to make excuses,” said Tyson. “The new champion won the title. The only thing I ask for is a rematch. Once I get a rematch, I’ll take care of everything.”

”The name of the game,” said King, ”is money. Buster Douglas is not going to fight anybody else in the world and make as much money as he will fighting Mike Tyson.”

Based on what both Tyson and Don King said a few days after Tyson lost to Douglas, you can see that Tyson would’ve been highly motivated and focused the second time around, and King was right pertaining to the money. Fighting Tyson again would’ve equaled the $25 million Douglas earned fighting Holyfield, and if he lost the rematch against Tyson, as long as he made a good showing, the boxing world couldn’t line up fast enough to pay twice the amount of money to see the rubber match between them.

After losing to Holyfield, Douglas didn’t fight for six years. He returned to the ring in 1996, but was nowhere near the fighter he was the night he scored the biggest upset in boxing history. He went 8-1 versus a string of journeymen and never fought again after February 19th, 1999, almost nine years to the day after winning the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.

Looking back 25 years, Douglas would’ve been better off fighting Tyson in a rematch than fighting Holyfield. He could’ve parlayed the signature fight of his career into two more big fights and paydays instead of only one. And think of how big he’d be historically had he beaten Tyson in the rematch? And based on their first fight, that isn’t even a mild reach to ponder.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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COMMENTS

-Froggy :

I agree 100% Douglas should have given Tyson a rematch in his first defense ! But there is no way in hell anybody can convince me that the Buster Douglas that fought Tyson was the same Buster Douglas that fought Holyfield, Tyson knocked Douglas down from a hard punch and Douglas picked himself up and showed who was the better fighter that night ! Holyfield knocked Douglas down and when the referee was counting Douglas was counting with him, going, one million, two million and so on ! Douglas was only there for the paycheck, which if I remember correctly was the biggest in history at the time ! Douglas beat Tyson better than anybody ever did, including Lewis who learned how to box in the city where I live, but he never came remotely close to being that boxer again !


-amayseng :

Douglas should have been counted out, referee counted by 1/2's.. Just as importantly Douglas had just lost his mother, and anyone who has been through that knows your mind and spirit are on a different level. At that point James had nothing to fear or lose and he fought like it.


-stormcentre :

Tyson had a beautiful and sneaky way of getting in close. It was so simple, yet so often overlooked. Rather than throwing a punch to get in; sometimes he'd just walk up, with his hands up in that peek-a-boo defence (which was *vulnerable to uppercuts), occasionally bobbing and weaving if required. It befuddled some guys, as most fighters expected Mike (or their opponents) to be on the end of their punch, or thereabouts. But Mike would use this technique to get in, and once he was in they were not comfortable or familiar with that, and we all know what happened from there; if Mike was in his prime and motivated. At best (for them) if they attempted to punch back then, that just created more openings for Mike (who was in range, whilst they were not) to throw his damaging hooks, uppercuts, and rips. A lot of heavyweights Mike fought would try and jab him as he came in, but if they were not too slow at that then Mike's evasiveness was usually pretty good in the early days too - certainly better than both the defence and offence offered by the competition then anyway. If you look at some of the early training videos of Mike Tyson you can see all the moves and requirements that Mike's fighting style required in order to ensure his disadvantages of being short and without a significant reach were transformed into advantages. In essence, Mike and his team knew it was foolish to expect that he could fight a long range fight for 12 rounds against top opposition, and expect to win. Cus DeAmato clearly knew this. As much of Tyson's training routine - more than a lot of heavy or even lighter weights - was devoted to defence and evasiveness; so Mike could get close and do damage. I think the first guy to really test or show the limitations of this - even though Mike won on points (which may seem to contradict what I am saying) - was Tony Tucker. Against Tucker, Mike, particularly in the latter rounds, really looked lost and uncomfortable, even though Tyson managed to just pull out a points win against Tucker in a fight that Mike really didn't dominate and as such was much closer than the scorecards indicated; as Mike was heavily favoured in those days. If Mike didn't get guys out in the early rounds, and they had a decent chin, had faced adversity before, were not easily scared, possessed effective reach, and even some (any?) defence, Mike would sometimes get lost - particularly - as genuinely sad as it is/was - when he was without Cus in his corner. Mike knew this too. This is (one reason) why Mike would often steamroll opponents early. As rarely would anyone have the composure, chin and strength to keep a relatively fit and young Mike off their case, and once Mike landed; "ka-boom, that was all she wrote". If that fight approach proved effective then there was no need for the fight to get into stages where Mike was out of his comfort zone, exposed, and/or vulnerable; which - despite how predictable and dependent upon using stamina usually reserved for the late rounds, early, it was - for the most part worked well and was embraced by spectators and the networks alike, as - for the most part - they all ate it up as Mike wanting to destroy guys and entertain - which was not entirely untrue even though there was an underlying strategy there too that was itself built on a threat assessment and dare I say it fear. However, for the most part - until Douglas and Holyfield came along - Mike rarely meaningfully experienced these strategic and confidence issues against top level and/or young in-their-prime guys; so, to some extent his competition combined with his excellent skills usually meant he could get through the adversity. Sure Mike fought some guys that may have been considered to be top level before Douglas and Holyfield - like Tubbs, Biggs and Berwick - but they were not really aware of and/or composed enough to realise what to do in order to survive the first 4 or 5 rounds, and then take Mike into the latter stages of a fight. Usually, before round 2, if not before and/or as the ring was scaled, their bowels had long turned to water. By contrast, a guy like Ali would have known (what to do) before he jumped in the ring with Mike and he would have let him and the world know it so as to chip away at Mike's psychological advantage; but that's another story. Unfortunately for Mike, and also all of us, as Mike came into the top level competition and the names that have stood the test of time that we talk off today - like Douglas and Holyfield - his training regime had shrunk. And as it downsized gone with it were many of the evasive aspects that Cus had diligently installed into Tyson over the early years for the purposes we discuss here; so Mike could get close and do the work he both does best and must do in order to win the fight. Once that (aspect of Mike's game) was gone, Mike had effectively misplaced the key to the door that allowed him to fight the fight he wanted and needed to. At that point, for Mike's top level opponents, Mike's predictability and vulnerability became a certainty. That wasn't all that Mike had to contend with either, because as Mike came into the fight with Donovan Ruddock there was a raft of personal, financial, female, and legal issues that had distracted Mike from what he did best. Tony TNT Tucker, in some way, laid out a plan in which (possibly, a personally distracted) Tyson can be taken into the late rounds; by keeping him at distance/bay with the jab and tying him up in close. Buster Douglas and Co most probably saw that and in turn laid out part of the blueprint to defeat Tyson, as Frank (the author of this thread) has described; jabs, *uppercuts, and well placed right crosses. * (
Note: I believe Tyson used the wrong defence to walk up to his opponents - as the peek-a-boo defence was vulnerable to uppercuts - whereas the cross armed defence, such as that Tua sometimes adopted, is not; but - as with my above comments about Ali/Tyson - that's another story). Following on from Buster Douglas' blueprint . . . . Holyfield - as with any guy that has (boxed internationally as an amateur and/or at the Olympics, and) been exposed to various boxing styles - would have known; a) All the intricate parts required to keep the style working that Mike must adopt in order for him to be successful, were not there anymore. b) Even if Mike's style was in good working order, what he (Evander) brought to the blueprint that Douglas and Tucker created would still mean Mike was taken into deep waters. c) Mike, due to his physical limitations, can, really, only, adopt one truly effective style within the fight, and that style is both very dangerous early on and heavily reliant upon championship stamina - something that was already in question for Mike. If nothing else, Mike Tyson was a guy that captured the hearts of boxing and sporting fans around the world like no other did. At times he was an immense force within the sporting and celebrity world that knew no limits - I mean, how many guys can wear short-pyjamas onto late night shows and get away with it?
->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIIqgr1XO8M At other times Mike was also a fabulous disaster. Many times it was hard to tell which he was and/or if both instances of his presence where serving their time in front of us concurrently. Through it all - despite how horrific some of it was and also how Mike was both responsible and not responsible for all that happened - it's hard not to love Mike. Mike both personified and symbolised all the great and some of the negative facets associated with the people that society creates. The highs and lows were breathtaking, as they rocketed up to Everest and then went from there to the Mariana Trench, then back up halfway to Everest again; only to come back down . . . to who Mike really is beneath it all; a kind, gentle guy, that just needed to be understood, loved, and not exploited. His unique and unusual - for a heavyweight champion - mix of honesty, violence, frustration, fame, and vulnerability always seem to shine through and cast a light that asks you to understand his predicament - rather than ridicule, judge and walk from it; as we may all be entitled to. In his prime, with all the intricate parts of his destructive machine oiled and in synch, he was a monster. His punching power was frightening. Was there ever a more exciting modern day heavyweight fighter to anticipate and watch? I don't think so.


-gibola :

Holyfield had earned his shot, he couldn't be shut out any longer, Douglas did the right thing and he was well paid for doing it. Fans at the time had no complaints about a Holyfield-Douglas fight. Style-wise, you can argue Tyson was a better fit, but we now know the Tokyo Tyson barely trained so I think Douglas lost the title either way in his next fight.


-stormcentre :

Holyfield had earned his shot, he couldn't be shut out any longer, Douglas did the right thing and he was well paid for doing it. Fans at the time had no complaints about a Holyfield-Douglas fight. Style-wise, you can argue Tyson was a better fit, but we now know the Tokyo Tyson barely trained so I think Douglas lost the title either way in his next fight.
Gibola, you have not posted here for a while. Good to see you return. At least that's what I thought when I saw your previous return post on another thread. The Tyson V Douglas fight echoes through the heavyweight corridors of past times and brings back thoughts for us all - don't you agree? 25 years ago. Wow man I hadn't even come to Sydney then, but we all knew of Mike Tyson. Loud, brash, overalls, and seriously dangerous. When I grew up in the gym there was a really good middleweight fighter that was one of those amateurs that you and everyone just looked at and either said or thought; "this kid is going places on the world scene". The kid was scoring knockout wins in junior state title contests with full headgear. He grew out of middleweight and eventually became a heavyweight where, for a while, he utterly dominated. Part of that domination was due to the fact that, as a middleweight, the kid had really learned how to move, throw combinations, and do all sorts of cool and devastating things that most guys - whom are heavyweights walking into the gym - just don't bother with; as usually it's all about power for them. As a heavyweight it served him really well, because if there's one thing I am certain of it's that - whilst the bigger guys aren't always better or harder to spar - the heavyweights with fast hands, good technique, good balance, and decent stamina . . well they're the guys you need to look out for. This kid was one of them and him and I became pretty good friends. Due to the twists and turns of life and boxing, we both got to travel and fight different guys from different places in different countries. As a result of this I saw first hand why and how to keep a fight long, particularly when the other guy can't afford to and the contest truly can end with one shot; in the heavyweights. There's no doubt in my mind that Buster Douglas and his team had the right plan going into the Tyson fight. Sure Tyson probably didn't prepare well, and whilst I'll touch a little more on that later, that was pretty much the case throughout Mike's career once Cus had passed. Buster Douglas’ father was a boxer of not too shabby repute himself. Pretty tough dude from what I once heard, and as such I can't imagine that Buster would not have taken a download or two from Dad - whom showed Buster the boxing ropes - on how to fight/beat Mike. My bet is that because Douglas gassed against Tucker in a previous bout (to Buster's fight with Tyson) Tyson (like most of the world) may have subsequently thought that fighting Buster Douglas was going to be easy, and as such Tyson didn’t train all that intensely and/or well. In fact, if I remember correctly once Mike signed with King, Mike's longstanding trainer (that succeeded Cus) Kevin Rooney was replaced (bad move), and Mike’s "new team" not only didn't gel very well with Mike - but they were also so inexperienced and/or cocky (in relation to the Douglas fight) that they didn’t bring any EndSwell device to Tokyo. As a result Mike's corner became a circus during the Buster Douglas fight; itself a match-up whose danger quotient was gravely underestimated. Not only that, but Mike's "new team" also went to Tokyo, it seems, without a cut man. Subsequently Mike’s swollen left eye - courteous of the underestimated Buster Douglas - could not be controlled; despite the corner embarrassing themselves (and Mike) with a makeshift cold compress botched together with a rubber glove and ice water. Nice!! In effect it was just a "cold" as the compliance of the rubber glove and water rendered its usefulness as a compress to be useless. Still, nothing about the ultimate conclusion of the fight in Tokyo really turned on the genius of King appointing Mike a "new corner-team"; as the die was cast long before then, with the accretion disk spinning. Prior to flying out to Tokyo, Tyson had all manner of personal, female, and legal issues. As such he was hardly in a good "head space" for the fight. In fact, looking back, even discounting the fact he had just signed with King and been awarded his "new corner-team", Mike probably couldn't have had more issues to deal with. During preparation for Douglas, whilst swapping leather with Greg Page, apparently Page knocked down Tyson with remarkable ease before the Douglas fight and the news made it to the Douglas camp. Mike had fought many times in a condition that was not to his team's pleasing, but in with Buster it soon became obvious that Douglas probably represented the entry threshold point of the top level of opposition that mike was going to get away with doing that. Unfortunately that realisation coincided with Mike also meeting someone that not only knew the importance of keeping the fight long against him - but could also do it; thus stealing Mike's aura of invincibility and exposing him as a slave to his lifestyle. In some ways there are not too many differences between Mike and Floyd Jr. but for all his out of the ring antics Floyd knows the value of staying in shape. Without it any technique you have is ice-cream in the sun on a hot day after a few rounds. And so the writing was on the wall. Since Tyson had to fight short or get in close, his game plan was predictable; destruct and destroy early - or at least maim them early so that they can't control and/or keep the fight long. Those considerations and concerns were further amplified as an unfit Mike spent energy - not getting in close and doing damage, but - fending off long Buster Douglas jabs and right crosses; whom also kept moving back or tying up even if Tyson did manage to come forward. Frustration, embarrassment, and exhaustion are not your friends in the boxing ring. Since Mike had not even trained and prepared as well as his "new team" would have liked (surprise, surprise, they couldn't control him), Mike was unable to even attempt to capitalise on the knockdown of Douglas – that occurred in the 8th – in the 9th round and after his minutes' break. A well conditioned Tyson would never have let his mark of the hook like that. But this was Tokyo 1990 - not USA 1986 (Pinklon Thomas) or USA 1987 (Trevor Berwick). As a result Douglas, within reason, recovered within the break between rounds 8 and 9; perhaps some of this is due to the fact that the knockdown Tyson bestowed upon him took place in the latter part of round 8. At the start of round 9 - like everybody else not in the ring - Douglas and his team could easily see and sense that Mike was not capable of finishing what he started in the previous stanza. As a result - instead of having to deal with Tyson going in for the kill and finishing him off - as may have well been the case if matters were different and/or had taken place only 3 or 5 years earlier when Mike was in his training prime; Mike gave way his burning lungs and confused mind. In turn, this sent a signal directly to Douglas that his mother's wishes and recent passing (just prior to the fight) may not completely be in vain. With the green light switched to "go", Buster then proceeded to not only recover from the knockdown Tyson hit him with - but he also commenced handing out a serious beating to Tyson. That uppercut Douglas hit Tyson with in the 10th to ultimately end the fight was about as perfectly timed as they come. What a pearler. I would not ever like to get hit like that by a guy as big as any decent top level heavyweight. It's still remarkable that Mike was not out cold from it - instead he scrambled on all fours for his mouthpiece, to keep the fight going. In boxing not much is as it seems, and true to form as soon as Buster Douglas won the fight against Tyson, King then protested on the (imagined) grounds that the count (when Douglas went down in the 8th from Tyson’s uppercut) was too long. At that point whatever happened you knew, if King had his way, it was not going to be good for Douglas. Never mind the fact that - in most sanction's rule book - the referee's count and the pace of it, is final. Luckily though Buster’s team had taken the actual championship belt as soon as he won, so when they heard of King’s complaint and move Buster still got to enjoy the title and strap. Aside from there being no regulatory grounds for King's claim and how unfair it was to tarnish Buster's win in that way; the amazing thing was that – to me at least – when I watched the fight, and whenever I replay it, it seemed as if Douglas quite clearly raised himself from the canvass and was ready to continue by the count of 9. Still, none of this was cause for hesitation with King, as he protested that the evidence to support his claim was irrefutable and incontrovertible, and that the first knockout (a knockdown authored by Tyson) totally obliterated the second knockout (a knockdown and knockout - as Mike couldn't continue - authored by Douglas). As we all know Mike's life pretty much spun out of control after the Douglas loss. And as we all might not know, Douglas' life too spiralled downward after his loss to Holyfield, which was in James' very next fight. Reports have it that James' weight was approaching 400 pounds before he put the brakes on. For me I'll never forget being so shocked that Tyson was knocked out when it was not expected. And now the memory of that "shock" itself also holds as a curiosity too. Because how - in a sport that's as difficult to dedicate to, dominate in, and stay on top as boxing is - could I have ever been so sure that any heavyweight fighter was a dead set certainty to win all the time. The pain of being fooled about that is made easier by the fact that along with me, was the rest of the world. For a while there Mike Tyson was not just a heavyweight fighter, he was in our hearts and minds and that's why we believed he was invincible.


-stormcentre :

Gibola, you have not posted here for a while. At least that's what I thought when I saw your previous return post on another thread. Good to see you return. The Tyson V Douglas fight echoes through the heavyweight corridors of past times and brings back thoughts for us all - don't you agree? 25 years ago. Wow man I hadn't even come to Sydney then, but we all knew of Mike Tyson. Loud, brash, overalls, and seriously dangerous. When I grew up in the gym there was a really good middleweight fighter that was one of those amateurs that you and everyone just looked at and either said or thought; "this kid is going places on the world scene". The kid was scoring knockout wins in junior state title contests with full headgear. He grew out of middleweight and eventually became a heavyweight where, for a while, he utterly dominated. Part of that domination was due to the fact that, as a middleweight, the kid had really learned how to move, throw combinations, and do all sorts of cool and devastating things that most guys - whom are heavyweights walking into the gym - just don't bother with; as usually it's all about power for them. As a heavyweight it served him really well, because if there's one thing I am certain of it's that - whilst the bigger guys aren't always better or harder to spar - the heavyweights with fast hands, good technique, good balance, and decent stamina . . well they're the guys you need to look out for. This kid was one of them and him and I became pretty good friends. Due to the twists and turns of life and boxing, we both got to travel and fight different guys from different places in different countries. As a result of this I saw first hand why and how to keep a fight long, particularly when the other guy can't afford to and the contest truly can end with one shot; in the heavyweights. There's no doubt in my mind that Buster Douglas and his team had the right plan going into the Tyson fight. Sure Tyson probably didn't prepare well, and whilst I'll touch a little more on that later, that was pretty much the case throughout Mike's career once Cus had passed. Buster Douglas’ father was a boxer of not too shabby repute himself. Pretty tough dude from what I once heard, and as such I can't imagine that Buster would not have taken a download or two from Dad - whom showed Buster the boxing ropes - on how to fight/beat Mike. My bet is that because Douglas gassed against Tucker in a previous bout (to Buster's fight with Tyson) Tyson (like most of the world) may have subsequently thought that fighting Buster Douglas was going to be easy, and as such Tyson didn’t train all that intensely and/or well. In fact, if I remember correctly once Mike signed with King, Mike's longstanding trainer (that succeeded Cus) Kevin Rooney was replaced (bad move), and Mike’s "new team" not only didn't gel very well with Mike - but they were also so inexperienced and/or cocky (in relation to the Douglas fight) that they didn’t bring any EndSwell device to Tokyo. As a result Mike's corner became a circus during the Buster Douglas fight; itself a match-up whose danger quotient was gravely underestimated. Not only that, but Mike's "new team" also went to Tokyo, it seems, without a cut man. Subsequently Mike’s swollen left eye - courteous of the underestimated Buster Douglas - could not be controlled; despite the corner embarrassing themselves (and Mike) with a makeshift cold compress botched together with a rubber glove and ice water. Nice!! In effect it was just a "cold" as the compliance of the rubber glove and water rendered its usefulness as a compress to be useless. Still, nothing about the ultimate conclusion of the fight in Tokyo really turned on the genius of King appointing Mike a "new corner-team"; as the die was cast long before then, with the accretion disk spinning. Prior to flying out to Tokyo, Tyson had all manner of personal, female, and legal issues. As such he was hardly in a good "head space" for the fight. In fact, looking back, even discounting the fact he had just signed with King and been awarded his "new corner-team", Mike probably couldn't have had more issues to deal with. During preparation for Douglas, whilst swapping leather with Greg Page, apparently Page knocked down Tyson with remarkable ease before the Douglas fight and the news made it to the Douglas camp. Mike had fought many times in a condition that was not to his team's pleasing, but in with Buster it soon became obvious that Douglas probably represented the entry threshold point of the top level of opposition that Mike was going to get away with doing that. Unfortunately that realisation coincided with Mike also meeting someone that not only knew the importance of keeping the fight long against him - but could also do it; thus stealing Mike's aura of invincibility and exposing him as a slave to his lifestyle. In some ways there are not too many differences between Mike and Floyd Jr. but for all his out of the ring antics Floyd knows the value of staying in shape. Without it any technique you have is ice-cream in the sun on a hot day after a few rounds. And so the writing was on the wall. Since Tyson had to fight short or get in close, his game plan was predictable; destruct and destroy early - or at least maim them early so that they can't control and/or keep the fight long. Those considerations and concerns were further amplified as an unfit Mike spent energy - not getting in close and doing damage, but - fending off long Buster Douglas jabs and right crosses; whom also kept moving back or tying up even if Tyson did manage to come forward. Frustration, embarrassment, and exhaustion are not your friends in the boxing ring. Since Mike had not even trained and prepared as well as his "new team" would have liked (surprise, surprise, they couldn't control him), Mike was unable to even attempt to capitalise on the knockdown of Douglas – that occurred in the 8th – in the 9th round and after his minutes' break. A well conditioned Tyson would never have let his mark of the hook like that. But this was Tokyo 1990 - not USA 1986 (Trevor Berwick) or USA 1987 (Pinklon Thomas). As a result Douglas, within reason, recovered within the break between rounds 8 and 9; perhaps some of this is due to the fact that the knockdown Tyson bestowed upon him took place in the latter part of round 8. At the start of round 9 - like everybody else not in the ring - Douglas and his team could easily see and sense that Mike was not capable of finishing what he started in the previous stanza. As a result - instead of having to deal with Tyson going in for the kill and finishing him off - as may have well been the case if matters were different and/or had taken place only 3 or 5 years earlier when Mike was in his training prime; Mike gave way to his burning lungs and confused mind. In turn, this sent a signal directly to Douglas that his mother's wishes and recent passing (just prior to the fight) may not completely be in vain. With the green light switched to "go", Buster then proceeded to not only recover from the knockdown Tyson hit him with - but he also commenced handing out a serious beating to Tyson. That uppercut Douglas hit Tyson with in the 10th to ultimately end the fight was about as perfectly timed as they come. What a pearler. I would not ever like to get hit like that by a guy as big as any decent top level heavyweight. It's still remarkable that Mike was not out cold from it - instead he scrambled on all fours for his mouthpiece, to keep the fight going. In boxing not much is as it seems, and true to form as soon as Buster Douglas won the fight against Tyson, King then protested on the (imagined) grounds that the count (when Douglas went down in the 8th from Tyson’s uppercut) was too long. At that point whatever happened you knew, if King had his way, it was not going to be good for Douglas. Never mind the fact that - in most sanction's rule book - the referee's count and the pace of it, is final. Luckily though Buster’s team had taken the actual championship belt as soon as he won, so when they heard of King’s complaint and move Buster still got to enjoy the title and strap. Aside from there being no regulatory grounds for King's claim and how unfair it was to tarnish Buster's win in that way; the amazing thing was that – to me at least – when I watched the fight, and whenever I replay it, it seemed as if Douglas quite clearly raised himself from the canvass and was ready to continue by the count of 9. Still, none of this was cause for hesitation with King, as he protested that the evidence to support his claim was irrefutable and incontrovertible, and that the first knockout (a knockdown authored by Tyson) totally obliterated the second knockout (a knockdown and knockout - as Mike couldn't continue - authored by Douglas). As we all know Mike's life pretty much spun out of control after the Douglas loss. And as we all might not know, Douglas' life too spiralled downward after his loss to Holyfield, which was in James' very next fight. Reports have it that James' weight was approaching 400 pounds before he put the brakes on. For me I'll never forget being so shocked that Tyson was knocked out when it was not expected. And now the memory of that "shock" itself also holds as a curiosity too. Because how - in a sport that's as difficult to dedicate to, dominate in, and stay on top as boxing is - could I have ever been so sure that any heavyweight fighter was a dead set certainty to win all the time. The pain of being fooled about that is made easier by the fact that along with me, was the rest of the world. For a while there Mike Tyson was not just a heavyweight fighter, he was in our hearts and minds and that's why we believed he was invincible.


-stormcentre :

Gibola, you have not posted here for a while. At least that's what I thought when I saw your previous return post on another thread. Good to see you return. The Tyson V Douglas fight echoes through the heavyweight corridors of past times and brings back thoughts for us all - don't you agree? 25 years ago. Wow man I hadn't even come to Sydney then, but we all knew of Mike Tyson. Loud, brash, overalls, and seriously dangerous. When I grew up in the gym there was a really good middleweight fighter that was one of those amateurs that you and everyone just looked at and either said or thought; "this kid is going places on the world scene". The kid was scoring knockout wins in junior state title contests with full headgear. He grew out of middleweight and eventually became a heavyweight where, for a while, he utterly dominated. Part of that domination was due to the fact that, as a middleweight, the kid had really learned how to move, throw combinations, and do all sorts of cool and devastating things that most guys - whom are heavyweights walking into the gym - just don't bother with; as usually it's all about power for them. As a heavyweight it served him really well, because if there's one thing I am certain of it's that - whilst the bigger guys aren't always better or harder to spar - the heavyweights with fast hands, good technique, good balance, and decent stamina . . well they're the guys you need to look out for. This kid was one of them and him and I became pretty good friends. Due to the twists and turns of life and boxing, we both got to travel and fight different guys from different places in different countries. As a result of this I saw first hand why and how to keep a fight long, particularly when the other guy can't afford to and the contest truly can end with one shot; in the heavyweights. There's no doubt in my mind that Buster Douglas and his team had the right plan going into the Tyson fight. Sure Tyson probably didn't prepare well, and whilst I'll touch a little more on that later, that was pretty much the case throughout Mike's career once Cus had passed. Buster Douglas? father was a boxer of not too shabby repute himself. Pretty tough dude from what I once heard, and as such I can't imagine that Buster would not have taken a download or two from Dad - whom showed Buster the boxing ropes - on how to fight/beat Mike. My bet is that because Douglas gassed against Tucker in a previous bout (to Buster's fight with Tyson) Tyson (like most of the world) may have subsequently thought that fighting Buster Douglas was going to be easy, and as such Tyson didn?t train all that intensely and/or well. In fact, if I remember correctly once Mike signed with King, Mike's longstanding trainer (that succeeded Cus) Kevin Rooney was replaced (bad move), and Mike?s "new team" not only didn't gel very well with Mike - but they were also so inexperienced and/or cocky (in relation to the Douglas fight) that they didn?t bring any EndSwell device to Tokyo. As a result Mike's corner became a circus during the Buster Douglas fight; itself a match-up whose danger quotient was gravely underestimated. Not only that, but Mike's "new team" also went to Tokyo, it seems, without a cut man. Subsequently Mike?s swollen left eye - courteous of the underestimated Buster Douglas - could not be controlled; despite the corner embarrassing themselves (and Mike) with a makeshift cold compress botched together with a rubber glove and ice water. Nice!! In effect it was just a "cold" as the compliance of the rubber glove and water rendered its usefulness as a compress to be useless. Still, nothing about the ultimate conclusion of the fight in Tokyo really turned on the genius of King appointing Mike a "new corner-team"; as the die was cast long before then, with the accretion disk spinning. Prior to flying out to Tokyo, Tyson had all manner of personal, female, and legal issues. As such he was hardly in a good "head space" for the fight. In fact, looking back, even discounting the fact he had just signed with King and been awarded his "new corner-team", Mike probably couldn't have had more issues to deal with. During preparation for Douglas, whilst swapping leather with Greg Page, apparently Page knocked down Tyson with remarkable ease before the Douglas fight and the news made it to the Douglas camp. Mike had fought many times in a condition that was not to his team's pleasing, but in with Buster it soon became obvious that Douglas probably represented the entry threshold point of the top level of opposition that Mike was going to get away with doing that. Unfortunately that realisation coincided with Mike also meeting someone that not only knew the importance of keeping the fight long against him - but could also do it; thus stealing Mike's aura of invincibility and exposing him as a slave to his lifestyle. In some ways there are not too many differences between Mike and Floyd Jr. but for all his out of the ring antics Floyd knows the value of staying in shape. Without it any technique you have is ice-cream in the sun on a hot day after a few rounds. And so the writing was on the wall. Since Tyson had to fight short or get in close, his game plan was predictable; destruct and destroy early - or at least maim them early so that they can't control and/or keep the fight long. Those considerations and concerns were further amplified as an unfit Mike spent energy - not getting in close and doing damage, but - fending off long Buster Douglas jabs and right crosses; whom also kept moving back or tying up even if Tyson did manage to come forward. Frustration, embarrassment, and exhaustion are not your friends in the boxing ring. Since Mike had not even trained and prepared as well as his "new team" would have liked (surprise, surprise, they couldn't control him), Mike was unable to even attempt to capitalise on the knockdown of Douglas ? that occurred in the 8th ? in the 9th round and after his minutes' break. A well conditioned Tyson would never have let his mark of the hook like that. But this was Tokyo 1990 - not USA 1986 (Trevor Berwick) or USA 1987 (Pinklon Thomas). As a result Douglas, within reason, recovered within the break between rounds 8 and 9; perhaps some of this is due to the fact that the knockdown Tyson bestowed upon him took place in the latter part of round 8. At the start of round 9 - like everybody else not in the ring - Douglas and his team could easily see and sense that Mike was not capable of finishing what he started in the previous stanza. As a result - instead of having to deal with Tyson going in for the kill and finishing him off - as may have well been the case if matters were different and/or had taken place only 3 or 5 years earlier when Mike was in his training prime; Mike gave way to his burning lungs and confused mind. In turn, this sent a signal directly to Douglas that his mother's wishes and recent passing (just prior to the fight) may not completely be in vain. With the green light switched to "go", Buster then proceeded to not only recover from the knockdown Tyson hit him with - but he also commenced handing out a serious beating to Tyson. That uppercut Douglas hit Tyson with in the 10th to ultimately end the fight was about as perfectly timed as they come. What a pearler. I would not ever like to get hit like that by a guy as big as any decent top level heavyweight. It's still remarkable that Mike was not out cold from it - instead he scrambled on all fours for his mouthpiece, to keep the fight going. In boxing not much is as it seems, and true to form as soon as Buster Douglas won the fight against Tyson, King then protested on the (imagined) grounds that the count (when Douglas went down in the 8th from Tyson?s uppercut) was too long. At that point whatever happened you knew, if King had his way, it was not going to be good for Douglas. Never mind the fact that - in most sanction's rule book - the referee's count and the pace of it, is final. Luckily though Buster?s team had taken the actual championship belt as soon as he won, so when they heard of King?s complaint and move Buster still got to enjoy the title and strap. Aside from there being no regulatory grounds for King's claim and how unfair it was to tarnish Buster's win in that way; the amazing thing was that ? to me at least ? when I watched the fight, and whenever I replay it, it seemed as if Douglas quite clearly raised himself from the canvass and was ready to continue by the count of 9. Still, none of this was cause for hesitation with King, as he protested that the evidence to support his claim was irrefutable and incontrovertible, and that the first knockout (a knockdown authored by Tyson) totally obliterated the second knockout (a knockdown and knockout - as Mike couldn't continue - authored by Douglas). As we all know Mike's life pretty much spun out of control after the Douglas loss. And as we all might not know, Douglas' life too spiralled downward after his loss to Holyfield, which was in James' very next fight. Reports have it that James' weight was approaching 400 pounds before he put the brakes on. For me I'll never forget being so shocked that Tyson was knocked out when it was not expected. And now the memory of that "shock" itself also holds as a curiosity too. Because how - in a sport that's as difficult to dedicate to, dominate in, and stay on top as boxing is - could I have ever been so sure that any heavyweight fighter was a dead set certainty to win all the time. The pain of being fooled about that is made easier by the fact that along with me, was the rest of the world. For a while there Mike Tyson was not just a heavyweight fighter, he was in our hearts and minds and that's why we believed he was invincible.


-Domenic :

I can go along with Douglas "should" have given Tyson a rematch, but Tyson was already queued up to get the winner of Douglas-Holyfield, so it's not like he was being shut out (indeed, Holyfield-Tyson was set, but a Tyson injury and Indianapolis derailed it until 11/96). As for the rematch, had it happened, if Douglas had showed up for Tyson the way he did against Holyfield, I think he'd have been knocked out. Early. 25 years ago today was Douglas' Magnum Opus. He was in spectacular shape, sharply focused, and intensely driven. Douglas was a great fighter for that one morning in Japan. But he couldn't sustain it. He was a horse that ran a spectacular race, wins the Kentucky Derby, but flops in the Preakness and Belmont. He wasn't Secretariat, as they don't come along too often. As for the so-called long count, Douglas was in complete control of his faculties, slams his glove against the canvas at the referee's count of 2, and intently listens to his count until he stands at 9. Sure, he doesn't spring to his feet, and seemed to come perilously close to the 10 count for a guy that was listening to the count, but he beats it. The referee's count carries the day, not a stop watch, but a human being, and if you watch the video below, I think the ref performs the task competently. Tyson's knockdown of Douglas is at the 33:30 mark.
->https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R8z0xoMze8U


-brownsugar :

I can go along with Douglas "should" have given Tyson a rematch, but Tyson was already queued up to get the winner of Douglas-Holyfield, so it's not like he was being shut out (indeed, Holyfield-Tyson was set, but a Tyson injury and Indianapolis derailed it until 11/96). As for the rematch, had it happened, if Douglas had showed up for Tyson the way he did against Holyfield, I think he'd have been knocked out. Early. 25 years ago today was Douglas' Magnum Opus. He was in spectacular shape, sharply focused, and intensely driven. Douglas was a great fighter for that one morning in Japan. But he couldn't sustain it. He was a horse that ran a spectacular race, wins the Kentucky Derby, but flops in the Preakness and Belmont. He wasn't Secretariat, as they don't come along too often. As for the so-called long count, Douglas was in complete control of his faculties, slams his glove against the canvas at the referee's count of 2, and intently listens to his count until he stands at 9. Sure, he doesn't spring to his feet, and seemed to come perilously close to the 10 count for a guy that was listening to the count, but he beats it. The referee's count carries the day, not a stop watch, but a human being, and if you watch the video below, I think the ref performs the task competently. Tyson's knockdown of Douglas is at the 33:30 mark.
->https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R8z0xoMze8U
Very well stated Domenic, especially the horseracing bits....... I could see if Douglas was 3 sheets to wind like Bute was when he was being propped up by the ring post after being pummelled into a completely incoherent state by former Wendy's fry-cook, Librabo Andrade. Douglas was counting with the ref and couldn't wait to return the favor. He literally looked like a middleweight and had the punch out put of a welterweight. I love how Tyson always says he didn't train or couldn't remember what he was doing after a loss. Douglas would have smoked him on his best day with that performance. Never have I seen a fighter beaten so viciously while the announcer was talking about everything else under the sun except the very explicit punishment Tyson was receiving. Colonel Bob just kept saying Tyson was going to end the fight at any moment......it wasn't till the eight round of a one-sided beat down that Sheridan finally acknowledged the most unlikely and horrific upset since the invention of the automatic transmission.... We knew it was going to happen...In Douglas' home town of Columbus OH, they shined a Spotlight on Douglas every night on the local news and you could visibly see that something had taken a hold of him....its wasn't the words ....you could see that Douglas was possessed. Columbus is a town of tremendous pride... And there was a collective pull on Douglas to succeed as if he was the star quarterback leading the Bucks to the Rose bowl.


-Froggy :

brownsugar, I have always felt Douglas beat Tyson better than anyone, including my homeboy Lennox Lewis, and I agree 100%, the best Mike Tyson would have lost to Douglas that night ! I always thought even before that fight that a tall, very good heavyweight that was not petrified of Tyson and would fight to win could beat him ! He lost his aura of invincibility in that fight and the rest of his career reflects that !


-brownsugar :

brownsugar, I have always felt Douglas beat Tyson better than anyone, including my homeboy Lennox Lewis, and I agree 100%, the best Mike Tyson would have lost to Douglas that night ! I always thought even before that fight that a tall, very good heavyweight that was not petrified of Tyson and would fight to win could beat him ! He lost his aura of invincibility in that fight and the rest of his career reflects that !
Couldn't have said it better Froggy. Tyson woulda coulda done a lot of things but this is what happened.


-Froggy :

Couldn't have said it better Froggy. Tyson woulda coulda done a lot of things but this is what happened.
Kind words, thank you !


-stormcentre :

Tyson had serious potential when he was with Cus DeAmato (spelling?). When he had all that insane, upper body movement, agility, power, speed, and combinations . .. . well he was almost unstoppable. But, as he climbed through the professional ranks for his first year or so of fights he was really fed a lot of guys that had absolutely no chance; due to how seriously-much better Mike was than his opposition. Even though it would - to some extent - come home to haunt him later; this is not really Mike's fault. It's just how cleverly he was managed. Put together with what was, arguably, one of the better media and promotional jobs I have ever seen on a heavyweight fighter that was really only just coming through the pro ranks; and we all - deeply . . . actually very deeply - believed and bought in. Mike was the business as they say in some parts over in the UK. I know I will never forget seeing the first Tyson documentary I saw and how this, orphaned, compact, and muscular heavyweight was training and quickly ducking and throwing punches with the speed and agility of supremely talented middle or welterweight. But all mixed in with the stamina and power of a big time heavyweight. It blew my mind in a way where it was nice to be (safely) scared about Mike's potential. But the facts of the case are that in boxing it's hard to stay on the top and dominate in a sport like boxing where - once you're the champion - you're (meant to be) continuously facing the best each country or state has in your weight division. Take a look at the population of each major country (or USA state) on the earth, and tell me the best fighter amongst all them, one after another, is not a tall order. At that championship level - in fact well before it - no matter how good you are, you're going to come across fighter and team that now how to present you with a style and problem that creates the greatest difficulty for you and what you bring. And when that starts to happen, even if you overcome that challenge the first time, the world's eyes are on you. As that big heavyweight cash prize money is sitting right on top your head, and if you think that all the other heavyweight guys around the world have slogged it out in the amateurs for years, to then turn pro and struggle for years with domestic opportunities, promoters, and paydays, plus train 6 days a week, to not get a slice of what you got - wake up and think again sucker. You are the target. And for some of the top level guys, fear is not a consideration. For them the greater fear is to not have got the change and/or tried. So, even if you do overcome that first or second stylistic and strategic challenge the first time, thousands of knowledgeable promotional and boxing eyes are watching and seeing how uncomfortable you were with certain things your opponent brought to the table. So, it's almost inevitable that as you; a) Loosen the belt with all your championship earnings you have worked hard for. b) Decide you don't need to train every Wednesday (now that you have a red-hot supermodel girlie who also has the same day off). c) Get perhaps justifiably arrogant and/or disappointed with the world around you. d) In some cases, possibly, start to turn your brain into scrambled eggs every weekend. The path of your ever so slight decline (that even you may not notice) will cross with that path mapped out by the increase in competition and what they're quietly learning of you. You see to stay on top - aside from being extremely talented, prepared to listen/learn, and dedicated, to start with - you need to either control your opposition choices and/or keep improving and/or changing your style - or selling false vulnerabilities to the audience; or all the above. So, given that, it's reasonably easy to see where the mistakes creep in, and how the downfalls quickly follow. After all most guys only crave the big championship fights/paydays so they can be financially comfortable. But when they finally get there they (only) then realize that they can't always enjoy what they have because, amongst other things, there is an entire business army around them that they must sustain. Plus, if they stop training for too long now little mistakes creep in that may complement their opposition's plans; Tyson's fate. For Mike, even if he hadn't started to slip after Cus left, he was always going to have his toughest outings with big tall, long armed, guys that could maintain distance and take him past round 8. The fact that he and/or his style - as his earlier successes showed - seriously relied upon effective upper body and head movement to make opponents miss, get in close, and then maim his mark, in itself - to some extent - became a liability for Mike around about the same time he started to let the feel and taste of both those big Benjamins and the supermodels wash over him and through his lifestyle. One can only imagine how having (up to) 17 different girlfriends, some supermodels, and also being a sqillionaire heavyweight boxing champion at the age of 20 or 21 really feels. In that position it surely must be hard to say; ""sorry Naiomi I can't come to your hotel room and check your new lingerie range cause I got to train, and every session counts""; taking the chance that she may come to the conclusion or feel that you're unreliable and then not call again. Of course one thing usually leads to another and before you know it casual copulation leads to night clubs, brawls, negative media attention, angry/frustrated Mike and team, illicit and/or alternative means of relaxation, and poor training habits. Within a matter of minutes - or so it must have seemed upon reflection - Mike was in there with guys that were doing things to him he had previously found relative ease with not only diffusing - but also opportunistically and violently capitalizing on. Remember the Mike that used to - with ease - duck under his opponent's jab and then start to wind up with hooks, body shots, and uppercuts? Well, that was all gone when the upper body movement went out the window. Take that away from anyone with Mikes stature and style, and then plonk them in with better competition whom also understand how to fight a guy like Mike was in his prime, and you're going to see a change in the championship landscape pretty soon. One (other) thing about Buster Douglas that was underestimated (that I didn't explicitly touch on in my earlier/other posts about Mike and the 25 year memory of his fight with James Buster Douglas) was that Douglas had a really good, long jab, and he knew how to double up and use it to set up the right cross. Check the fight commentary and what Sugar Ray Leonard says about it; as he pretty much agrees on that point too. So, as mentioned above, take away the upper body movement and all the other evasive/defensive nuances and beautiful moves Tyson used to have perfectly integrated into his repertoire, and you're going to see a change in the championship landscape pretty soon. In some ways it's not such a surprise as upper body movement and other defensive moves, along with slight lapses in timing and speed, are usually some of the first attributes of a fighter to slip from his repertoire. Usually though, as they make their exodus the fighter can make certain adjustments to compensate and/or even step down competition a little, either temporarily to assist the introduction of a new compensatory style - or permanently. Think (recent) Shane Mosley and (pre-Pacquaio) Oscar. However as fate and nature would have it, as these evasive and other attributes silently crept from Mike's game he not only found himself seriously stepping up competition - but he also found himself without skills/attributes that his stature and fighting style critically depended upon - to such an extent that there was no new compensatory style that could deal with the top level competition around that Mike was not only being matched with - but had called for (Evander). And, many of these guys and their teams - Holyfield included - had not only seen and learned from Tyson's fights with Tony Tucker and Buster Douglas - but were also better than them as heavyweight fighters. And they knew it ! If you look at others in a "similar boat" to Tyson style-wise you will see the pattern; David Tua. In order to make that stature and style work in the heavyweight division you must usually employ swarming and/or constant pressure, and keep all the intricate parts trained, loose, and moving so you have a reliable means (whether it be, defence and/or attack) of getting in close, where your range allows you to score; Marciano. As soon as you lose that, at the top level of this game; you lose. It's that cut and dry, and tough.


-stormcentre :

Tyson had serious potential when he was with Cus DeAmato (spelling?). When he had all that insane, upper body movement, agility, power, speed, and combinations . .. . well he was almost unstoppable. But, as he climbed through the professional ranks for his first year or so of fights he was really fed a lot of guys that had absolutely no chance; due to how seriously-much better Mike was than his opposition. Even though it would - to some extent - come home to haunt him later; this is not really Mike's fault. It's just how cleverly he was managed. Put together with what was, arguably, one of the better media and promotional jobs I have ever seen on a heavyweight fighter that was really only just coming through the pro ranks; and we all - deeply . . . actually very deeply - believed and bought in. Mike was the business as they say in some parts over in the UK. I know I will never forget seeing the first Tyson documentary I saw and how this, orphaned, compact, and muscular heavyweight was training and quickly ducking and throwing punches with the speed and agility of supremely talented middle or welterweight. But all mixed in with the stamina and power of a big time heavyweight. It blew my mind in a way where it was nice to be (safely) scared about Mike's potential. But the facts of the case are that in boxing it's hard to stay on the top and dominate in a sport like boxing where - once you're the champion - you're (meant to be) continuously facing the best each country or state has in your weight division. Take a look at the population of each major country (or USA state) on the earth, and tell me the best fighter amongst all them, one after another, is not a tall order. At that championship level - in fact well before it - no matter how good you are, you're going to come across fighter and team that now how to present you with a style and problem that creates the greatest difficulty for you and what you bring. And when that starts to happen, even if you overcome that challenge the first time, the world's eyes are on you. As that big heavyweight cash prize money is sitting right on top your head, and if you think that all the other heavyweight guys around the world have slogged it out in the amateurs for years, to then turn pro and struggle for years with domestic opportunities, promoters, and paydays, plus train 6 days a week, to not get a slice of what you got - wake up and think again sucker. You are the target. And for some of the top level guys, fear is not a consideration. For them the greater fear is to not have got the change and/or tried. So, even if you do overcome that first or second stylistic and strategic challenge the first time, thousands of knowledgeable promotional and boxing eyes are watching and seeing how uncomfortable you were with certain things your opponent brought to the table. So, it's almost inevitable that as you; a) Loosen the belt with all your championship earnings you have worked hard for. b) Decide you don't need to train every Wednesday (now that you have a red-hot supermodel girlie who also has the same day off). c) Get perhaps justifiably arrogant and/or disappointed with the world around you. d) In some cases, possibly, start to turn your brain into scrambled eggs every weekend. The path of your ever so slight decline (that even you may not notice) will cross with that path mapped out by the increase in competition and what they're quietly learning of you. You see to stay on top - aside from being extremely talented, prepared to listen/learn, and dedicated, to start with - you need to either control your opposition choices and/or keep improving and/or changing your style - or selling false vulnerabilities to the audience; or all the above. So, given that, it's reasonably easy to see where the mistakes creep in, and how the downfalls quickly follow. After all most guys only crave the big championship fights/paydays so they can be financially comfortable. But when they finally get there they (only) then realize that they can't always enjoy what they have because, amongst other things, there is an entire business army around them that they must sustain. Plus, if they stop training for too long now little mistakes creep in that may complement their opposition's plans; Tyson's fate. For Mike, even if he hadn't started to slip after Cus left, he was always going to have his toughest outings with big tall, long armed, guys that could maintain distance and take him past round 8. The fact that he and/or his style - as his earlier successes showed - seriously relied upon effective upper body and head movement to make opponents miss, get in close, and then maim his mark, in itself - to some extent - became a liability for Mike around about the same time he started to let the feel and taste of both those big Benjamins and the supermodels wash over him and through his lifestyle. One can only imagine how having (up to) 17 different girlfriends, some supermodels, and also being a sqillionaire heavyweight boxing champion at the age of 20 or 21 really feels. In that position it surely must be hard to say; ""sorry Naiomi I can't come to your hotel room and check your new lingerie range cause I got to train, and every session counts""; taking the chance that she may come to the conclusion or feel that you're unreliable and then not call again. Of course one thing usually leads to another and before you know it casual copulation leads to night clubs, brawls, negative media attention, angry/frustrated Mike and team, illicit and/or alternative means of relaxation, and poor training habits. Within a matter of minutes - or so it must have seemed upon reflection - Mike was in there with guys that were doing things to him he had previously found relative ease with not only diffusing - but also opportunistically and violently capitalizing on. Remember the Mike that used to - with ease - duck under his opponent's jab and then start to wind up with hooks, body shots, and uppercuts? Well, that was all gone when the upper body movement went out the window. Take that away from anyone with Mikes stature and style, and then plonk them in with better competition whom also understand how to fight a guy like Mike was in his prime, and you're going to see a change in the championship landscape pretty soon. One (other) thing about Buster Douglas that was underestimated (that I didn't explicitly touch on in my earlier/other posts about Mike and the 25 year memory of his fight with James Buster Douglas) was that Douglas had a really good, long jab, and he knew how to double up and use it to set up the right cross. Check the fight commentary and what Sugar Ray Leonard says about it; as he pretty much agrees on that point too. So, as mentioned above, take away the upper body movement and all the other evasive/defensive nuances and beautiful moves Tyson used to have perfectly integrated into his repertoire, and you're going to see a change in the championship landscape pretty soon. In some ways it's not such a surprise as upper body movement and other defensive moves, along with slight lapses in timing and speed, are usually some of the first attributes of a fighter to slip from his repertoire. Usually though, as they make their exodus the fighter can make certain adjustments to compensate and/or even step down competition a little, either temporarily to assist the introduction of a new compensatory style - or permanently. Think (recent) Shane Mosley and (pre-Pacquaio) Oscar. However as fate and nature would have it, as these evasive and other attributes silently crept from Mike's game he not only found himself seriously stepping up competition - but he also found himself without skills/attributes that his stature and fighting style critically depended upon - to such an extent that there was no new compensatory style that could deal with the top level competition around that Mike was not only being matched with - but had called for (Evander). And, many of these guys and their teams - Holyfield included - had not only seen and learned from Tyson's fights with Tony Tucker and Buster Douglas - but were also better than them as heavyweight fighters. And they knew it ! If you look at others in a "similar boat" to Tyson style-wise you will see the pattern; David Tua. In order to make that stature and style work in the heavyweight division you must usually employ swarming and/or constant pressure, and keep all the intricate parts trained, loose, and moving so you have a reliable means (whether it be, defence and/or attack) of getting in close, where your range allows you to score; Marciano. As soon as you lose that, at the top level of this game; you lose. It's that cut and dry, and tough.


-stormcentre :

Tyson had serious potential when he was with Cus DeAmato (spelling?). When he had all that insane, upper body movement, agility, power, speed, and combinations . .. . well he was almost unstoppable. But, as he climbed through the professional ranks for his first year or so of fights he was really fed a lot of guys that had absolutely no chance; due to how seriously-much better Mike was than his opposition. Even though it would - to some extent - come home to haunt him later; this is not really Mike's fault. It's just how cleverly he was managed. Put together with what was, arguably, one of the better media and promotional jobs I have ever seen on a heavyweight fighter that was really only just coming through the pro ranks; and we all - deeply . . . actually very deeply - believed and bought in. Mike was the business as they say in some parts over in the UK. I know I will never forget seeing the first Tyson documentary I saw and how this, orphaned, compact, and muscular heavyweight was training and quickly ducking and throwing punches with the speed and agility of supremely talented middle or welterweight. But all mixed in with the stamina and power of a big time heavyweight. It blew my mind in a way where it was nice to be (safely) scared about Mike's potential. But the facts of the case are that in boxing it's hard to stay on the top and dominate in a sport like boxing where - once you're the champion - you're (meant to be) continuously facing the best each country or state has in your weight division. Take a look at the population of each major country (or USA state) on the earth, and tell me the best fighter amongst all them, one after another, is not a tall order. At that championship level - in fact well before it - no matter how good you are, you're going to come across fighter and team that know how to present you with a style and problem that creates the greatest difficulty for you and what you bring. And when that starts to happen, even if you overcome that challenge the first time, the world's eyes are on you. As that big heavyweight cash prize money is sitting right on top your head, and if you think that all the other heavyweight guys around the world have slogged it out in the amateurs for years, to then turn pro and struggle for years with domestic opportunities, promoters, and paydays, plus train 6 days a week, to not get a slice of what you got - wake up and think again sucker. You are the target. And for some of the top level guys, fear (of you) is not a consideration. For them the greater fear is to not have got the chance and/or tried. So, even if you do overcome that first or second stylistic and strategic challenge, thousands of knowledgeable promotional and boxing eyes are watching and seeing how uncomfortable you were with certain things your opponent brought to the table. So, it's almost inevitable that as you; a) Loosen the belt with all your championship earnings you have worked hard for. b) Decide you don't need to train every Wednesday (now that you have a red-hot supermodel girlie who also has the same day off). c) Get perhaps justifiably arrogant and/or disappointed with the world around you. d) In some cases, possibly, start to turn your brain into scrambled eggs every weekend. The path of your ever so slight decline (that even you may not notice) will cross with that path mapped out by the increase in competition and what they're quietly learning of you. You see to stay on top - aside from being extremely talented, prepared to listen/learn, and dedicated, to start with - you need to either control your opposition choices and/or keep improving and/or changing your style - or selling false vulnerabilities to the audience; or all the above. So, given that, it's reasonably easy to see where the mistakes creep in, and how the downfalls quickly follow. After all most guys only crave the big championship fights/paydays so they can be financially comfortable. But when they finally get there they (only) then realize that they can't always enjoy what they have because, amongst other things, there is an entire business army around them that they must sustain. Plus, if they stop training for too long now little mistakes creep in that may complement their opposition's plans; Tyson's fate. For Mike, even if he hadn't started to slip after Cus left, he was always going to have his toughest outings with big tall, long armed, guys that could maintain distance and take him past round 8. The fact that he and/or his style - as his earlier successes showed - seriously relied upon effective upper body and head movement to make opponents miss, get in close, and then maim his mark, in itself - to some extent - became a liability for Mike around about the same time he started to let the feel and taste of both those big Benjamins and the supermodels wash over him and through his lifestyle. One can only imagine how having (up to) 17 different girlfriends, some supermodels, and also being a sqillionaire heavyweight boxing champion at the age of 20 or 21 really feels. In that position it surely must be hard to say; ""Sorry Naiomi I can't come to your hotel room and check your new lingerie range cause I got to train, and every session counts""; taking the chance that she may come to the conclusion or feel that you're unreliable and then not call again. Of course one thing usually leads to another and before you know it casual copulation leads to night clubs, brawls, negative media attention, an angry/frustrated Mike and team, illicit and/or alternative means of relaxation, and poor training habits. Within a matter of minutes - or so it must have seemed upon reflection - Mike was in there with guys that were doing things to him he had previously found relative ease with not only diffusing - but also opportunistically and violently capitalizing on. Remember the Mike that used to - with ease - duck under his opponent's jab and then start to wind up with hooks, body shots, and uppercuts? Just ripping guys to pieces in a way where most were almost instantly vaporized as soon as they tried to think about landing the jab. Well, that was all gone when the upper body movement went out the window. Take that away from anyone with Mikes stature and style, and then plonk them in with better competition whom also understand how to fight a guy like Mike was in his prime, and you're going to see a change in the championship landscape pretty soon. One (other) thing about Buster Douglas that was underestimated (that I didn't explicitly touch on in my earlier/other posts about Mike and the 25 year memory of his fight with James Buster Douglas) was that Douglas had a really good, long jab, and he knew how to double up and use it to set up the right cross. Check the fight commentary and what Sugar Ray Leonard says about it; as he pretty much agrees on that point too. So, as mentioned above, take away the upper body movement and all the other evasive/defensive nuances and beautiful moves Tyson used to have perfectly integrated into his repertoire, and you're going to see a change in the championship landscape pretty soon. In some ways it's not such a surprise as upper body movement and other defensive moves, along with slight lapses in timing and speed, are usually some of the first attributes of a fighter to slip from his repertoire. Usually though, as they make their exodus the (top level) fighter can make certain adjustments to compensate and/or even step down competition a little, either temporarily to assist the introduction of a new compensatory style - or permanently. Think (recent) Shane Mosley and (pre-Pacquaio) Oscar. However as fate and nature would have it, as these evasive and other attributes silently crept from Mike's game he not only found himself seriously stepping up competition - but he also found himself without skills/attributes that his stature and fighting style critically depended upon - to such an extent that there was no new compensatory style that could deal with the top level competition around that Mike was not only being matched with - but had called for (Evander). And, many of these guys and their teams - Holyfield included - had not only seen and learned from Tyson's fights with Tony Tucker and Buster Douglas - but were also better than them as heavyweight fighters. And they knew it ! If you look at others in a "similar boat" to Tyson (style-wise) you will see the pattern; David Tua. In order to make sure that kind of stature and style work in the heavyweight division you must usually employ swarming tactics and/or constant pressure, and keep all the intricate parts trained, loose, and moving - so you have a reliable means (whether it be, defence and/or attack) of both distraction and getting in close - where your range allows you to score; Rocky Marciano. As soon as you lose those important attributes, at the top level of this game; you lose. It's that cut and dry, and tough. For a while there no-one entertained like Tyson though, and that?s why he was and is a star. For a while there, with Mike, you always knew someone was going to get really hurt; heavyweight style. Brilliant stuff.


-The Commish :

Douglas once told me he thought a fight against Evander Holyfield, who was still rather untested as a heavyweight, would be an easier fight than a rematch against Mike Tyson. The money for each was phenomenal, but Douglas figured that going Holyfield/Tyson rematch was better than going Tyson rematch/Holyfield. Guess what? Incredibly, Douglas looked as if he barely prepared for Holyfield. The body he stepped into the ring with against Holyfield was far different than the one he wore into the ring against Mike Tyson. Choices. We all have to make 'em. Douglas' choice made him an ex-champ, to be remembered mainly for his colossal upset of Mike Tyson. -Randy G.


-Radam G :

WOW! It has indeed been 25 years. OMG! Time flies! I cannot believe that it has been a whole score and a half a decade. We are getting OLD! Hehehe! Holla!


-brownsugar :

I still remember the painfully disturbing truth about the state of mind Douglas was in preceding the Holy fight, Douglas was already lodgeing at the hotel when SPORTS ILLUSTRATED broke their story of Douglas's handlers struggling to get their fighter battle ready for the hair-raising Challenge ahead. Even Though Douglas was more of a natural heavyweight than Holyfield.... and was also fleeter of hand and foot, it was surreal to see how confident Holyfield was during the buildup to the fight. As if Douglas was just awarded the belt so he could keep it spit polished and dust free until he came to claim it. Holyfield would later say that in spite of Douglas' abundant skills and natural advantages, Douglas was lacking in the "Heart" department .... Personally I would say that Douglas was simply inconsistent, which his record shows. (He once quit on his stool during a fight he was supposedly winning) Holyfield obviously felt there was no way Douglas would defeat him in a test of wills, which was Holy's greatest attribute. And he deduced correctly. As it was soon discovered that Douglas was ringing up outrageous charges from hotel room service. According to SI, Douglas' late night orders were averaging about $100 a pop. If you grew up in America you know that's probably the eqivalent of $250 - $300 today. Even at the exorbitant costs of eating from the Hotel restaurant, that's still a lot of food...... Douglas was on an unchecked food binge. Ordering everything from pizza to prime rib....including all manner of deserts and high fructose beverages. It didnt help that Douglas was an undiagnosed pre diabetic. When Douglas' management was alerted to his food binging they went on a search...Douglas could not be located. It wasn't until much later that day when Douglas was found chowing down in a locked closet. Its not the type of activity to indulge in when facing a fighter of Holyfields fortitude.


-stormcentre :

"Chowing down in a locked closet". Love it. I've heard of closet drinking - but closet eating? Those big heavyweights . . . once you get them training hard, burning big calories, and aiming to loose a few pounds . . . . things get to a certain critical threshold and they just push back and want to eat. Anywhere. Even in a closet.


-King Beef :

Being a Tyson fan, re-watching this fight still hurt my soul,the same way it did back then. I still remember me and my cousin in disbelief when Tyson went down, and that was a long count in the 8th by the ref !!! lol Seriously though the perfect storm came together for Douglas that night, he was fighting for someone else that night, maybe Tyson took overlooked him, partied too hard the night before, didn't train or whatever. 1 of the biggest upsets I can think of.