Mike Tyson was not as heavy handed as George Foreman but he was far more explosive. And while he didn’t quite have Foreman’s size or sheer brute force behind his punches, his punches were a lot sharper, delivered at way faster velocities, and thrown with his entire body behind the strike. After all, Force = mass x acceleration. Speed can add quite a lot of oomph to your shots.
So in the end who hit harder?
I believe Tyson had higher highs and lower lows. As long as Tyson was not tired and he could get his form right, his punches hit harder and were more destructive. After all, this was the guy who fractured the face of 6′4″, 240 pound Golota and herniated his spine with a single punch.
Tyson can go from 0 to 100 mph and knock you out in the blink of an eye. That’s explosiveness. You’ll never see Foreman execute such a sharp, crisp knockout punch as quickly as this while in the middle of fancy footwork:
It also explains why Tyson had more one-punch knockouts compared to Foreman, as majority of Foreman’s KOs came from a series of clubbing blows. That sharpness and explosiveness of Tyson allows him to blindside you with a knockout punch out of nowhere. Look how quickly and easily Tyson can land a clean bomb with zero warning.
That’s the thing with power. Pound for pound it almost always produces more force than pure muscular strength, but it’s also usually more taxing and requires a lot more concentration and technique.
In comparison, I don’t think Foreman can match Tyson’s hardest punches because Foreman doesn’t have the speed and sharpness of Tyson, but his hits are far more consistent in their strength.
Whether we’re talking about his hooks, uppercuts, jabs, even those wide clubbing blows he used to make… all of them carry his natural heavy-handedness even when he’s already exhausted or placed in an awkward position. Some of his knockout hits looked more like slaps than actual punches… yet they still had KO power.