Mike Tyson Vs Danny Williams: Branded Return ‘The Bankruptcy Bouts’ – A Sign Of The Times


Mike Tyson 38, had debts and plenty of them, reportedly in the region of $43 million The latest Tyson comeback carried the label of ‘The Bankruptcy Bouts’ in many ways, a sign of the times. A lawsuit against former promoter Don King was in play.

The former heavyweight champion of the world was now just in it for the money. The love for combat had long since gone. Add to that his patented party lifestyle. The Tyson freefall didn’t need any benefit of hindsight. Freddie Roach was the voice in the corner, the latest trainer to try and stop what started long before the Tokyo disaster. But nobody could have saved Tyson from himself.

In truth, Tyson’s gambling of his fighting future looked to be a safe enough bet. Williams was a 9-1 betting outsider to upset the future plans of Tyson. The points loss to Skelton earlier in 2004 was worrying enough but a 6th round-stoppage defeat to Sinan Samil Sam in 2003 for the European title made even those long odds seemed not long enough. Make no mistake, Williams was there for a reason. The British heavyweight was there to lose. And in some style. But Williams had found belief where perhaps it had failed him before. There was nothing to lose and everything to gain for Williams. He saw it as an opportunity to leave the domestic scene behind and gatecrash the world heavyweight title picture. And Williams trained with that thought. A win in the same city where Muhammad Ali was born and made his professional debut would change his career trajectory in an instant.

Williams survived those dangerous early stages of the fight, but there were times when his survival looked unlikely. Tyson hurt him several times with the type of thudding punches that had finished many a fighter over the course of Tyson’s career. A left hook and a big booming uppercut had the Jim McDonnell trained-fighter in all sorts of trouble and the end looked near. But Williams held when he needed to, and once the storm had passed, the seemingly impossible always looked more than probable. Instead of fighting for survival Williams suddenly started fighting to win, standing his ground with Tyson and landing enough shots of his own to give hope. In the 3rd round, Williams had points deducted for low blows and a late punch. But Tyson was fading. And quickly.


By round 4, Tyson was swinging heavily trying to find the one punch that would save his night. And his career. But Williams was now in control and as the round was closing he unleashed a salvo of punches that put the former two-time heavyweight champion of the world on the floor and when he eventually managed to climb off the canvas the fight was over. With nine seconds left in the round, Williams had done the unthinkable.

Tyson went further into his self-inflicted oblivion, an $80 million deal with Bob Arum was lost because of the defeat to Williams, he had one more fight, but when Kevin McBride repeated what Williams had done, even he had seen enough. His career had ended with three defeats in his final four fights. In later years Tyson would find some semblance of peace when many would have predicted a different ending to his story.

The upset win over Tyson earned Williams a fight with Vitali Klitschko for the WBC heavyweight championship of the world. Williams was brave but ultimately he was in way over his head. Williams was down multiple times before the end came in round 8 when he was on the floor once more and the referee wisely waved the fight off.

Williams showed immense bravery against Klitschko, at times it was deeply uncomfortable viewing and it was a night when he didn’t know when to quit. And that would be the story for the rest of his career.


Leave a Comment