A Rocky Road for Iron Mike: Delving into the Disastrous Tyson-Ruddock Rematch

The immediate rematch took place on June 28th, 1991:

For Mike Tyson, this was an unnecessary fight. Even though he had stated after his first bout with Ruddock that a rematch wasn’t a bad idea. He realistically wanted a shot at the title.

Although he was heavily favored to win the rematch, he saw Ruddock for what he was: a dangerous puncher with a lot of heart.

In the heavyweight division, anything can happen and whenever the “smash,” is thrown, there is a chance that the fight could be over.

Richard Steele and his relations or lack thereof with Promoter Don King is where the controversy lied. Steele had been accused of favoring King fighters and many have said that the two had a cushy relationship, an accusation that the experienced referee denied.

Most likely, he bought into the Tyson mystique. He saw that Ruddock was hurt and tried to save the injured fighter, even though it was far too soon. The legend that was Mike Tyson forced the hand of Steele and he made the wrong choice.

The biggest loser from the first fight was the winner:

Mike Tyson, seen as a poor loser in the past, was now seen as a co-conspirator.

If Ruddock got too much confidence or if the momentum shifted, Tyson, King, and Steele, would make sure that the man that they wanted to win, won.

The behavior of King and Tyson after the loss to Buster Douglas threw fuel onto the fire. When Iron Mike was clearly defeated, they protested and two of the three heavyweight titles were withheld.

The claim that Tyson knocked out Douglas prior to being knocked out was a lame attempt to put the pieces back together. It failed and many saw Tyson-Ruddock I as another example of their misdeeds.

Razor Ruddock was in the position where he had everything to gain and nothing to lose. The loss to Tyson had boosted his no toriety and if he were to come back and with this fight, it would erase the first encounter and put him first in line to get a crack at the heavyweight title. His Promoter Murad Muhammad put it best: “Knocking out Mike Tyson is a shortcut to the heavyweight championship of the world.”


The press going into Tyson – Ruddock II was not good for Iron Mike:

Sports Illustrated claimed that Tyson lost his fury and there was reported animosity between the fighter and his Promoter Don King that became physical.

There was the persistent rumor that Tyson threw a toaster at King and then slapped him, which both denied. Another story going into this fight was the weight of Razor Ruddock and his preparations. He was 228 in the first bout and came into this fight at 238. Was he there simply for the payday? The answer was an emphatic no.

Mike Tyson was at his best at the pre-fight hype and comments, noting to his opponent: “I’m gonna make you my girlfriend. You’re sweet. I’m going to make sure you kiss me good with those big lips.” The look on Ruddock’s face was priceless. Both men exchanged insults, making this a very hot fight for the boxing fans.

The fight and this was a great fight:

In the first round, Tyson came out like a house of fire, attacking Ruddock, but the “Razor” held steady and was working the body of Iron Mike very well. In the last 15 seconds of the round, Mike landed an overhand right that seriously wobbled Ruddock.

It was a very good round for Iron Mike, and so too was the second round. Even though Ruddock was losing, he was throwing some very hard punches at Tyson, especially to the body.

Two minutes into the second round, an overhand right knocked Ruddock to the floor and broke his jaw. This was going to be a tough night for Ruddock who was also being hit with low blows quite frequently. The Razor would strike back in the third round when he would land the “smash” or “shovel punch,” stunning Iron Mike.

Ruddock would land hard to both the body and the head, completely shifting the momentum. Mike now knew that he was in a fight and the fans that packed the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as the pay per view audience at home were in for a Tyson fight that was actually a fight.


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