Defying All Odds: Mike Tyson’s Unforgettable Feat of Winning 10 Fights in His Debut Year as a Professional Boxer

1) Hector Mercedes, 6 March 1985, first round

Mike Tyson, wearing white shorts, immediately swarms over Hector Mercedes, a fighter who came into Tyson’s debut bout without a win in his three fights. A left arm jab sends Mercedes back and Tyson spots an opening. Soon Mercedes is back on the ropes with Tyson landing jarring blows to the body of his opponent.

Moving to the corner, the body shots continue before Mercedes falls to his knee. Shaking his head, Mercedes looks like he’s had the wind taken out of him, signalling that he cannot carry on. Boos can be heard, but Mercedes will not be the last to fall in the first round to Tyson. Fight time: 107 seconds.

2) Trent Singleton, 10 April 1985, first round

Another first-round demolition job, as Singleton is sent to the floor within the opening 15 seconds of the fight. After managing to stand up, he is then knocked down once more with a crunching left hook. A flurry of punches finishes the fight, although Singleton bravely, and shakily, gets to his feet before the referee stops the fight.

Thankfully, as Singleton picks himself up, Tyson manages to restrain himself from inflicting one final punch. His next opponent would not be so lucky. Fight time: 52 seconds.


3) Don Halpin, 23 May 1985, fourth round

It would be easy to dismiss many of Tyson’s early adversaries as bums. Yet the bravery required to step into the ring with the hungry young contender should not be underestimated. Don Halpin would be the first to take Tyson beyond the three-minute mark, taking some heavy blows as the fight progressed.

A right hand that Tyson unleashed in the fourth round was thundering, and Halpin did well to get up. Shortly afterwards he might have wished he had stayed down. Tyson sent Halpin sprawling in the corner, but as Halpin fell he was smashed with a completely unnecessary haymaker. The sight of Halpin’s head flying back was not pretty, and Tyson was rightly admonished for his behaviour. Fight time: 604 seconds.

4) Ricardo Spain, 20 June 1985, first round

Maybe the secret to fighting Tyson was to get out of there as quickly as possible. Ricardo Spain cannot be blamed for becoming the quickest victim (so far) of Tyson’s career. Hit with a solid right hand, Spain needed the ropes to get himself off the deck. It was merely delaying the inevitable.

A left to the side of the head completed Tyson’s work for the evening, as Spain’s legs justifiably turned to jelly. The Tyson bandwagon rolled on. Fight time: 39 seconds.

5) John Alderson, 11 July 1985, second round

Despite holding a big height advantage over Tyson, John Alderson was instantly on the back foot, his head snapped back by a left hand from Tyson in the opening round. The second round followed the same pattern, with Alderson losing his gum shield and legs after Tyson landed a right.

Alderson would be floored twice, slowly pulling himself up from the first knockdown – understandably with a lack of enthusiasm – before another right hand at the end of the round sent him down. The doctor rightfully assessed that the fight could not go on. Alderson did not look too disappointed with that verdict. Fight time: 360 seconds.



6) Larry Sims, 19 July 1985, third round

This fight is shrouded in mystery due to the fact that no footage exists. The camera crew covering the bout were apparently delayed by bad weather and Tyson had finished the job before they could start filming.

Jack Cowen, a man in Sims’ corner for the Tyson fight, would later describe the relentless nature of the victor. “He just comes out and overwhelms everyone. Sims is a losing fighter but a guy who usually hangs in there. He couldn’t against Tyson.” Even without the footage we get the picture. Fight time: 484 seconds

7) Lorenzo Canady, 15 August 1985, first round

Another quick victory for Tyson, his first left of the night sending Lorenzo Canady sprawling across the ropes. Canady beat the count and bounced up and down on his feet. But the eyes give away that there is more pain to come.

Tyson surged forwards, landing punches that threw Canady back on to the ropes. Eventually trapped in the corner, there was no escape. Canady dropped to his knees before referee Joe Cortez called off the fight. Tyson’s fourth win the first round; number five was not far away. Fight time: 65 seconds

8) Michael Johnson, 5 September 1985, first round

You could almost feel the pain of Michael Johnson as Tyson landed a thumping left to his body shortly into their fight in Atlantic City. Just like Canady, Johnson stood up quickly, yet the reluctant look across his face suggested he would go the same way.

There was no getting up from the next punch. Walking towards Johnson, Tyson landed the sweetest of right hands on the chin of his opponent. Johnson was down for nearly four minutes, before groggily getting to his feet. Sport hurts. Fight time: 39 seconds


9) Donnie Long, 9 October 1985, first round

Another great left hook would signal the beginning of the end in Tyson’s next fight. Donnie Long staggered to his feet but stood little chance as Tyson sniffed blood. Put down again, Long simply could not hold back the furious tide heading his way.

Long tried to exchange blows briefly, but a short left hand ended the bout, as Long became the latest of Tyson’s opponents to finish in a bewildered and dazed state. Just 16 days later there would be another fighter added to that list. Fight time: 98 seconds

10) Robert Colay, 25 October 1985, first round

The fights just kept on coming for Tyson but, because he was making such short work of his opponents, he could carry on chalking up the wins. Fighting in blue shorts against Robert Colay, Tyson gain what would be the second quickest win of his career.

Hit by a left hook, Colay attempted to get to his feet, yet such was the force of the blow that his legs wobbled as he stood up just before the count. Fortunately referee Ted Pick had seen enough. Fight time: 37 seconds


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