Mike Tyson: Just How Good Was The Former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Of The World?


During the mid-1980s-early 90s, Mike Tyson was at his fearsome, menacing best, an intoxicating mix of speed and devastating power. He was must-watch TV each and every time he fought.

Young but physically mature, Tyson teamed up with Cus D’Amato in 1980, and the legendary boxing guru quickly became a father-figure. He had a positive influence on the volatile fighter and helped harness his emotions and keep him on the straight and narrow.

Tyson did well as an amateur in the juniors and attempted to make the 1984 U.S Olympic team. However, he lost twice to eventual U.S. representative and gold medal winner Henry Tillman.

In March 1985, at the age of 18, Tyson turned professional. He was extremely active, winning 19 straight bouts inside the distance, 11 of them inside a single round.


In November 1986, a 20-year-old Tyson became the youngest heavyweight titlist in history when he stopped WBC beltholder Trevor Berbick in two.

“Iron” Mike went on to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. As his star ascended, he transcended boxing and became arguably the most recognizable face in sports. He was The Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year in 1986 and 1988 and sat atop the mythical pound-for-pound list until he was shockingly knocked out by Buster Douglas in February 1990.


Convicted of rape in 1992, Tyson served three years of a six-year sentence in an Indiana prison. Returning to boxing in August 1995, the former champion feasted on some light competition before regaining WBA and WBC titles.

But following a brace of losses to Evander Holyfield, Tyson’s ambition and drive deteriorated. In June 2002, Lennox Lewis dominated him en route to an eighth-round knockout win and that was his final championship fight.


He retired in 2005 with a record of 50-6 (44 knockouts) and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011.

On Saturday, the ex-champ will face Roy Jones Jr. in an exhibition matchup.

Here we speak to former amateur rivals, ex-coaches, sparring partners and former opponents who assess just how good Mike Tyson was:



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