Published: June 16, 2005
By Jason Cannon
When Muhammad Ali fought his last fight in December 1981, I was 18 months old – too young to watch and too young to remember.
By the time the 1980s rolled around, Ali was several years past his prime.
the time I turned six, however, there was a boxing superstar on the
rise, and I certainly remember him. I remember watching the fight with
my Dad – Mike Tyson and Trevor Berbick for the WBC Title, Nov. 26, 1986.
After about six minutes, Tyson knocked out the man who had ended Ali’s career less than five years earlier.
At the tender age of 19, Tyson was crowned heavyweight champion. By 22 he held all three heavyweight belts.
on to make six successful defenses of his unified titles, Tyson
defeated everyone in his path, including former champ Larry Holmes and
undefeated former champ Michael Spinks. For his 91-second destruction
of Spinks, Tyson earned over $20 million, which at the time was the
largest sum ever paid to an athlete.
Mike Tyson ended the 1980s as King of the World. But the turn of the decade marked the beginning of the end.
pro for five years, Tyson entered 1990 with a record of 37-0 with 33
knockouts, rolling over most of his opponents with relative ease.
February 11, 1990, James “Buster” Douglas would deliver what many
consider the greatest upset of all time. Listed as highly as a 42-1
favorite, Tyson fell and lost all three belts.
The loss to Douglas marked the peak at which Tyson would begin to decline.
In 1992 he was convicted and jailed for rape, and later that year his father died.
years later, Tyson’s comeback began with an 89-second victory over
Peter McNeeley in Las Vegas. Tyson hit 1996 with a storm, fighting
three fights in eight months. However, he was stripped of the belt
after a win over Bruce Seldon in September and lost to Evander
Holyfield in November.
In June 1997 Tyson was disqualified after the third round of his rematch with Holyfield after he bit Holyfield’s ears.
weeks later the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in a unanimous voice
vote, revoked Tyson’s boxing license and fined him $3 million for
accelerated the downward spiral that has produced the image we all have
of Mike Tyson today – the bad attitude, foul-mouthed, tattooed-face
spectacle that many have enjoyed tearing down as quickly as they built
Saturday night, “Iron
Mike” likely ended his career with a loss to Kevin McBride. Tyson never
answered the bell for the seventh round.
Say what you want Tyson.
I’ll always remember that 19 year-old kid who laid waste to everyone
unlucky enough to stand in front of him wearing a pair of red gloves.