Is Iron? Mike Tyson An All-Time Boxing Great?


Published: November 17, 2005


By James Oakley

arguments that intend to discredit Mike Tyson and question his status
as a living legend and all time great fighters have nearly always
included the fact that he never beat a great fighter. However, it must
be stated that during the time that Tyson reigned, he fought the best
competition available to him. He brutally battered Trevor Berbick
in two lightning rounds and then imposed crushing defeat on the man who
twice beat Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, in a fight where you could
only watch in awe of the future great fighter that Tyson was to become.

Mike Tyson beat, bashed, banged and pummelled the best fighters of
his era into submission from 1985-1990. There is no more that a fighter
can do in order to cement his legacy. Tysons training programme at his
peak was unrivalled. Reliable sources have stated that he would get up
as early as 5am to do a daily five miles jog, after which he would go
back to sleep before getting up again and having breakfast. After this
he would do up to twelve rounds of sparing and then have dinner, which
was almost always either pasta or steak. He would then do more work in
the gym before sparing and eating again. After his final meal he would
do roughly an hour on the exercise bike before watching TV and going to

More quotes available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More‘ below).

What he gave to the sport was a
lifeline and what makes him different from the rest is that twenty
years on, he still is the sports only lifeline at this point in time,
and most definitely the biggest attraction in boxing at the moment.
Unfortunately, the reasons for this continuous fame are widely debated.
The Holyfield incident, which has forever marred Tysons career and
reputation, is seen to be a large influence on why he is still such a
big show today. That, along with Tysons fights with Frans Botha, Orlin
Norris and Lou Savarese. The Savarese incident highlighted the fear
which Tyson could put into his opponents, and another showing of this
was the fight with Runaway? Andrew Golota, but surely this fear could
not have come from nowhere?

What people fail to realise is
that Tyson, from 1985-1990, was quite possibly the most feared human
being in the world. He had a perfect blend of skills and was simply
thought of as indestructible. It was almost a given that he could never
be beaten. He had the power, he had the speed and he had the chin, all
of which were shown in the fight against Mitch Green. He also had
balance, agility and a quality rarely seen since Rocky Marciano, which
was the ability to pull out a one punch, devastating match-ending
punch. The fear he put into people surpassed that of Sonny Liston and
previous greats, however he was also the peoples champ and in 1989,
Tyson won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

jail time and the Holyfield incident burned to his name, many people do
not rate Tyson as a true great because they have not seen his true
talent. A great boxer is not judged on personality or Larry Holmes
would struggle to make the top one hundred. Even past his peak, Tyson
still managed to come back after being jailed and reclaim the biggest
title in boxing. When he lost it, it was to a thirty four year old
Evander Holyfield, where Tyson showed that he had at least at this
point in his career still had heart. After getting knocked down in the
sixth, he struggled on and was eventually stopped in the eleventh
round. He did not quit and did not get knocked out that night, but
rather, showed the heart of a champion, even if he hadnt the skills

Mike Tyson blew his chances to become the greatest
fighter of all time yes, but his legacy was already cemented in boxing
history. When Tyson won the title, he did not need the media, the media
merely reflected what Tysons opponents were thinking about him and for
this reason and the many I have already stated, I believe that he
cannot be left out of anyones list of all time boxing greats.