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"I had Mike sparring 10 rounds everyday... 5 days a week! It was an all out war EVERYDAY. There was none of that one day on and one day off crap. To be a great fighter... you have to spar. You gotta spar everyday, day in and day out, week after week. With Mike, I would spar him up until two or three days before a fight."

~ Kevin Rooney

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Fan Talk: Is Iron? Mike Tyson An All-Time Boxing Great?

Posted on Thursday, November 17, 2005 @ 16:22:10 UTC by tysonian
Source: saddoboxing.com
By James Oakley

Popular 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 sleep.

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.

With 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 anymore.

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.


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