Whether you’ve come to know him as ‘Iron Mike’ or ‘Kid Dynamite,’ former heavyweight boxing champion of the world Mike Tyson will forever be known by hardcore fans as the ‘baddest man on the planet.’ It’s a title that he’s earned throughout his career as a spectacular knockout artist. In fact, in his prime, Tyson’s name was synonymous with the word knockout.
Opponents cowered at the mention of him, mentally and emotionally defeated before they even climbed into the ring. The malicious glare Tyson stared his foes down with was both frightening and overwhelming. His eyes pierced through his opponents’ souls, striking fear into their hearts from across the ring. It was an ominous sign of the distinct brand of violence Tyson would always dole out.
Indeed, Tyson had his fair share of knockout performances throughout his prime. Out of 50 total career victories, 44 of Tyson’s wins came inside the distance. He was a punching force that captivated the imagination of every fan sitting ringside watching his fights live. And whenever Tyson was in the ring, fans expected something special to happen.
With his blazing speed and incredible knockout power, Tyson entertained boxing fans in the 80s and early 90s. Fortunately, we’ve picked out a handful of them for you to enjoy so you can relive all those highlights.
1) Mike Tyson KO3 Buster Mathis Jr., December 1995
After Tyson was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison in 1992, it put a halt to his exceptional boxing career. At the time, Tyson was at the top of his game and was a superstar. Three years later, he was released on parole, and he was determined to make it back to the ring in short order. However, fans questioned whether or not Tyson could return to his previous form before he landed behind bars.
This fight against then-undefeated Buster Mathis Jr. was only his second fight after incarceration (the first was an odd disqualification victory over Peter McNeeley). It was being hailed as a tune-up bout for the former heavyweight king to gauge if he could make another run at the heavyweight title.
With Tyson’s power in question, Mathis stormed out of his corner from the opening bell, starting strong in an effort to overwhelm Tyson. This proved to be his undoing, as Tyson needed just a couple of rounds to get into his groove, until a vicious uppercut in the third round separated Mathis from his senses.
2) Mike Tyson KO5 Francois Botha, January 1999
Those who have not followed Tyson’s career closely probably know him best for his infamous showdown with Evander Holyfield, where he bit off a chunk of the latter’s ear. Fans surprisingly forgave Tyson for that, and two years later, he was back in the ring against Francois Botha.
The fight against Botha was an awesome showcase of why Tyson is considered the most exciting heavyweight in history. Every time Tyson stepped into the ring, it wasn’t just a fight, it was an event. It was a show, a spectacle.
Making his way out to the ring with his usual cold stare, all decked out in black, Tyson was intense and was all business while Botha stood in his corner and appeared unsure of himself. Although it took Tyson a little longer to get in stride, he finally caught Botha in the fifth round, finishing the South African with a destructive left straight to the chin.
3) Mike Tyson TKO5 Frank Bruno, February 1989
The run-up to Tyson vs. Bruno was messy. Similar to many fights today, this one kept getting pushed back and delayed. But this allowed interest in the fight to marinate and simmer. It also allowed both fighters to prime themselves both physically and mentally before stepping into the ring.
When Tyson and Bruno met in February of 1989, it was an exciting contest from the get-go as the two immediately went at it. Bruno blitzed Tyson at the opening bell, going on the offensive. Tyson sent him to the canvas, but he quickly sprung to his feet. He staggered Tyson, and almost finished him.
The fight was close. However, Tyson eventually went into full-on beast mode and trapped Bruno along the ropes in the fifth round. There, he connected three devastating uppercuts, and finished off the combination with a left hook to the jaw. The referee had seen enough and stepped in to call a halt to the contest.
4) Mike Tyson TKO2 Trevor Berbick, November 1985
At just 20 years of age, Tyson was young and aggressive. He was a prizefighter in every sense of the word, and he made sure fans got their money’s worth. When he met Trevor Berbick in November 1985, Tyson put on an absolute show.
With the tension at peak levels before the first bell even rang, there was never a dull moment in this fight. In fact, Tyson may have never taken a step backward against Berbick. Berbick tried to keep Tyson at bay by fighting from range, but it wasn’t long until Tyson overwhelmed him with his trademark speed and power.
It took just two rounds for Tyson to knock Berbick out. He sent him to the canvas twice, the first time early in the second round behind a monster right hook. A left hook later in the round sealed the deal.
5) Mike Tyson TKO4 Larry Holmes, January 1988
There’s nothing quite like the energy and electricity of a high-profile heavyweight boxing match. Whenever fans saw Tyson’s name in the headliner, they knew they were in for an adrenaline-inducing experience.
Against the legendary Larry Holmes, Tyson was on a mission. Tyson came into this fight looking for revenge for his friend and idol, the G.O.A.T., Muhammad Ali. Tyson was upset that his childhood hero took a beating against Holmes years prior. A young Tyson called Ali that night, and said: “When I grow up, I’ll fight Holmes and I’ll get him back for you.”
Tyson stayed true to his word, needing only four rounds to take care of business against the aged veteran. Holmes was coming out of retirement to fight Tyson for big money, but at that stage, he was seriously no match for the surging heavyweight sensation.
Tyson was simply too fast and too strong for Holmes. He separated his opponent from his senses in the fourth round with a thunderous right hook. It was the only knockout loss in Holmes’ storied career.
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