He will forever be known as “The Baddest Man on the Planet.” It’s a nickname that will stick with boxing legend Mike Tyson throughout history. With his icy cold glare, Tyson struck fear into the hearts of his opponents, and completely destroyed them in the ring. The years he spent at the top of the sport serves as a montage of his magnificent combination of speed, power, and intensity.
Going by other apt monikers such as “Iron Mike” and “Kid Dynamite,” there is no doubt the power latent in Tyson’s two fists. He became the youngest heavyweight world champion in history at 20 years old, and he’s widely considered today as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.
Just recently, Tyson returned to action after 15 years of retirement. He squared off against multiple-division world champion and fellow ring legend, Roy Jones Jr., in an eight-round exhibition in November of last year. It was a jam-packed affair broadcast from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and one of the most successful Pay-Per-View events of the year.
Of course, Tyson was nowhere near his old self. That’s understandable. He is 54 years old now, after all. But flashes of his former greatness were on full display, and millions of fans from around the world completely lapped it up.
If you want to witness Tyson at his finest, however, you’ll have to look back on years past. Luckily, we have YouTube to help remind us. We’ve come up with five of Tyson’s most memorable performances in the squared circle.
Let’s relive all the action. Today, Evolve Daily shares the five biggest wins of Mike Tyson’s career.
1) Trevor Berbick, 22 November 1986 | Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas
A solid fighter in a generation of unremarkable heavyweights, Trevor Berbick was a highly-regarded WBC heavyweight world champion. He wasn’t a special fighter, per se, but he was good enough to command an audience.
On the other hand, Tyson had quickly earned the interest and admiration of boxing fans across the globe. By the time he stepped in the ring with Berbick, Tyson was already a fast-rising star, having knocked out 25 of the 27 opponents that lay before him up to this point.
If Berbick was a polished stone in a sea of common pebbles, “Iron Mike” was a gem amongst them. Tyson infamously threw punches in bunches, all with the intent to do insane damage, and consistently maintained his ironclad defense. It was a feast for the eyes as well as the senses, as Tyson proved his unmatched power and athleticism.
Truthfully, nobody expected the match to end in Berbick’s favor, and sure enough, the world witnessed him succumb to a flurry of fists in as early as the second round. He tried his hardest to survive, but it was clear that he couldn’t hold a candle to Tyson.
Just barely out of his teens, Tyson made history by snagging his first title at 20 years of age.
2) Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes, 22 January 1988 | Convention Center, Atlantic City
At his best, the great Larry Holmes was a formidable threat for anyone he stepped into the ring with. But by the time it was Tyson’s turn to throw down with the legendary heavyweight, he was already an old man past his prime. Still, it was the proverbial passing of the torch, and Tyson wanted to get back at Holmes for beating his childhood hero, Muhammad Ali.
With the WBC, WBA, and IBF world heavyweight titles on the line, the undefeated Tyson was hellbent on destroying Holmes once and for all.
Amped on the energy of the crowd, Holmes took charge, as he looked to frustrate the younger man in Tyson with excessive clinching and a foul shot here and there. However, all that did was fire Tyson up even more, and the younger man soon caught his groove.
Tyson winged haymakers from range, skillfully and masterfully picking apart his opponent with killer intent. In the fourth round, Tyson sent Holmes to the canvas three times with a volley of bludgeoning right hands, until referee Joe Cortez finally saved the veteran from his misery.
3) Michael “Jinx” Spinks, 27 June 1988 | Convention Hall, Atlantic City
Tyson made his walk down to the arena surrounded by his handlers and venue security. It was akin to a highly-volatile criminal being escorted to his jail cell. An eerie calm in the crowd provided a chilling ambiance. It would no doubt set the mood for the murderous pace that would ensue in the ring.
Spinks was unbeaten at the time, and a man many believed could deal with Tyson at this stage. But standing across the ring from “Iron Mike,” and you could definitely see the terror in Spinks’ eyes. He was mentally beaten before the first punch was even thrown.
Tyson came out firing, as expected, at the sound of the opening bell. Spinks could do nothing but cover up. A punch to the gut sent Spinks down on one knee in round one. Spinks mustered up enough courage and will to make it back to his feet, but a vicious right hand from Tyson sealed the deal.
Laying flat on his back, eyes glazed over, Spinks failed to beat the 10-count. The fight was over in 91 seconds.
4) Donovan “Razor” Ruddock, 18 March 1991 | Mirage, Las Vegas
Over the years, Tyson had built the reputation of a crazed madman in the ring. He sincerely wanted to hurt his opponents physically, and cause permanent damage. Many fighters feared facing him, even before they stepped in the ring with the beast.
Against Ruddock in 1991, Tyson infamously said: “If he doesn’t die, it doesn’t count. If he’s not dead, it doesn’t count.”
That statement alone was enough to send tremors down Ruddock’s spine. When Ruddock faced “Iron Mike” in 1991, it was a clash between two of the sport’s toughest heavyweights.
Seemingly on equal footing, Tyson and Ruddock wowed the crowd with an impressive exhibition of skills and knockout power, as they engaged each other in a classic, phone booth style battle. It was a dangerous war of attrition for however long it lasted, but Tyson would come out on top.
Ruddock suffered knockdowns in rounds two and three, with Tyson completing the demolition job in round seven.
5) Frank Bruno, 16 March 1996 | MGM Grand, Las Vegas
A polarizing figure like Tyson, however, couldn’t exist without controversy. His life outside the ring was a circus. Eventually, Tyson was incarcerated in 1992, convicted of rape and sentenced to six years in prison. He was released on parole after three years, and looked to pick up where he left off in the ring.
Hungry for a world title, Tyson took on WBC heavyweight champion Frank Bruno, a man he had already beaten seven years prior. However, fans feared that “The Baddest Man on the Planet” just wasn’t the same after his time in jail.
Those fears were quickly dispelled as the public witnessed Tyson’s full force on display once again against Bruno.
Bruno was a hulkish heavyweight. His size and strength were assets. Against other opponents, they were clear advantages. Against Tyson, they couldn’t matter less.
Tyson scored a third-round knockout and became a world champion again at 29 years of age.
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