View Full Version : Exactly how good was the '90's Tyson?


Mintcar923
11-04-2011, 02:54 PM
I'd say its kind of confusing because he appeared to be in top form when he had beaten Frank Bruno much easier than he did in '89. Many people had said that Bruno had vastly improved since the first Tyson fight and that Mike may be in for a tough fight. Also, some believed Seldon would be formidable. But again, he made him into a Mike Spinks! If you think about it, even though he was largely inactive for a lot of the '90's Mike was still pretty successful. The only opponent he had difficulty with was Holyfield. It's a shame he was so badly mis-managed when he was released from prison. It's obvious he shouldn't have fought Evander that soon from his release. But then again, Muhammad Ali should not have fought Frazier as soon as he did after his inactivity. It's a shame the bite fight ended like it did. But, to sum it up I'd say Tyson was still pretty good in the '90's. He obviously wasn't at his best like he was with Rooney and he didn't have the stamina he once did. But I'd have to say he was still an excellent fighter.

Sugarj
11-04-2011, 07:29 PM
I'd say its kind of confusing because he appeared to be in top form when he had beaten Frank Bruno much easier than he did in '89. Many people had said that Bruno had vastly improved since the first Tyson fight and that Mike may be in for a tough fight. Also, some believed Seldon would be formidable. But again, he made him into a Mike Spinks! If you think about it, even though he was largely inactive for a lot of the '90's Mike was still pretty successful. The only opponent he had difficulty with was Holyfield. It's a shame he was so badly mis-managed when he was released from prison. It's obvious he shouldn't have fought Evander that soon from his release. But then again, Muhammad Ali should not have fought Frazier as soon as he did after his inactivity. It's a shame the bite fight ended like it did. But, to sum it up I'd say Tyson was still pretty good in the '90's. He obviously wasn't at his best like he was with Rooney and he didn't have the stamina he once did. But I'd have to say he was still an excellent fighter.


Yes 90s Mike was still a damned formidable heavyweight!

He still had the following:

Excellent Handspeed (only a shade less than in his heyday)
Superb Power
A sturdy Chin
Better than average accuracy
Great finishing ability

To be honest, for the first five rounds of a fight.....he was as dangerous as anyone.

That said, he had deteriorated in the following areas:

Stamina; he was no 12 round fighter, at any point post Ruddock 2. He was still fighting quite competitively into the later rounds against Holyfield, but he might well have lost to lesser heavyweights than 90s Holyfield if he were taken past say round 8. He may simply have not been training as hard as in his heyday!?

Head movement; 90s Tyson was just not as elusive as prime Tyson, whatever the opposition. Perhaps it was the lack of a decent trainer who understood the peek a boo style of D'Amato (Atlas/Rooney). Perhaps Mike was just not as dedicated to work on his defense as he had earlier in his career.

Combination punching; A tricky one! When he had opponents hurt in the 90s he could still turn the fast combinations on (McNeely, Mathis, even a few moments in Holyfield 1 and 2). But he did seem to neglect his combination work in comparison to his prime. He was often found measuring the left for the big straight right, or firing lead left hooks.

The jab: Criminally underused in the 90s. This was a good punch in 80s Tyson's arsenal....especially for such a small heavyweight. We saw some good flashes in Bruno 2.......also strangely in the Julius Francis and Lennox Lewis fights (albeit in the early 2000s).

Mental state: 90s Tyson was just not as mentally robust as he appeared to be earlier in his career (at least in boxing terms). Whether it be biting ears (Holyfield) or trying to break arms (Botha) or fouling (Norris). He wasn't the full shilling!


But to summarise, 90s Mike would still have a good chance for 5 rounds against many a good heavyweight, possibly more than a few hall of fame heavyweights.......if they were not blessed with excellent punch resistance.

I honestly think that 1996 Tyson (pre Holyfield 1) would have had an excellent chance of beating 1996 Lennox Lewis (Manny Steward hadn't really worked his magic with Lennox at that point).

TBear
11-07-2011, 01:56 AM
I for one feel that post prison Tyson was nowhere the fighter the previous champion was. Alot of it was the absence of trainer Kevin Rooney. Some of it was the years he spent in prison. Upon his release Don King set on a mission to get him titles and aside from Bruno that had the WBC belt, managed to arrange his fighters to fight for vacant belts(recently stripped titles). All with the idea Tyson would get them. At the time after seeing Tyson struggle with the limited Mathis I pointed out to several fellow boxing enthusiasts that the times top guys like Holyfield and Lewis would beat him. One of them boxing writer Norm Frauenheim as he told me I was wrong and that Tyson was back as good as ever. (Norm if you're here feel free to pm me).
Seldon was perfect for Tyson and Bruno, well he just caved in to the Tyson reputation. Meanwhile the best of the division, not being under Kings influence were left out of Tyson's way for a reason. I mean guys like Lewis and Holyfield. When Holyfield upset the Tyson legend, I recieved many calls from people that once questioned my prediction of what the outcome would be.
Post prison Tyson was a good fighter and a very dangerous puncher but a far different fighter that we had seen in the 80's.

SCtrojansbaby
11-07-2011, 02:58 AM
Post Rudduck/Jail Tyson still had the power but was slow and easy to hit

JAB5239
11-07-2011, 07:29 AM
Post Rudduck/Jail Tyson still had the power but was slow and easy to hit

Easier to hit, yes. But he was probably still the fastest heavyweight in the world while he was still a legitimate contender post prison. His biggest problem was he could no longer put together combinations and was always looking for the home run.

LIU KANG
11-07-2011, 07:36 AM
Prison took him out of his prime. Not as defensive and more of a straight ahead brawler. He steamrolled Bruno and Seldon, and surely woulda KO'd Botha or Moorer had he fought them. But he could no longer box his way through a fight when an easy KO didn't happen. He had less stamina and threw less punches. He was still formidable but not nearly what he was at his best. In lieu of a fast KO he was in big trouble.

Mintcar923
11-11-2011, 04:45 AM
I think he had all the talent to be the GOAT. But, unfortunately he was a bit of an underachiever. Well, at least post-prison he was. The Tyson of 85-90 was as close to perfect as a fighter can possibly get. The only blemish was when he had vastly underestimated Buster Douglas. Also, he had lost Atlas and Rooney by that point which were perhaps the only two trainers who could have unleashed his full potential. The biggest mistake he had made was letting them go. He then got a bit ****y and stopped training and learning new things or so it seems. I suppose Rich Giachetti and Tommy Brooks were good but they really didn't belong with Mike as they weren't Cus D'Amato style trainers a la the original team. It really did look promising for Mike back in '96 when he had beaten Bruno and Seldon for the titles. I had stated in my OP that he was still very formidable in '96 although he wasn't quite ready for the top fighters. I think he should have taken things a little bit slower. I don't mean he should have gone the Foreman '87 route but he just should have gotten some good rounds in before going in with guys like Holy. In retrospect, Evander Holyfield was just bad luck for him and was a fight that he shouldn't have taken too soon after the inactivity.

After those fights he had even more inactivity due to being suspended. I guess that was close to being the final nail in the coffin for him. He did look somewhat ok beating Golota and a few so-so fighters in the 2000's. But, by the time he had the big showdown with Lewis he had regressed so much that it was a fight that was flat-out depressing to watch. I'd say it was along the same lines as watching Marciano-Louis. He was 35 but he fought like he was 55! However, the man he fought that night was oddly in his prime at the very same age. I always wonder what a prime Tyson would do against Lennox Lewis. I guess as Mike put it after the fight that night, "It wasn't meant to be..."

If you actually had the curiosity to watch his final three fights against Etienne, Williams, and McBride I commend you. You are a true fan! He had beaten Etienne with no problem in a first round KO. He looked pretty good against Williams for four rounds before it looked like both his knee gave out and his remaining love for the sport. I hate to comment on his final fight against Kevin McBride. He looked practically like a ghost. He had virtually nothing and his stamina was terrible. He just seemed like he didn't care and that was just tragic for someone with his talent. Note to Iron Mike, "We fans remember you as you were when you were indeed, The baddest man on the planet!"

Sugarj
11-11-2011, 05:54 AM
I think he had all the talent to be the GOAT. But, unfortunately he was a bit of an underachiever. Well, at least post-prison he was. The Tyson of 85-90 was as close to perfect as a fighter can possibly get. The only blemish was when he had vastly underestimated Buster Douglas. Also, he had lost Atlas and Rooney by that point which were perhaps the only two trainers who could have unleashed his full potential. The biggest mistake he had made was letting them go. He then got a bit ****y and stopped training and learning new things or so it seems. I suppose Rich Giachetti and Tommy Brooks were good but they really didn't belong with Mike as they weren't Cus D'Amato style trainers a la the original team. It really did look promising for Mike back in '96 when he had beaten Bruno and Seldon for the titles. I had stated in my OP that he was still very formidable in '96 although he wasn't quite ready for the top fighters. I think he should have taken things a little bit slower. I don't mean he should have gone the Foreman '87 route but he just should have gotten some good rounds in before going in with guys like Holy. In retrospect, Evander Holyfield was just bad luck for him and was a fight that he shouldn't have taken too soon after the inactivity.

After those fights he had even more inactivity due to being suspended. I guess that was close to being the final nail in the coffin for him. He did look somewhat ok beating Golota and a few so-so fighters in the 2000's. But, by the time he had the big showdown with Lewis he had regressed so much that it was a fight that was flat-out depressing to watch. I'd say it was along the same lines as watching Marciano-Louis. He was 35 but he fought like he was 55! However, the man he fought that night was oddly in his prime at the very same age. I always wonder what a prime Tyson would do against Lennox Lewis. I guess as Mike put it after the fight that night, "It wasn't meant to be..."

If you actually had the curiosity to watch his final three fights against Etienne, Williams, and McBride I commend you. You are a true fan! He had beaten Etienne with no problem in a first round KO. He looked pretty good against Williams for four rounds before it looked like both his knee gave out and his remaining love for the sport. I hate to comment on his final fight against Kevin McBride. He looked practically like a ghost. He had virtually nothing and his stamina was terrible. He just seemed like he didn't care and that was just tragic for someone with his talent. Note to Iron Mike, "We fans remember you as you were when you were indeed, The baddest man on the planet!"


In hindsite, Tyson wasn't ready in 1996 for Holyfield. But the thing was, we all thought Evander was shot. Heart complaints, the Bowe stoppage loss, he looked awful against Bobby Czyz. No one except Ron Borges gave Holyfield a chance.

Yea, Tyson could have done with more rounds on his comeback before Holyfield. But I think Don King would have done his best to keep the Tyson gravy train going regardless......I dont think that Lennox Lewis would have been on the immediate radar. Tyson would have been fed guys he'd have been expected to beat like Golota, the faded 1996 Bowe, Michael Moorer, Herbie Hide, Tommy Morrison etc. I think old George Foreman would be avoided though (no hope of a KO win there!).

Ironically 1996 Lennox Lewis might have been an easier match for Tyson than 1996 Holyfield. Lennox wasn't at his best in 1996 and Tyson was still very dangerous for 4 or 5 rounds. There is a chance that Tyson would have found Lennox's chin (Hell Ray Mercer did plenty of times in 1996!).

GoogleMe
11-11-2011, 02:37 PM
A prime Tyson would give any other ATG heavyweights hell, 90's Tyson weren't a 12 round fighter, not as accurate, not as fast, not as good defensive, nothing like his old self. But could still put up a fight though. 90's Tyson could easily be HW champ today.

Great John L
11-11-2011, 05:08 PM
He was very good, but not as good as he was in the 80s. In the 90s he began to fall apart, Rooney had been gone for awhile and Mike didn't have that trainer-fighter bond anymore that's so crucial to consistency. He also started lifting much more weights while in prison and got bulkier and slower as a result, usually going over 220, when he had generally been below 217 if I remember correctly in the 1980s. His defense and hand speed just weren't that great, and he no longer strung his punches together as fluidly. There is just so much more rhythm and fluidity(I think that's a word) in the 1980s Mike's combos than the 90s. In the 90s, he tended to throw one punch at a time at a less than stellar speed, instead of shooting several fast shots to the body, mixed with several hooks to the head like he did against Scaff and others. But he's a great fighter by any measure. But his life and career were just going down and down in the 1990s. His best days were past him.

TAC602
11-11-2011, 07:08 PM
Good enough to completely overshadow the current Pacquiao-Mayweather hogwash and have the heavyweight division front and center. As far as quality as a fighter: He was the description most of his detractors place on him for his 1980s run. An overrated, flash-in-the-pan. He found quick success because his power was still there and too many casuals bought into him being "back". The only time he was even half-way back were in his four post-Douglas fights before prison. Not from a skills perspective per se, but his vicious attitude and focus exhibited.

TAC602
11-11-2011, 07:17 PM
The funny thing with Mike is, you can't talk about him without "hype" being brought up in the conversation.

I'd love to see you recreate it, baby. Why haven't they? For that matter, let's have the reincarnation of Marlon Brando and a hotter record than Thriller. A Godfather remake that tops the original.

La_Vibora
11-11-2011, 07:47 PM
I really wish he could have linked up with Freddy Roach somehow back then or even better with Eddie Futch who was still alive then. I thought that Roach did an excellent job with him back when they got together, the problem is that Mike was too over the hill and drugged out to really capitalize on it.

TAC602
11-11-2011, 11:08 PM
I really wish he could have linked up with Freddy Roach somehow back then or even better with Eddie Futch who was still alive then. I thought that Roach did an excellent job with him back when they got together, the problem is that Mike was too over the hill and drugged out to really capitalize on it.

Feelin' the Mt. Rushmore of Heavyweight Swarmers signature.

:hail:

CarlosG815
11-14-2011, 12:50 PM
I've always thought that Mike was very good in the 90's, but NOT what he was before. He was so phenomenal in the 80's that it's easy to say he sucked in the 90's. If people didn't know who he was in the 80's then they would think he was great in the 90's.

Cloud
11-14-2011, 02:17 PM
Always sad to see 90's Mike. Sad because of what he had once been...

Despite everything he earned boxing wise in his career, i still class him as one of the greatest what ifs...

TAC602
11-14-2011, 03:28 PM
Always sad to see 90's Mike. Sad because of what he had once been...

Despite everything he earned boxing wise in his career, i still class him as one of the greatest what ifs...

Amazing, isn't it?

While a few souls await word of heavyweight champion Mike Tyson's threatened retirement, a great many more, having seen a parade of champions renounce the ring only to hurry back, ponder other issues. For instance, should I lay out $40 to see this awesome man-child knock out some poor creature in 91 seconds or should I take the wife bowling? How exciting would the World Series be if the whole thing could end in the first inning of Game 1?

Listen to Kevin Rooney, Tyson's tough little trainer, and you would think that Tyson hardly exerted himself at all when he demolished Michael Spinks on June 27. Rooney says his fighter has been operating at only 50% of his potential. Fifty percent. "He does things in the gym nobody has seen in the ring yet," says Rooney. "Someday he's going to put it all together; then you'll really see something." Maybe we'll see the referee start counting during the national anthem.

Perhaps it just speaks to his talent and what he was able to accomplish at such a young age, because he could've been much more. Still, these days it goes from what he could've accomplished to he didn't accomplish very much. Hogwash. The way people talk these days, you'd think Tyson's title reign lasted as long as Buster Douglas' whopping 0 defenses. From every dated article circa 1989, people were becoming tired of Tyson's dominance. That isn't a flash in the pan. Douglas, Holyfield and Bowe wouldn't of attained the status of undisputed champion had Tyson not individually unified the titles, taking out undefeateds Tucker and Spinks for the 3rd belt and linear crown, respectively. It's easy to skew history, but Tyson had a more-than-legitimate argument as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world from 1986-89. In fact, he was ranked as such in the inaugural Ring rankings in 1989. Everybody knows he was even better in the three years previous. Not too shabby for a fighter that has trouble cracking the top one hundred on some peoples lists.

:bottle:

GRANDSLAM
11-14-2011, 04:36 PM
Prime Tyson wasn't an ATG. I base that on quality of opposition. His best win is Spinks and Spinks was scared to death. The rest of his career wins was against B Level fighters and an Old Larry Holmes. Anytime he was taken into deep water he folded.

Sugarj
11-14-2011, 06:31 PM
Prime Tyson wasn't an ATG. I base that on quality of opposition. His best win is Spinks and Spinks was scared to death. The rest of his career wins was against B Level fighters and an Old Larry Holmes. Anytime he was taken into deep water he folded.


Something tells me that you'd venture that prime Lewis is an ATG? Did he ever beat an A grade fighter?

The closest to A grade opposition is Vitali Klitschko......who I fear would have gone on to win that fight were it not for the cut. Even cuts aside, it was a terribly sloppy performance from Lewis, I wasn't surprised that he didn't rematch Vitali.

Were Lewis's other key victories over opposition any better than those that Tyson faced?

Was 1999 Holyfield any better than 1988 Holmes (consider what Holmes did to prime Mercer years later.......and we know how well Mercer did against Lewis)?

Was 1993 Bruno any better than 1989 Bruno? Arguable!

Was 1992 Ruddock as good as he was when he fought Tyson a year previous?

Was the overweight David Tua as good as Tony Tucker?

Were McCall/Rahman any better than Berbick or Bonecrusher Smith?

So what that Spinks was scared of Tyson, Golota was scared of Lewis. Who was the better opponent?

Were Tyson's losses to Buster Douglas and Holyfield 1 any more embarrasing than Lewis's one punch KO losses to McCall and Rahman?

Tyson didn't fold every time he was taken into deep water, his display against Buster Douglas showed plenty of heart........and Tyson absorbed harder blows from Razor Ruddock (when winning) than Lewis did in his losses.

Food for thought!

I personally think that both Tyson and Lewis are ATGs with flaws apiece. But its important to be objective with your assertions.

TAC602
11-14-2011, 06:58 PM
Something tells me that you'd venture that prime Lewis is an ATG? Did he ever beat an A grade fighter?

The closest to A grade opposition is Vitali Klitschko......who I fear would have gone on to win that fight were it not for the cut. Even cuts aside, it was a terribly sloppy performance from Lewis, I wasn't surprised that he didn't rematch Vitali.

Were Lewis's other key victories over opposition any better than those that Tyson faced?

Was 1999 Holyfield any better than 1988 Holmes (consider what Holmes did to prime Mercer years later.......and we know how well Mercer did against Lewis)?

Was 1993 Bruno any better than 1989 Bruno? Arguable!

Was 1992 Ruddock as good as he was when he fought Tyson a year previous?

Was the overweight David Tua as good as Tony Tucker?

Were McCall/Rahman any better than Berbick or Bonecrusher Smith?

So what that Spinks was scared of Tyson, Golota was scared of Lewis. Who was the better opponent?

Were Tyson's losses to Buster Douglas and Holyfield 1 any more embarrasing than Lewis's one punch KO losses to McCall and Rahman?

Tyson didn't fold every time he was taken into deep water, his display against Buster Douglas showed plenty of heart........and Tyson absorbed harder blows from Razor Ruddock (when winning) than Lewis did in his losses.

Food for thought!

I personally think that both Tyson and Lewis are ATGs with flaws apiece. But its important to be objective with your assertions.

Excellent post. :boxing:

Are we really discrediting wins because the other guy was scared ****less? And yes, Ruddock was damaged goods after back-to-back bouts with Tyson; nobody did anything of the sort like that to Holmes prior to or after, and Thomas/Tucker had 1 combined loss in 64 bouts at the time he fought them

Sugarj
11-15-2011, 05:15 AM
Excellent post. :boxing:

Are we really discrediting wins because the other guy was scared ****less? And yes, Ruddock was damaged goods after back-to-back bouts with Tyson; nobody did anything of the sort like that to Holmes prior to or after, and Thomas/Tucker had 1 combined loss in 64 bouts at the time he fought them


Cheers bud.

I'm a big fan of both heavyweights, I just wanted to keep it real.

TAC602
11-15-2011, 01:12 PM
Cheers bud.

I'm a big fan of both heavyweights, I just wanted to keep it real.

Yeah, I've never been into nitpicking a clear ATG's resume to come to the conclusion that they aren't in opinion, an ATG. The thing is, you can do it with most any heavyweight with the exception of Ali. I don't think any Tyson fan in their right mind would claim his era was anywhere close to the toughest but it isn't, for example, as if the likes of the eras Marciano, Holmes or Lewis (as you showed) fought in are vastly superior. So superior that Tyson isn't an ATG heavy? No way.

Sugarj
11-15-2011, 05:28 PM
Yeah, I've never been into nitpicking a clear ATG's resume to come to the conclusion that they aren't in opinion, an ATG. The thing is, you can do it with most any heavyweight with the exception of Ali. I don't think any Tyson fan in their right mind would claim his era was anywhere close to the toughest but it isn't, for example, as if the likes of the eras Marciano, Holmes or Lewis (as you showed) fought in are vastly superior. So superior that Tyson isn't an ATG heavy? No way.


True, there are dozens of ATGs with on paper fairly average resumes.