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Old 05-11-2006, 08:13 PM #1
SABBATH SABBATH is offline
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Default The Myth Of Mike Tyson

How Good Was/Is Mike Tyson?

By Frank Scoblete
30 January 2000


Now that Mike Tyson's career is almost over, it might be of interest to take a cold hard look at just how good he was at his best to get some idea of where he stands in the rankings of the great heavyweight champions.

It is not a stretch to say that much of the fearsome Tyson persona of a decade or more ago was media hype and was little related to what he actually accomplished in the ring or against whom he accomplished it.

We can make a case that Tyson fought "never-wases" and "nothing-lefters" in his early career culminating with his knockout over an intimidated former light-heavyweight champion Michael Spinks, whose only real claim to fame was "winning" two controversial decisions against an aging and distracted Larry Holmes.

Other than the light-hitting, terrified Spinks and the out-of-shape, intimidated, comebacking, former great Larry Holmes, who did Tyson actually fight in his pre-prison days who was truly any good in absolute terms? If we measure competition based on who Ali faced, then who of all Tyson's pre-prison opponents was as good as Jerry Quarry, Oscar Bonavena, Ken Norton, Ron Lyle, Ernie Shavers, Joe Bugner, Mac Foster, Floyd Patterson, Zora Foley, Cleveland Williams, Jimmy Ellis, Bob Foster or Ernie Terrell, not to mention the awesome likes of all-time greats Sonny Liston, George Foreman or Smokin' Joe Frazier? Would you classify Bonecrusher Smith, Tony Tucker, Trevor Berbick or Frank Bruno with any those other fighters? Only if you never saw them fight!

The only real fight the pre-prison Tyson ever had was against the only decent heavyweight fighter he fought, a determined, well-conditioned Buster Douglas -- and Tyson was roundly beaten, battered and knocked out! That was Tyson in his prime, against a fighter who went on to "extinguish" himself by being knocked out in three rounds by Evander Holyfield.

If the pre-prison Tyson's boxing worth must be looked at with some skepticism, then the post-prison Tyson must be looked upon with scorn. Often in boxing, the true greatness of a fighter is not actually known when he is in his prime as he defeats opponent after opponent rather convincingly. It is only after he ages, slows down, and gets himself into wars are we aware of just how good the fighter is -- and was!

Certainly that was true of Ali. Before he made his comeback from an almost four-year forced layoff, there were all sorts of questions about his ability. Could he take a punch? Had he been beating up washed-up fighters? Did he have courage? Would he dog it if he were ever in a real fight? The layoff slowed Ali down, made him more vulnerable. What's more, great fighters appeared in that time, fighters better than any he had previously fought!

So a somewhat diminished Ali met each and every challenger -- starting with a comeback fight against highly ranked Jerry Quarry and then a second fight against vicious number-one contender Oscar Bonavena. His first career loss to Joe Frazier in his third comeback fight proved he could take a punch and that he had mountains of courage. That fight was the first of several "wars" Ali would fight in this second part of his career.

His next loss was to Ken Norton. Fighting 11 rounds with a broken jaw, Ali merely proved again that he was as courageous as any fighter who ever lived. His great victories against these very same fighters and his upset win over the god-like Foreman, showed what a great fighter he was -- and how much greater he had been before his layoff!

Not so with Tyson. His "layoff" was heralded with a return to the ring against a rank amateur, Peter McNeeley, whom Tyson "destroyed" with a wild flurry in round one. This same McNeeley was later knocked out by the bloated Butterbean in one round and has since lost just about every real fight he's had! And what of Buster Mathis, Jr., Bruce "I was knocked out by a gust of air" Seldon, Francois Botha, or Julian Francis? Are they credible opponents? Only if elephants can fly.

The only real fight the post-prison Tyson had of any significance was against Evander Holyfield, who was selected because he appeared to be a shot fighter, having lost two out of three to the disappointing Riddick Bowe. Had Tyson known that Holyfield was not a shot fighter, but actually the only great heavyweight of the 1990s, I'm sure he would have selected a different fighter to beat, perhaps a third go-round with the overrated Razor Ruddock who proved himself a worthy Tyson contender by being knocked out in one round by the otherwise cautious Lennox Lewis.

So here we have a very simple yardstick for measuring the greatness of Mike Tyson. He fought two hard fights, one pre-prison and one post-prison -- both of which he lost (subsequently, he ate his way to a third loss and fouled himself into a no-decision). The rest of his victories, pre-prison and post-prison, were over fighters who couldn't make the "C" list during Ali's tenure. So where does that put him on the list of all-time greats?

It doesn't. He doesn't belong. He's not even in the top 20!

If you think of the very few good heavyweight fighters who have plied their trade in the late 1980s and 1990s, it is a short list: Evander Holyfield, George Foreman (oh, yes, the Big George who fought Holyfield would have rocked Iron Mike just as he did Smokin' Joe), Riddick Bowe, and maybe Lennox Lewis and Michael Moorer. Tyson only fought one of them, and lost. The others he avoided.

I do not, as some writers do, lament the fact that Mike Tyson never lived up to his potential. In fact, I believe he did live up to it, fully, completely. His potential just wasn't all that great and that's what he became -- not all that great.

Last edited by SABBATH; 05-11-2006 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:55 PM #2
Brassangel Brassangel is offline
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Just listing the names of Ali's opponents doesn't make Ali's opponents great. The fighters were in better condition in the 80's and 90's, their training regiments were different, diets were different, etc. Even the rules of the ring were slightly different. While I'm not saying that Tyson faced better competition than Ali, perhaps the truth is that Ali was vastly over-hyped and he faced average journeymen who gave him a good run. This is very similar to your Louis thread and, while we know you hate Tyson, this thread will probably see little responses other than my own.

Furthermore, watch Ali's matches against some of the opponents he had trouble with (Cooper, Jones, Folley, even that German guy whose name I can't remember, Frazier, etc.), and honestly say that Tyson couldn't do what those guys did...only better. Dumbass.
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:11 PM #3
SABBATH SABBATH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brassangel
Just listing the names of Ali's opponents doesn't make Ali's opponents great. The fighters were in better condition in the 80's and 90's, their training regiments were different, diets were different, etc. Even the rules of the ring were slightly different. While I'm not saying that Tyson faced better competition than Ali, perhaps the truth is that Ali was vastly over-hyped and he faced average journeymen who gave him a good run. This is very similar to your Louis thread and, while we know you hate Tyson, this thread will probably see little responses other than my own.

Furthermore, watch Ali's matches against some of the opponents he had trouble with (Cooper, Jones, Folley, even that German guy whose name I can't remember, Frazier, etc.), and honestly say that Tyson couldn't do what those guys did...only better. Dumbass.
Interesting comments from a poster I obviously over estimated. Neither of these two articles were written by myself. I clearly stipulated that at the beginning of the Louis thread (name of the original authour went by the pseudonym 'REVOLVER') while this article if you had actually taken the time to read and notice was written by sports journalist Frank Scoblete.

As a sports journalist, Scoblete is entitled to formulate and put his opinions to print, that is what he is paid to do. I fail to see how posting an article written by a professional journalist qualifies me as a 'dumbass'. Maybe the closed-minded individual who refuses to consider the opinions of others when drawing his own conclusions is the actual 'dumbass.'

By the way his name was Karl Mildenberger. If you had more than a passing interest and knowledge of boxing you would have known that.
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:40 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brassangel
Just listing the names of Ali's opponents doesn't make Ali's opponents great. The fighters were in better condition in the 80's and 90's, their training regiments were different, diets were different, etc. Even the rules of the ring were slightly different. While I'm not saying that Tyson faced better competition than Ali, perhaps the truth is that Ali was vastly over-hyped and he faced average journeymen who gave him a good run. This is very similar to your Louis thread and, while we know you hate Tyson, this thread will probably see little responses other than my own.

Furthermore, watch Ali's matches against some of the opponents he had trouble with (Cooper, Jones, Folley, even that German guy whose name I can't remember, Frazier, etc.), and honestly say that Tyson couldn't do what those guys did...only better. Dumbass.
Tyson would not do what Frazier did at all. Would tyson win the FOTC in 1971? i really ****en doubt it.

The fighters in the 80s and 90s were in better condition? You wont find too many fighters that were in better condition then a prime Joe Frazier.

Last edited by Heckler; 05-11-2006 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:44 PM #5
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Originally Posted by Heckler
Tyson would not do what Frazier did at all. Would tyson win the FOTC in 1971? i really ****en doubt it.
Larry Merchant comparing Frazier and Tyson. He said the difference between Frazier and Tyson is, "Frazier was a mile wide and a mile deep, Tyson is a mile wide and an inch deep".
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:44 PM #6
LondonRingRules LondonRingRules is offline
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=====It doesn't. He doesn't belong. He's not even in the top 20!======

** IBRO historians ranked Tyson 13th, Lewis was 12th, and Holy was 14th.

You seem to have a proclivity for making stupid, insipid posts.

There was no 21 yr old fighter in the history of the planet that boxing oldtimers ever proclaimed was the best they had ever seen until Tyson came along. Not even Dempsey, Louis, and Ali in their primes got respect by boxing oldtimers.

Anyone with brains knows Tyson never reached his full potential, but still was briefly the most dominating and destructive heavy in history and still has a great record.
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:55 PM #7
SABBATH SABBATH is offline
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Originally Posted by LondonRingRules

** IBRO historians ranked Tyson 13th, Lewis was 12th, and Holy was 14th.

You seem to have a proclivity for making stupid, insipid posts.

There was no 21 yr old fighter in the history of the planet that boxing oldtimers ever proclaimed was the best they had ever seen until Tyson came along. Not even Dempsey, Louis, and Ali in their primes got respect by boxing oldtimers.

Anyone with brains knows Tyson never reached his full potential, but still was briefly the most dominating and destructive heavy in history and still has a great record.
In 1985 Tyson went 15-0 with 15 KO's. Only one novice opponent would retire with a winning record (6-1). Not one of these 15 opponents ever beat a world class opponent and they accounted for 154 KO losses. ****ing incredible! The glass jaw brigade! Of particular note is opponent Larry Sims who is stopped by wonderboy in 3 rounds. Two fights later it takes 42 year old Ernie Shavers who hasn't had a fight in 4 years only 1 round to KO Sims.

1986 isn't much better and this is the year Tyson fans will tell you his prime started.

David Jaco KO'd in 1 retires with a losing record and is KO'd 18 times.

Mike Jameson KO'd in 5 retires with a losing record and is KO'd 4 times.

Jesse Ferguson was probably one of Tyson's best opponents although his only notable wins were against Ray Mercer and Buster Douglas while he retired having been KO'd 6 times. Even still he finished the fight with Tyson on his feet and was only floored once in 6 rounds before the referee disqualified him for holding.

Steve Zouski retires with a losing record and is KO'd 9 times. In his 2nd fight after getting KO'd by Tyson in 3, 267 lb George Foreman who hasn't fought in 10 years takes only one round more than Tyson scoring a KO in 4.

James Tillis past his prime and now a decent journeyman loses a close decision to Tyson. Tillis never beat a top 10 heavyweight in his career and was KO'd 11 times.

Mitch Green. Here's a switch. A Tyson opponent who doesn't have multiple KO losses on his record. Green who never defeated a ranked fighter and retired 19-6 goes the distance with Tyson and is never floored.

Reggie Gross KO'd in 1. A confidence booster for Tyson who has failed to stop his last 2 opponents. Fought the first half of his career as a light-heavyweight and was KO'd 5 times in compiling an 18-8 career record.

William Hosea KO'd in 1. Another winning record! Retires 11-7 and is KO'd twice.

Lorenzo Boyd. KO'd in 2. Retires with a losing record. Incredibly Boyd suffers 41 KO's in 54 career losses!

Marvis Frazier KO'd in 1. Soft puncher with a weak chin but holds a decision win over Bonecrusher Smith, the only top 10 opponent win on his resume. KO'd in 1 in both career losses.

Jose Ribalta TKO'd in 10. On his feet, clear-eyed and complaining when the referee stops it. Retires with a winning record but still suffers 9 KO's in 17 losses and like most Tyson KO victims never beats a top 10 heavyweight.

Alfonso Ratliff KO'd in 2. A cruiserweight. KO'd by every world class heavyweight he ever fought. Retires with a winning record but is KO'd 6 times in 9 career losses.

That's 25 of Tyson's 44 Career KO's right there

Oh yeah, one other thing. Tyson's 27 fight pre-title opposition?

268 CAREER KO LOSSES !!!

Those were the tomato cans your 21 year old wonder boy built his reputation on Tex. Put that in your 10 gallon hat cow poke...

Last edited by SABBATH; 05-11-2006 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:24 PM #8
kjellho kjellho is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SABBATH
In 1985 Tyson went 15-0 with 15 KO's. Only one novice opponent would retire with a winning record (6-1). Not one of these 15 opponents ever beat a world class opponent and they accounted for 154 KO losses. ****ing incredible! The glass jaw brigade! Of particular note is opponent Larry Sims who is stopped by wonderboy in 3 rounds. Two fights later it takes 42 year old Ernie Shavers who hasn't had a fight in 4 years only 1 round to KO Sims.

1986 isn't much better and this is the year Tyson fans will tell you his prime started.

David Jaco KO'd in 1 retires with a losing record and is KO'd 18 times.

Mike Jameson KO'd in 5 retires with a losing record and is KO'd 4 times.

Jesse Ferguson was probably one of Tyson's best opponents although his only notable wins were against Ray Mercer and Buster Douglas while he retired having been KO'd 6 times. Even still he finished the fight with Tyson on his feet and was only floored once in 6 rounds before the referee disqualified him for holding.

Steve Zouski retires with a losing record and is KO'd 9 times. In his 2nd fight after getting KO'd by Tyson in 3, 267 lb George Foreman who hasn't fought in 10 years takes only one round more than Tyson scoring a KO in 4.

James Tillis past his prime and now a decent journeyman loses a close decision to Tyson. Tillis never beat a top 10 heavyweight in his career and was KO'd 11 times.

Mitch Green. Here's a switch. A Tyson opponent who doesn't have multiple KO losses on his record. Green who never defeated a ranked fighter and retired 19-6 goes the distance with Tyson and is never floored.

Reggie Gross KO'd in 1. A confidence booster for Tyson who has failed to stop his last 2 opponents. Fought the first half of his career as a light-heavyweight and was KO'd 5 times in compiling an 18-8 career record.

William Hosea KO'd in 1. Another winning record! Retires 11-7 and is KO'd twice.

Lorenzo Boyd. KO'd in 2. Retires with a losing record. Incredibly Boyd suffers 41 KO's in 54 career losses!

Marvis Frazier KO'd in 1. Soft puncher with a weak chin but holds a decision win over Bonecrusher Smith, the only top 10 opponent win on his resume. KO'd in 1 in both career losses.

Jose Ribalta TKO'd in 10. On his feet, clear-eyed and complaining when the referee stops it. Retires with a winning record but still suffers 9 KO's in 17 losses and like most Tyson KO victims never beats a top 10 heavyweight.

Alfonso Ratliff KO'd in 2. A cruiserweight. KO'd by every world class heavyweight he ever fought. Retires with a winning record but is KO'd 6 times in 9 career losses.

That's 25 of Tyson's 44 Career KO's right there

Oh yeah, one other thing. Tyson's 27 fight pre-title opposition?

268 CAREER KO LOSSES !!!

Those were the tomato cans your 21 year old wonder boy built his reputation on Tex. Put that in your 10 gallon hat cow poke...

So much hate
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It's actually quite funny that you did take the time to look ALL those things up.
I've read your posts and you truly are a real class act. I don't mind you disliking Tyson, it's your choice - but ftlog - WHY do you pollute EVERY single thread with your Tyson hate? Your fancy writing obviously impresses some (Yogi for example), but it doesn't impress me. As a matter of fact, I think that you know very little of boxing. Any dumbass with internet access can post exactly what you post. You must spend very much time looking these things up on the internet. Are you really that keen on impressing people on this forum? Posting your findings here and have the non-brighties (read Yogi) hugging your nuts
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Why?

Oh, and the fact that you feel the urge to share your Tyson-hate in a Tyson appreciation thread is just sad. Start a Tyson hate-thread if you need to express yourself and stop polluting every other thread with that ****. Is it just to piss people off? ANd in that case - Why would you want to do that? Seriously, I want to know.
Your fancy writing (cudos) does not really reflect your level of maturity. I would've expected more from someone who has little problems in expressing himself efficiently. Not trying to be rude or anything here but come on man..
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:37 PM #9
Abe Attell Abe Attell is offline
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If you rip Tyson, you have to rip Marciano:

at least Tyson fought one of the best lightheavyweights near their prime...lets not forget Michael Spinks was a great fighter, that was a naturally huge lightheavyweight, more of a small heavyweight/crusierweight...and if I remember correctly, only one of those wins against Larry Holmes was controversial, but that said, Larry wasn't really in his prime either, but Larry, nor anybody else, was able to knockout Spinks, and in dramatic fashion.

Tyson was also the only person to knockout Larry Holmes, though old, Larry would have another career after the Tyson fight...a career which included close fights to really good opponents.


All that said, Tyson never lived up to his potential, nor was he able to fight a great fighter in his prime.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:41 PM #10
SABBATH SABBATH is offline
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Any dumbass with internet access can post exactly what you post.
The poster I was responding to was LRR who stated that at 21 years of age Tyson was an All Time Great. I followed Tyson's career since the 1984 Olympic Trials and own copies of almost all of his fights. I've seen my share of Tyson, certainly enough to debate anyone on these threads. I did my leg work, you know my position and I backed it up.

I'm waiting for you to back up your rebuttal, unless you are not up to the intellectual capabilities of "any dumbass with internet access."
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