Wednesday, 11 February 2015 02:50

Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas - 25 Years Gone...

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The music would wail from the highest rafters in the arena, the crowd would swell and nearly swoon with anticipation at the sight of the most feared individual in boxing as he made his way toward the ring.

Whether any of us were either at a Mike Tyson bout live or parked in front of the TV, the price tag attached to the eventual pay per view telecast was second fiddle to the psyche attached to witnessing what could be a legally sanctioned destruction.

It was almost as if Emperor Vespasian had returned to build a new colosseum just for us. The pugilistic shamelessness exhibited by Iron Mike set the living room ablaze and we were light years away from the mere idea of a high definition signal on our TV.

The unfair nature of matching fighters up from differing generations is missed by some due to the fact that nostalgia often clouds the mind and the guesswork done in terms of an outcome is based on mere opinion. Could Sugar Ray Robinson have beaten say, Sugar Ray Leonard or Tommy Hearns? There are numerous mythical bouts that circulate the internet each and every day.

There is still no fighter that polarizes boxing fans the way that the man from Catskill, New York (by way of Brownsville, Brooklyn) once did. He also fought more than a few times on premium cable TV and not pay per view (hint, hint).


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His loss to James "Buster" Douglas 25 years ago today is still very much a "flash bulb" type of moment for those of us who saw it live on television.


The bout took place in Tokyo, Japan and Douglas was almost as much of a numerical underdog as the total number of our fingers, toes and teeth.

None of us were well accustomed to a "Iron" Mike Tyson bout going deep into our respective evenings, save for perhaps Tony Tucker (who gallantly rode the full twelve with Mike but lost a wide decision) or James "Bonecrusher" Smith, who in effect hugged Tyson for the bulk of thirty six minutes.

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The man who would often come to the ring in a towel with a hole cut into it as a makeshift robe was not only beaten but beaten-up as well by the man from Columbus, Ohio long before a kid named LeBron became the state's favorite son.


Just for that one night (or morning) in Japan or wherever we happened to be, the result became the talk of the town.

No one forgot about Mike after he was handed his first defeat and he was perhaps even more popular after he "visited" a certain correctional facility in the midwest for part of the mid 90's.

We still flocked to see him fight, even after he lost. He was still important and he still mattered. The egg may have left his loss column, but we still were fascinated by him.


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What is a fighter as great Floyd Mayweather, Jr. really thinking these days?


For those of us old (and wise) enough to remember that night in 1990 when the unthinkable happened, try to think for just a moment if the much daydreamed and borderline hallucinatory bout between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will come anywhere close to having a special place in your sporting memory.

That's a tough one.

Tyson vs Douglas highlights below

 

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