Former heavyweight sensation Mike Tyson has surprisingly revealed the highlight of his career was his loss to James ‘Buster’ Douglas.
Douglas was the first man to defeat Tyson inside the boxing ring, surviving an eighth-round knockdown himself to stop the unified WBC, WBA and IBF champions inside ten.
It was a widely unexpected result that shocked boxing, with the then-champion previously untouchable in the heavyweight division.
By that stage of his career Tyson’s life outside of the squared circle, dominated by drugs and contract disputes, began to spiral beyond control. Douglas was a 42/1 outsider to win, but the champion’s lackadaisical training routines saw him surrender his unified titles.
It is for those reasons that Tyson pinpointed his foe as his career highlight: “Buster Douglas, as I needed that fight to make me a better person and fighter. I have a broader perspective of myself and boxing,” he said.
There was to be another world championship when he defeated Frank Bruno six years later, but a prolonged prison sentence for rape meant he was arguably never the same fighter again.
Tyson was taking part in a sit-down chat for ESPN with fellow legendary heavyweight Larry Holmes, promoting a Friday Night Fights card on the network. Iron Mike Productions, his venture into the being a promoter, has fighters on that bill at the Turning Stone Casino.
A wide range of boxing topics were discussed between the pair, from concussions in boxing to their respective favourite fight movies.
For the most part, the two discussed fighting each other in 1988, when Holmes came out of a two-year retirement but became Tyson’s 33rd successive victim as ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ scored a fourth round TKO victory.
Holmes told how Don King knocked on his door at 9 o’clock in the evening, despite being into a retirement, and offered him $3.5million to fight someone “he knew I could beat”. He ended up being deposited onto the canvas three times in the fourth round and heavily defeated.
Despite the victory, Tyson also acknowledged he was far from facing a peak Holmes: “I never fought the great Larry Holmes. I had no delusions; by all means, I didn’t fight the Holmes who fought Ali.”
“He didn’t have enough time to prepare when he fought me. Don didn’t give him the opportunity.”
Holmes said his career highlight was an unexpected victory over Ken Norton: “So many people said I couldn’t do it, my legs were too small, and I was just a copy of Muhammad Ali. But I did the work and had the dedication.”
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