Tales of the huge punching power of Mike Tyson are legendary. Fans around the world have watched highlights of some of his most violent knockouts in awe for years.
How, though, did in actual feel to get hit with a shot from ‘Iron Mike’ in his prime?
A list of quotes from former Tyson opponents has now been compiled by talkSPORT.com – and even reading some of them is uncomfortable.
Jesse Ferguson (Tyson’s 18th career fight – February 1986)
Jesse Ferguson managed to take Tyson into the sixth round of their February 1986 bout – the longest that anyone had managed to survive against the massive puncher at that point.
However, Ferguson revealed to Ring Magazine that Tyson felt ‘unstoppable’ during the fight:
“Tyson was unstoppable when we fought. He caught me with a great shot. He hit me with an uppercut that made my eyes water…I held on until I heard the bell, but after that my corner couldn’t stop my nose from bleeding”.
Marvis Frazier (25th fight – July 1986)
“I threw a jab and I don’t remember anything else,” admitted the son of Joe Frazier – who Tyson blitzed in just 30 seconds.
Larry Holmes (33rd fight – January 1988)
Having defeated Trevor Berbick to become the youngest ever world heavyweight champion in November 1986, Tyson soon became the standard bearer for the weight class.
Former champion Larry Holmes believed he could test Tyson’s credentials, but fell tamely inside four rounds.
“Tyson’s a good puncher, he’s down low. He was good, he was short and he had to get up to get to you…I should have had a tune-up. No excuses, Mike Tyson whupped me fair and square.”
Michael Spinks (35th fight – June 1988)
Having quickly unified the heavyweight division, Tyson only needed to defeat Michael Spinks to become an undisputed world champion. Tyson did so in 91 seconds.
“He was very strong. I don’t know what made him so strong. Mike Tyson was most definitely the biggest puncher I ever fought,” conceded an overmatched Spinks afterwards.
Peter McNeeley (43rd fight – August 1995)
Following a spell in jail, Tyson wasted no time in putting away Peter McNeeley in his return to the ring in August 1995.
“He was all speed, he had blinding fast speed, it surprised me how fast…I don’t care what fighter you are – any fighter over 200lbs can punch – but with him, the power and that speed? Deadly combination.”
Tyson won the bout via first round stoppage.
Evander Holyfield (48th and 49th fights – November 1996 and June 1997)
Neither of Tyson’s bouts with Evander Holyfield had a positive outcome for him.
Holyfield, though, paid tribute to Tyson’s skills during an interview with Ring Magazine:
“He was a good fighter, a very talented fighter and he had some skills that other people didn’t have.
“I was a good boxer and he was a good puncher, and he was very technical with a lot of things…I hit him with some good shots at the end. He never did go down and I hit him with a lot of shots that had put a lot of people down.”
Julius Francis (51st fight – January 2000)
“I only remember the first knockdown,” revealed Francis while speaking to talkSPORT.
“I thought, ‘Who the f*** do you think you are hitting me? So I went toe-to-toe with him.
“If I had boxed and run around the ring I do not think I would have got any respect from him. I’ve got no regrets.”
Lou Savarese (52nd fight – June 2000)
Savarese was overwhelmed by Tyson in just 38 seconds in Glasgow – and admitted to Ring Magazine that he had let Tyson’s superstar aura get to him on the night:
“The thing about him that’s amazing is there are guys that are strong and there are guys that are fast. He’s strong and fast.
“It’s so deceiving how quick he is. That’s what makes him so different. You don’t realise how quick he is until you get in there with him.”
Lennox Lewis (55th fight – June 2002)
Tyson’s bout with Lewis was the last truly big fight of his professional career. Lewis would finish Tyson inside eight rounds, but felt that he never truly got credit for the win. Lewis told Boxing News:
“Everyone makes the argument that I didn’t beat a young Mike Tyson.
“That argument is wrong because he wasn’t fighting a young Lennox Lewis either. Tyson’s fighting style hadn’t changed, I felt his power in the beginning of the fight.
“He threw a couple of nice shots that clipped me and my trainer Emanuel Steward said, ‘Why are you fighting like that? You’re giving him a chance’.
“Even though I was in control I was always careful. I couldn’t presume the fight was won before it was.”
Danny Williams (57th fight – July 2004)
Tyson was well past his best by the time he faced Williams in 2004, but the Brit admitted when speaking to Ring Magazine that the former world champion still had plenty of power:
“The first thing that shocked me was his punching power. He was so fast as well, it was scary…When he first hit me, it was a weird feeling. It was easily the hardest I’ve ever been punched. I was expecting it, but it still came as a shock.”
Tyson intends to continue fighting in exhibition contests, including a potential third meeting with Holyfield. He may not be quite the animal that he was in his prime, but there appears to be plenty more hard punches left in the arms of ‘Iron Mike’.