Mike Tyson: David Haye on why Iron Mike isn't a top five heavyweight in history

Mike Tyson: David Haye on why Iron Mike isn't a top five heavyweight in history

David Haye’s top 10 heavyweights of all time list omits Mike Tyson from its top five, with the Brit questioning the mental fortitude of ‘Iron Mike’.

The former cruiserweight champion doesn’t place Tyson in his top five greatest heavyweights there’s ever been because of a lack of testing bouts in his career.

Haye believes Tyson rarely, if ever, came from behind to win, which means in his eyes that he shouldn’t be in the conversation to be called a divisional legend.

During a glittering 20-year career in the world of professional boxing, Tyson secured important victories against some of the best to ever do it such as Frank Bruno, Trevor Berbick, Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks.

However, Haye reckons these wins aren’t enough to make his list.

Speaking on an episode of BBC’s Costello and Bunce podcast, Haye said: “How many fights did he have where he was behind on points? Where he got put down, hurt and came back, that’s the question.

“If he fights [Muhammad] Ali and hits Ali in the first round and has Ali on the ropes and finishes him off, ok he can beat Ali. But if Ali boxes his head off and gets him tired, ties him up, taunts him, gets him missing, makes him pay, does Tyson have the mental capacity and the mental fortitude to get through that problem? I haven’t seen him get through many problems ever.

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“The moment he started to lose, or it started to get tough, it seemed to go the other way. Buster Douglas, Holyfield twice, even Danny Williams. Obviously, that’s way further down when he was completely washed up, but so was Danny Williams at the time if you really think about it.

“Many fighters – Holyfield, Lennox Lewis – they’ve all had tough fights where they are on the brink of losing and found a way to win, I’ve never seen that with Tyson.

“I find it hard to say someone’s in the top five of all time if they’ve never had a fight which they were losing and they came back to win.”

In a tweet from 2020, which contains the list where Haye named his top 10 heavyweights of all time, including Mike Tyson at number six, he ranked the American behind Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, George Foreman and Larry Holmes.

Tyson’s career ended in 2005 with an impressive record of 50-6. In 1986, he became the youngest heavyweight champion there’s ever been at 20 years and 145 days old – a record he still holds to this very day.

Tyson was known for his vicious inside fighting style as well as his controversial and divisive behaviour inside and outside of the ring.

A monumental career knockout-to-win percentage of 88% landed him 16th place on the Ring Magazine’s list of 100 greatest punchers of all time – putting him near the top percentage among any weight class in the history of the sport.

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