Mike Tyson was as dangerous as any heavyweight – but he must stay retired


So Iron Mike is coming back? I’m sorry to tell you but the machine that changed the face of boxing 30-odd years ago no longer exists.

Looking ripped on the pads at 53 is impressive but it is not prize fighting. I would even caution against exhibition bouts. Remember Tyson’s career ended on a stool 15 years ago after six rounds coming second to Kevin McBride.

I prefer to remember the fighter I first heard about from my dad in 1983, two years before his debut. Dad returned from another singing gig in New York as excited as he had been when he saw Roberto Duran working out at Gleeson’s Gym a decade before.

Dad had spent a morning watching Tyson blow though sparring partners like a dose of salts at Cus D’Amato’s gym up in the Catskills.

Put your mortgage on him, son. This kid is going to be heavyweight champion of the world, he said.

Mike Tyson had ferocious power

At 5ft 10.5ins and around 220 pounds Tyson was not big for a modern heavyweight, and he did not have the one-punch power of a Liston or a Foreman, but he was lethal.

He had the speed of a middleweight and his feet were incredible. He would slip the jab, throw a left uppercut and then land a right over the top.

He would then spin to his left, slip under a shot and come at you again from that low centre of gravity with pulverising hooks and that straight right hand.

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In his pomp I don’t know we have seen a more dangerous heavyweight. His upper body and head movement were so quick, making him hard to hit. Where Liston and Foreman would hit you with two punches, Tyson would hit you with six.

He blew away Trevor Berbick to win the world title for the first time in 1987 and visited the same terrible fury on the likes of Pinklon Thomas, Tyrell Biggs and Tony Tubbs in early defences.

But he retired on his stool in his final fight

But his life was already spinning out of control. Trainer D’Amato and manager Jimmy Jacobs had died and he would split with the third member of his early management team, Bill Cayton, in 1988.

Without the disciplines they had imposed things unravelled quickly. Though he levelled Frank Bruno in five in 1989, a year later in Tokyo his three-year reign collapsed against Buster Douglas. He was the baddest man on the planet no more.

Nevertheless, name any of the heavyweight greats; Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Liston, Ali, not many would have relished facing Tyson at his devastating peak.

We can’t say who would prevail, but Michael Gerard Tyson would be front and centre of the discussion.

Follow Barry on Twitter at @ClonesCyclone, @McGuigans_Gym and @CyclonePromo





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