Monday, August 15, 2022
HomeMMAWhen a nobody knocked out Mike Tyson

When a nobody knocked out Mike Tyson

James Douglas is considered the big underdog in the world championship fight against Mike Tyson. But then he causes one of the biggest sensations in boxing history.

The betting odds said it all.

With an assigned chance of winning of only 1:42, James Douglas entered the boxing ring as an absolute underdog.

Some casinos in Las Vegas even stopped taking bets. The situation seemed too clear before the fight on 11 February 1990.

Douglas as a build-up opponent for Tyson

“Buster” Douglas, the nobody from Columbus, already had four losses on his fight record. He was considered lazy in training and inconsistent – thus a grateful build-up opponent.

His opponent: “Iron Mike” Tyson. The bulldozer from Brooklyn entered the ring as heavyweight world champion of three federations at once.

Before the duel, Tyson was undefeated as a professional boxer, having finished 33 of his 37 fights early. Now the champion wanted to warm up – for mega-fights against other stars of the boxing world.

Tyson gets knocked out in round 10

But then the Tokyo Dome crowd witnessed one of the greatest sensations in boxing history.

In the tenth round, Douglas sent Tyson, who was considered invincible, crashing to the floor. The world champion scrambled across the ring floor.

He was still trying to shove his mouthguard back in and get up. But referee Octavio Meyran had already counted Tyson out. And Douglas threw his hands up in the air.

Douglas struggled after death of mother

The new world champion burst into tears and explained on the microphone that his mother had given him the strength he needed. She had succumbed to a stroke 23 days before the fight – aged just 47.

“I couldn’t even mourn her,” Douglas later told Welt am Sonntag in an interview.

Shortly before his departure, the boxer’s wife declared that she would separate from him. Marked by the blows of fate, the then 29-year-old flew to Tokyo.

Douglas gets flu just before fight

In the USA, promoters assumed there would be a lack of interest in the supposedly one-sided fight. So promoter Don King looked for a venue abroad and found it in Japan’s capital.

Tokyo then became all about the champion Tyson. “It bothered me when at the pre-fight press conference there were over 300 reporters asking Tyson holes in the stomach and when it was my turn only five remained seated” said Douglas.

Still, the challenger believed he had a chance. Three days before the fight, Douglas caught the flu. But he didn’t think about cancelling the fight.

Tyson backers give up ice

Meanwhile, arrogance was spreading in the Tyson camp. His handlers refrained from taking ice and cooling metal to ringside. That took its revenge. Douglas landed hard punches. Tyson’s left eye swelled shut.

But the champion initially defied the limited vision. Tyson knocked Douglas down at the end of the eighth round. But after nine seconds, the underdog stood again. The fight continued.

In round ten, it came to a decision. Douglas could still vividly describe the punch combination years later.

“First a right uppercut, then a right, left, right and another left, and Mike Tyson was down. When I saw him looking for his mouthguard, I knew I had hit him right. That was my night, the biggest sensation in boxing history, in sport ever, was perfect,” he told Welt am Sonntag.

Don King’s protest fails – things are going downhill with Tyson

But the fight still had an aftermath. Don King filed a protest. The man with the high-voltage haircut based his protest on the fact that the referee had started counting too late when Douglas had gone down. After some back and forth, however, the federations dismissed King’s complaint.

Tyson’s nimbus of invincibility was gone. He went downhill from then on. A year later, Tyson was convicted of raping a beauty queen. The boxer was sent to prison for four years.

After his release, he quickly regained the belts of the WBC and WBA federations, forfeiting the latter in a fight against Evander Holyfield that had been planned for years. He never again became world champion.

Don King’s protest fails – Tyson goes downhill

The fight still had an aftermath, though. Don King filed a protest. The man with the high-voltage haircut based his protest on the fact that the referee had started counting too late when Douglas had gone down. After some back and forth, however, the federations dismissed King’s complaint.

Tyson’s nimbus of invincibility was gone. He went downhill from then on. A year later, Tyson was convicted of raping a beauty queen. The boxer was sent to prison for four years.

After his release, he quickly regained the belts of the WBC and WBA federations, forfeiting the latter in a fight against Evander Holyfield that had been planned for years. He never again became world champion.

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments