Years After the Fall: Mike Tyson, Buster Douglas and Boxing's Biggest Upset. You can forgive . A follow- up flurry had put Tyson to the mat for the first time in his professional career. Things weren't going so well. In the moment of truth, the time great fighters prove their mettle and make their case for immortality, Tyson had only one thing on his mind: his mouthpiece. And that's how the baddest man on the planet ended up on his hands and knees, a dazed expression replacing his normally fearsome scowl, searching for his equipment as referee Octavio Meyran counted an end to his reign on top of the sport. Tyson found his mouthpiece, inserted it halfway into his mouth and wobbled to his feet at the count of nine.
Barely able to stand, his career as an undefeated fighter was over. Douglas, a 4. 2- to- 1 underdog, had done the seemingly impossible: He had beaten the unbeatable Mike Tyson. The Baddest Man on the Planet. There is a mythology built around Tyson that endures. Even today, after it's clearly been established he was, objectively, the fourth- best heavyweight of his own generation, fans with their heads firmly in the sand continue to compare him to Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and the great Jack Dempsey, warriors nonpareil. Something about Tyson was larger than life.
Truth, in many ways, is less important to his legacy than the hazy and murky fantasy world, the one where he deposited a cast of disposable afterthoughts on their keisters. The power of his punches was primordial. Who he beat was less important than the manner in which he beat them. Lunging hooks and uppercuts speak loudly and carry a clear message: This is a man not to be trifled with.
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The result was pure Jungian archetype. Tyson attracted people who might not normally be attracted to boxing at all, like novelist Joyce Carol Oates, who introduced the young fighter to New York's intelligentsia in her book On Boxing: There is the unsettling air about Tyson, with his impassive death's- head face, his unwavering stare, and his refusal to glamorize himself in the ring - no robe, no socks, only the signature black trunks and shoes - that the violence he unleashes against his opponents is somehow just; that some hurt, some wound, some insult in his past, personal or ancestral, will be redressed in the ring; some mysterious imbalance righted. The single- mindedness of his ring style works to suggest that his grievance has the force of a natural catastrophe.
His team, led by trainer Cus. D'Amato and managers Jim Jacobs and Bill Cayton, helped create the myth with a carefully crafted public relations plan. Tyson's early and brutal knockouts were packaged into a short highlight reel, complete with his extraordinarily quotable bon mots, and offered to local news teams nationwide. Local news programs were still the dominant vehicle through which Americans received their information.
Particularly in small markets, where you didn't have professional sports franchises, that wasn't always so easy. A lot of the knockouts were visually spectacular; guys were flying through the air. So in 1. 98. 6 and into 1. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, or Spokane, Washington, had a given night without any local sports news, an easy way to entertain your audience was running the Tyson highlight reel. Millions of sports fans across the country who had never seen him in a live fight saw the reel and became convinced that this 1.
New York was a kaleidoscopic knockout machine and was going to be an indomitable force at heavyweight. By the time boxing insider Larry Merchant brought the tape to HBO executives, Tyson was a star just waiting for his opportunity to shine. I suggested to HBO we might try following this young guy and seeing if he makes it.
They were able to follow his career from an early age. And he was a compelling figure, even when he was a bad boy.
It was a popular culture moment. He intersected with inner- city music and became a symbol of that movement.
He was the kind of athlete who got on the front page of the paper as well as the back page. It was his first fight as a pay- per- view headliner and arguably his greatest moment. I was going to be a god of war like my trainer Cus told me. Tyson's tumultuous marriage to actress Robin Givens, and their inevitable divorce, seemed to send the young fighter into a tailspin he couldn't pull out of.
He had become a star, bigger than boxing. He had become too big to control. By 1. 99. 0, when he met Douglas in Tokyo, Tyson's world had collapsed.
Football News - all the latest breaking football stories. He may not have cost much, but he has created more chances for his teammates than any of his more illustrious Premier League counterparts this term.