MIKE TYSON PART II: 1989 TO BUSTER DOUGLAS MELTDOWN IN TOKYO

February 7th, 2012 By Pedro Fernandez

Mike Tyson In His Prime

PART ONE ENDED WITH TYSON’S KO OF CARL WILLIAMS

San Francisco, CA- Having just dispatched Carl “The Truth” Williams and pushing his professional record to 37-0 with 33 KOs, Mile Tyson truly was recognized as the “Baddest Man on The Planet.” But being only 5’10, I always had my doubts regarding Tyson being able to remain champion. This had a lot to do with a face to face encounter he had with Michael Nunn in 1984 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.

CAPPING SESSION TYSON DID NOT WIN!

What I’m about to tell you always had me questioning the intestinal fortitude of “Iron Mike.” While everybody was kicking back after a day of training, a large number of the eventual 1984 United States Olympic boxing team were sitting in the huge jacuzzi. As guys like to do, especially Black youth, there was a good old fashion “capping session” going on. This usually entails talking bad about one another, their sisters, girlfriends, and occasionally your mother.

THAT NIGHT MICHAEL NUNN WAS SECOND TO NONE!

Future World middleweight (160 lbs) champion Michael “Second To” Nunn, then fighting at 165 lbs. in the amateur ranks was a skinny kid from the mean streets of Davenport, Iowa. Now a convicted Cocaine distributor, Nunn, when I last heard was spending 20+ years in the Iowa prison system for being part of a major coke distribution group. With everybody hurling slurs and “capping” on one another, Tyson, who was not the most eloquent of the bunch said something about Nunn’s mother. I believe he stole a line from comedian Richard Pryor when he blurted out to Nunn, “I knew your mama when she was hoeing.” This was the equivalent to calling Nunn’s mother a prostitute.

BEANSTALK LIKE NUNN DIDN’T TAKE KINDLY TO THAT

At 6’2 and extremely skinny, Mike Nunn felt that Tyson had stepped across the line. Nunn rose and walked across the pool and told Tyson to get up as he was ready to take the 200 lb. Tyson to task for calling his mother a whore. Nunn called Mike a faggat and told him to get up as Nunn wanted to fight. Tyson squirmed a bit and eventually got himself a pass by telling Nunn something to the effect that he was just kidding. In other words, Tyson backed down after Nunn called him out.

TYSON LOSES TWICE TO HENRY TILLMAN

Neither Nunn or Tyson would make the 1984 Olympic team. Although he dropped eventual Gold Medal winner Henry Tillman, the Los Angeles, CA based fighter would out point Tyson twice in order to secure the 200 lb. slot on the 1984 team. Cus D’Amato, a man that shared a “studio” New York apartment with Tyson’s eventual co-manager and former World handball champion Jim Jacobs, which was weird (Gay?) to me, was Tyson’s trainer after taking on the juvenile delinquent and bringing him to his training camp in Catskills, NY, taking Mike from the Bensenhurst district of the Big Apple where Tyson robbed people for both kicks and the financial reward.

WHIRLWIND START TO PROFESSIONAL BOXING CAREER

Drilling Hector Mercedes in March 1985 via KO, Mike would go on a tear that garnered media attention that is still unequaled, and that includes Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao combined, went to 19-0 with 19 KOs before going the distance with a UD 10 over James “Quick” Tillis in May 1986. Another decision win in his next fight with Mitch Green, Tyson went back to knocking guys out with six more KOs before the WBC title fight with Trevor Berbick, which lasted less than two fistic frames.

FAST FORWARD TO 1989

I’ve laid out in Part 1 the first championship run of Mike Tyson. After the KO of Carl Williams in July 1989, Tyson was so done you could stick a fork in him. In hindsight, Mike had peaked and was on the down slide. Suffering from the “Don King” syndrome, meaning he got fat and lazy, Tyson ate his way to nearly 260 lbs. through the 1989 Christmas season and didn’t start training for his February title defense with James “Buster” Douglas until after New Years 1990.

DOUGLAS HAD DOGGED IT & KING EXPECTED A CANINE

Tyson having fought previously in Tokyo, Japan, a KO of Tony Tubbs in 1988, knew of the nightlife and broads that were available to the then sex-crazed Tyson. Mike was banging Japanese chicks with more regularity than he was banging the heavy bag. This resulted in Tyson being knocked down in training by both journeyman Mike Jamison and the late ex-champion Greg Page. To those of us in the fight game, including Tyson’s underrated trainer Aaron Snowell, we knew Tyson wasn’t in shape and might have even been doing Blow (cocaine) in Japan.

DOUGLAS HAD DOGGED IT WHEN UNDER PRESSURE

James “Buster” Douglas was a 37-1 underdog in the minds of bookmakers. After damn near beating Tony Tucker in an IBF title fight at an outdoor arena at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1987, I had Buster up by a point when he quit in round ten of a 15-round fight. That fight convinced promoter Don King that Douglas would be an “easy mark” for Tyson, even though “Iron Mike” was anything but “Iron” before he stepped in the ring against Douglas.

BUSTER DEDICATED HIMSELF THIS ONE TIME!

With his mother dying in Ohio, Douglas got himself together physically like never before. Just a few weeks prior to the fight, Buster’s mother died and he sunk into a deep state of depression. Both his agent Peyton Sher and manager John Johnson had considered pulling Douglas out of the Tyson fight. But after some soul searching, Douglas who was in great physical shape, at least for Douglas, decided to go forward and dedicate the fight to his mom.

BUSTER GOT A COLD TWO WEEKS PRIOR

Another intangible came into play, Buster got sick just prior to the fight. But Johnson and Sher, working as a team convinced Buster that he could still pull it off. With a little rest, some cold medication, Buster dropped a few more pounds and would weigh in at 231 lbs. and some change. When Tyson stepped in the ring to face Douglas, he was unfocused to the point that if he were a photograph, it would have been totally blurred.

THE FIGHT WAS NOT A FIGHT FOR TYSON

With Buster winning the first seven+ rounds, the Japanese crowd, unknowingly watching the biggest upset in boxing, if not sports history, they sat on their hands in near silence. The lack of any crowd noise made it seem like the fight was being held in an empty TV studio and not a nearly packed Tokyo Dome. With Douglas easily handling Tyson landed an uppercut in round eight that nearly lifted Douglas off the canvas.

THIS TIME BUSTER HAD NO “DOG” IN HIM

Hitting the deck hard, Buster slammed his right fist into the canvas, as if he was saying, “Ah *hit.” At that point and time manager Johnson thought the fight was over and that Buster would not get up, not because he couldn’t. Johnson just thought that the Buster that quit against Tony Tucker had reemerged and he would stay down. Amazingly, Buster did rise and beat the count of referee Octavio Meyran. Tyson, thinking Buster the canine had returned, moved in for the kill, but it was not to be.

DOUGLAS WENT RIGHT BACK TO KICKIN’ MIKE’S ASS

When he rose, Buster collected himself and went back to “owning” Tyson with the jab. After clearing his head between rounds, Buster, refocused and knowing that Tyson thought there was blood in the water, Buster went back to throwing and landing one-twos. At the end of round nine, Mike had shot what little wad he had left and was primed for the taking.

ONE EYED TYSON TRIED TO NO AVAIL

Mike Tyson, with his left eye nearly swollen shut, fought back gamely, but Buster was putting a severe beating on him. Try as he did, Tyson was no match for the physically bigger Douglas who got his second wind as Mike gassed! Landing an uppercut that put Tyson on his heels, a three punch Douglas combination put Mike down for the first time in a fight. Floundering on the floor, all the while trying to reinsert his mouthpiece, Tyson was counted out and Buster Douglas was the new heavyweight champion of the world.

PART III: THE CONTROVERSY AFTERWARDS AND THE “FAKE” RAPE

In my next installment, which means this looks like a four-parter, I’ll take you through the post fight chaos where Jose Sulaiman and Don King tried to take the title away from Dougas. We’ll go from Tokyo to Indianapolis, IN and the sexual encounter with beauty contestant Desiree Washington, which resulted in Tyson being convicted of rape and oral sodomy.

VIDEO OF DOUGLAS KO OF TYSON WITH TYSON COMMENTARY YEARS LATER!

Click to watch Tyson Get KO’d by Buster Douglas

Pedro Fernandez

COMMENTS

  1. That was a shock indeed 37 to 1.probably the biggest dog odds ever

    kit on February 7th, 2012 at 3:01 PM
  2. This is a trivial point but the picture isn’t Mike in his prime… THAT Picture was taken shortly after he bit Evander Holyfield’s ear off! Moments before the riot in Las Vegas!

    This doesn’t take anything from this well written article but That Picture with That Caption is irony bordering on sarcasm.

    … Never heard the Michael Nunn story. Seems Mike didn’t have a very good time there because this was also when the Holyfield pool game conflict took place.

    Jack Dunne on February 7th, 2012 at 6:54 PM
  3. I wasn’t as surprised as some by this outcome. Douglas fought well against Tucker, and had a good jab. Once his Mother passed away, I thought uh-oh, something odd may happen here.

    Tom

    Uppercut on February 7th, 2012 at 8:26 PM
  4. He apologized after crossing the line. Big deal. That wasn’t an indication of anything. Tyson took a lot of punishment in his defeats except at the end of his career when he lost his fighting spirit. He was out skilled in his losses.

    pirate on February 8th, 2012 at 10:33 AM
  5. I have a hard time when I see people question mikes heart. To be heavyweight champ takes heart to get in the ring and compete takes heart and yes he was blessed with certain attributes he was also very undersized as a heavy. Had the shortest reach of any champ in history and fought and beat so
    E huge talented big men when back then they had skills. The lack of confidence he showed may have been fro
    Nhim

    Roberto Rios on February 8th, 2012 at 1:10 PM
  6. The odds were 42-1 I think. Pedro, I’ve always wondered bout the arrangement between D’Amato and Jacobs. Credit to you for throwing the idea out there.

    Mike on February 8th, 2012 at 2:30 PM
  7. Great story and writing. Can’t wait for the e-true ringtalk story. You should have written a screen play already pedro with all the little stories you have. Could be god-father esq if you put it together with the right director and producer. Those stories from puzzo had to come from the inside just like you could do with boxing. Just an idea.

    donjuandinero on February 8th, 2012 at 9:17 PM
  8. Great Stuff Mr. Fernandez. As I read this I am reliving this whole fight in my head. I remember seeing this fight in a crappy bar in the South Bronx, NY. They had 2 TV’s, one on each side of the bar. Believe it or not, I was the only one watching the Boxing match on one TV (no one really cared, as they figured this was another easy KO for Tyson) as everyone else at the place was watching the NBA All Star game, which was also on that night. Well I tell you, by the 4th, 5th, 6th Rounds, my little corner was starting to get awfully crowded and as the fight progressed, the Basketball game was a thing of the past.Agree with DonJuandinero by the way, great screenplays come from half truth’s. You should go for it. Peace.

    Pete the Sneak on February 9th, 2012 at 6:57 AM
  9. I agree with Donjuandinero…Pedro, u should do ascreen play that’s mobsterlike!…Puzo’s one of my favorites..definitely writes like he has inside info…just like Pedro…or maybe a collection of short stories like FX Toole did, one ofthem eventually becoming a huge blockbuster like Million Dollar Baby…

    1200 Techs on February 9th, 2012 at 11:33 AM
  10. Pedro,yes Tyson didn’t take Douglas seriously and probably deserved to lose, but the count when Douglas got knocked down was the longest count that I had seen in a long time. As a fighter of course you shouldn’t rely on the ref. to bail you out and Tyson should’ve taken care of business by preparing himself properly, but that count, to me, was pure bullshit.

    Cheesey1 on February 9th, 2012 at 11:39 AM
  11. It was Brownsville not Bensonhurst. Both in Brooklyn two very different neighborhoods

    RK on February 9th, 2012 at 5:27 PM
  12. Thanks, RK will correct.

    Pedro Fernandez on February 9th, 2012 at 10:56 PM
  13. No, the count wasn’t long in my mind. We can agree to disagree.

    Pedro Fernandez on February 9th, 2012 at 11:06 PM
  14. Okay, that’s cool.

    Cheesey1 on February 10th, 2012 at 4:47 PM
  15. Cheesey

    The long count myth is B.S. That wasn’t the longest count you have ever seen. You saw one the exact same speed later in the fight when Octavio Meyran was counting Tyson away and that isn’t me shooting my yap off; this has been shown live speed with a stopwatch by Larry Merchant who went on to demonstrate that the same speed count is commonplace. Scores of other championship contests including the Gene Tuney Jack Dempsey fight where it was believed that Dempsey lost track of the count had a count that took place at the exact same speed.

    The only reason there even was a controversy is due to the fact that the time keeper had a faster count and Don King (who is there freaking out and losing his mind) was so desperate to prevent the outcome of this fight, he would say or do or reach for ANYTHING! Including make this bogus charge.

    Furthermore the time keeper was already at ONE before Douglas even hit the canvas. It is there, the guy has his index finger in the air while Douglas is still falling… Larry Merchant spotted it, showed it on a frozen image and he’s the one who blew the myth to shreds. Secondly, the fighter doesn’t follow the time keeper’s count, he follows the refs count and AGAIN, Tyson got the exact same count Douglas did.

    Larry Merchant did a brilliant follow up piece on this and everything is documented with cold, hard facts. It may even be up on youtube if you are interested. I have the thing on tape.

    Jack Dunne on February 11th, 2012 at 12:40 PM
  16. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHcbFUTIslI

    This isn’t part of the Merchant piece but there ain’t no denying they both got the exact same count.

    Jack Dunne on February 11th, 2012 at 12:49 PM
  17. PEDRO THE TREVOR BERBICK FIGHT WENT INTO THE 3RD ROUND THERE HOMIE, ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF YOUR EDITING GENIUSE THERE LAMBCHOPS

    Bonez on February 13th, 2012 at 7:19 PM
  18. Bones, I’m done with your ****** ass. It went two here’s the Box Rec.com link. You are now going directly to the Spam folder. See ya’, chump!

    Pedro Fernandez on February 14th, 2012 at 12:57 AM
  19. Bonez,

    This is the link Pedro forgot to attach… There is some controversial, technical point of contention regarding your claim vrs what Pedro posted in his article. But I think this should help clear things up.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTA6vjPyeoQ&feature=related

    Jack Dunne on February 14th, 2012 at 7:33 PM
  20. I was there. I don’t know what controversy you’re talking about. BoxRec says TKO 2 and that’s the way I remember it!

    Pedro Fernandez on February 15th, 2012 at 12:06 AM
  21. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kblp3kYuKRU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Bonez: All that screamin when ur wrong, makes u sound like a bonehead!

    1200 Techs on February 15th, 2012 at 3:28 PM
  22. Pedro,

    I wasn’t there but I saw it happen and have it on tape. Everyone in the world who knows what happened knows that what you said was correct. Anyone who doesn’t know or didn’t see it can look it up in two seconds and find out that you are correct.

    But any dolt who defiantly calls out a professional of over a quarter century and says they are wrong (without even looking it up before hitting the submit icon)… And then calls you “Lambchop” on top of everything else… They get the “Moe, Larry and Curly” treatment.

    Jack Dunne on February 15th, 2012 at 7:52 PM
  23. That Bonez clown is done here!

    Pedro Fernandez on February 16th, 2012 at 12:33 AM

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