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Old 04-08-2019, 02:55 PM
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Who would beat prime Tyson?


Prime Mike Tyson was about as close as you could get to an unbeatable fighter. He had lightning fast hands, great head movement, relentless pressure, and could knock you out with either hand.

Is there any fighter in history who you would favor over a prime Tyson? I'd say Vitali Klitschko. He was tall, rangy, awkward, had a granite chin, and had a high workrate for his size.
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Old 04-08-2019, 03:58 PM
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Wasn't a lot of this covered in your previous thread? https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=854162
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Old 04-08-2019, 04:21 PM
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Iron Mike usually gets ranked top 10-20 in lists of all time heavyweight greats that I've seen on boxing forums, prob cracks the top 100 all time boxers.
There's a bit of snobbery with it IMHO, as Tyson is the archetypal Best Fighter Evah! for the casuls so there's some pushback against that from the cognoscenti.

Bottom line, though, is that Mike's skills were indeed special, he was a fearsome fighter, but he beat next to no one of any standing in the game (in anything like their prime). There is NO WAY you can be considered in the top ten all time of heavyweight boxing, with its history as a marquee sport going back over 100 years, with a resume like that. Just not possible.

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Old 04-08-2019, 04:24 PM
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Tyson had one glaring weakness, if you ask me - he needed to feed off the crowd energy. The Buster Douglas fight was in Japan, and the crowd was dead.
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:16 PM
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Little Mac did countless times.
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Old 04-08-2019, 08:00 PM
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Tyson wasn't that great. His record is based on weak competition. There's no question he had incredible punching power, but he lacked stamina and focus. Many of the champions before and after him could have beaten him at his best when they were at their best.
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Old 04-08-2019, 08:29 PM
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Prime Ali could beat Prime Tyson. Ali could take a punch, as shown by Frazier and Ken Norton (Norton broke Ali's jaw, but didn't even knock him down, and Ali won the rematch) and he could be brutal (the Rumble in the Jungle, and Ali's next match, where he reshaped Chuck Wepner's face after Wepner knocked him down.)

And Tyson wasn't invincible. Buster Douglas proved that.

True, Ali might have half-assed his way through a few fights. Tyson could surprise him in their first match. But Ali would win the rematch, the rematch after that, and all other rematches.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:09 AM
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Prime Ali could beat Prime Tyson. Ali could take a punch, as shown by Frazier and Ken Norton (Norton broke Ali's jaw, but didn't even knock him down, and Ali won the rematch) and he could be brutal (the Rumble in the Jungle, and Ali's next match, where he reshaped Chuck Wepner's face after Wepner knocked him down.)

And Tyson wasn't invincible. Buster Douglas proved that.

True, Ali might have half-assed his way through a few fights. Tyson could surprise him in their first match. But Ali would win the rematch, the rematch after that, and all other rematches.
Agreed with you. Ali definitely win.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:40 AM
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I'd take Tyson over Ali and Lewis over Tyson.
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Old 04-09-2019, 12:38 PM
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Ali over Tyson, but by decision. Ali had too hard a jaw for his own good, but he could have stood up under what Tyson would be able to land until Tyson ran out of ideas, then jab and grab his way to a decision. Ali couldn't hit hard enough to drop a determined Tyson.

George Foreman over Tyson as well. Foreman had a good defense and a killer uppercut. It would have been bombs away for a round or two, and the first man to land solidly would win. But Foreman would push Tyson backward and force him to fight off the back foot, and Douglas and Holyfield showed that was the way to beat Tyson.

Also Dempsey over Tyson. It would have been like the Firpo fight, but Dempsey won that fight in two rounds and scored nine knockdowns along the way. Tyson could never stand up under Jack's left hooks.

Joe Louis over Tyson, because Louis. Move Joe in time from the night he beat Schmeling, and Tyson is going down hard.

Also Jim Jeffries over Tyson, providing the bout was for twenty rounds like they used to do. Jeff had a head like a bowling ball, and he never got tired, and he was much faster than people give him credit for. Plus he was big enough to push Tyson around and beat him to the body. And his jab was harder than Ali's right.

Tyson had the chance to be a great fighter, but he never got the chance. He stopped thinking he had to earn his knockouts by jabbing and setting things up, and just threw bombs and hoped for the best. Against ordinary fighters, it worked. Against a great fighter like Holyfield, or a fighter having a great night like Douglas, it didn't.

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Old 04-09-2019, 04:19 PM
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I'd make the following odds on favorites:
Jack Johnson
Max Schmeling (the Schmeling that beat Louis)
Joe Louis
Muhammed Ali (the Ali that beat Foreman)
George Foreman (the Foreman that beat Ron Lyle)
Larry Holmes
Evander Holyfield (the Holyfield that beat Tyson twice, at his prime as a real heavyweight)

With the exception of Foreman, these were all exquisite boxers who would have no problem staying away from Tyson until the 4th round when he would run out of steam and then they would pick him apart. Foreman was basically a bigger version of Tyson, and a better fighter when he was in shape.


Even odds:
Jersey Joe Walcott
Ezzard Charles
Rocky Marciano
Sonny Liston
Joe Frazier
Riddick Bowe
Wladimir Kitchschko
and others

These guys were heavy hitters and tough guys who could have stood toe to toe with Tyson.
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Old 04-09-2019, 04:54 PM
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I'd make the following odds on favorites:
Jack Johnson
Max Schmeling (the Schmeling that beat Louis)
Joe Louis
Muhammed Ali (the Ali that beat Foreman)
George Foreman (the Foreman that beat Ron Lyle)
Larry Holmes
Evander Holyfield (the Holyfield that beat Tyson twice, at his prime as a real heavyweight)

With the exception of Foreman, these were all exquisite boxers who would have no problem staying away from Tyson until the 4th round when he would run out of steam and then they would pick him apart. Foreman was basically a bigger version of Tyson, and a better fighter when he was in shape.


Even odds:
Jersey Joe Walcott
Ezzard Charles
Rocky Marciano
Sonny Liston
Joe Frazier
Riddick Bowe
Wladimir Kitchschko
and others

These guys were heavy hitters and tough guys who could have stood toe to toe with Tyson.
I'd fancy Tyson over Holyfield I think, prime for prime. Holy was a hard man (and a filthy fighter) who would never be intimidated, but that prime Tyson was skilled, disciplined and would overwhelm him IMHO - Holyfield wasn't that big and my recollection is he got hit quite a bit on the inside and wasn't shy about trading. I guess deep down the heart was never there with Tyson, but mid 80s Mike wouldn't mentally fall to bits at a guy standing up to him (like he did when they eventually fought later on).

Prime Lewis takes Tyson pretty easy. I think Lewis is a little bit overrated (prob not a popular opinion, but he had the habit of fighting down to his opponent's level), but he was too big, too skilled, and too chilled to be phased by Tyson. Although had they actually met IRL late 80s, which could have happened, Tyson would have waxed him given the different timescales of their respective primes.
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Old 04-09-2019, 05:10 PM
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I'd fancy Tyson over Holyfield I think, prime for prime. Holy was a hard man (and a filthy fighter) who would never be intimidated, but that prime Tyson was skilled, disciplined and would overwhelm him IMHO - Holyfield wasn't that big and my recollection is he got hit quite a bit on the inside and wasn't shy about trading. I guess deep down the heart was never there with Tyson, but mid 80s Mike wouldn't mentally fall to bits at a guy standing up to him (like he did when they eventually fought later on).
When Holyfield finally fought Tyson he had finally become a heavyweight. You could see the difference in his joints, his elbows, knees, and shoulders. He wasn't just a cruiserweight with puffed muscles anymore. Even when he first started as a heavyweight he was capable of giving Tyson a boxing lesson, but as you say he didn't like to simply outbox his opponents, he wanted to knock them out. So early on Tyson might have tagged him. But the heavier more experienced Holyfield would never have a problem with him. That's how I see it anyway.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:18 PM
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I think one of the toughest tests Tyson ever faced in victory was the decision over Tony Tucker for the IBF crown. Tucker was a good, disciplined fighter than went the distance with Iron Mike without being knocked out.
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Old 04-15-2019, 06:35 PM
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I thought Tyson was terrific. Like a Pit Bull trained to walk on all four. Too bad he was complicit with Don King to turn professional boxing into All Star Wrestling credibility!

I would suggest George Foreman in his prime. Except for the Rumble in the Jungle outcome.
Check out the guy @ 31:46 with the gun in the ring. Security probably. But not the best way to carry!

I was 1 day shy of my 14th birthday and my Dad and I went to a movie theater to see a closed circuit broadcast of that fight. (That's how it was done. Nobody around here had cable TV). We were certain Foreman would smash the living shit out of Ali, especially seeing what he did to Frazier and Norton who both beat Ali.

Personally, seeing it was the very end of the round, I don't think the ref should have stopped the fight. Foreman did get up at 8 after all.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:41 PM
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Prime Ali could beat Prime Tyson. Ali could take a punch, as shown by Frazier and Ken Norton (Norton broke Ali's jaw, but didn't even knock him down, and Ali won the rematch) and he could be brutal (the Rumble in the Jungle, and Ali's next match, where he reshaped Chuck Wepner's face after Wepner knocked him down.)

And Tyson wasn't invincible. Buster Douglas proved that.

True, Ali might have half-assed his way through a few fights. Tyson could surprise him in their first match. But Ali would win the rematch, the rematch after that, and all other rematches.

Great points but at his prime Tyson was SO intimidating he would have buzz sawed through Ali. There was frankly no one as aggressive as Iron Mike in Ali’s era. Maybe Frazier was tougher, but Mike, for a few short years, was an intimidating buzz saw.


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Old 04-16-2019, 11:42 PM
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One more thing: in his prime, Larry Holmes would’ve schooled Tyson.


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Old 04-16-2019, 11:47 PM
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Tyson destroyed Holmes. Yes it was an older Holmes, but he wilted under the assault.
No way he stands up to it in his prime.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:48 PM
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Tyson had one glaring weakness, if you ask me - he needed to feed off the crowd energy. The Buster Douglas fight was in Japan, and the crowd was dead.

Very good theory. If you watch Combat sports based in Japan, the fans rarely react until very dramatic moments.


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Old 04-16-2019, 11:56 PM
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One more thing: in his prime, Larry Holmes would’ve schooled Tyson.
I was a fan of Holmes and thought he was a good role model as far as being a boxer could be.

But I strongly disagree with you here. Both in their prime I still would bet on Tyson. The only super hard puncher Holmes ever beat was Shavers and I think Tyson punched even harder and was faster and more determined.

Young George Foreman and maybe Joe Louis are the only 2 I'd bet against Tyson.

Almost 45 years later and it still floors me that Ali beat Foreman by outsmarting him. I'm not alone on this. Foreman was a heavy favorite to win. Watch the videos of him. He made other fighters his bitch!

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Old 04-17-2019, 04:02 AM
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Personally, seeing it was the very end of the round, I don't think the ref should have stopped the fight. Foreman did get up at 8 after all.
I used to think the same thing. It was discussed in this thread.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:12 AM
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Tyson is consistently overrated, IMO. He was definitely a great fighter, no doubt about it, but a lot of his victories were against good fighters but not necessarily fighters that will be remembered as the sports greats. He beat Larry Holmes in the late 1980s, which was well past Holmes' prime and after he had taken a nearly 2-year hiatus from the ring. He crushed Michael Spinks, but Spinks just didn't look like he wanted to be there to begin with, and I think that's what was Tyson's greatest attribute: his ability to win the psychological battle against his weaker opponents. He knew how to gain the psychological edge.

But Tyson struggled mightily once he got in the ring with taller, rangier fighters who could box: Douglas, Lewis, and Holyfield. He struggled with fighters with really good footwork and a solid left jab. We saw this with Buster Douglas, and later with Evander Holyfield. And it doesn't matter that Holyfield beat Tyson during Tyson's decline beause Evander Holyfield would have beaten Mike Tyson in 1991. The only reason he didn't challenge Tyson earlier is that Holyfield wasn't a natural heavyweight. He needed strength and conditioning to bulk up and take on bigger fighters, but had the game plan been to push Holyfield to fight Tyson in 1989 or 1990 instead of 1991, I don't doubt Holyfield would have won.

Ali would have beaten Tyson. Listen would have beaten Tyson. And George Foreman in his prime would have absolutely destroyed Tyson. Even George Foreman at 42 might have very well defeated Mike Tyson at 22. Foreman's sheer size and the way that he used his defense, the way he could take a punch, the way he could push fighters back, and the way he could just crush fighters with a single punch would have been a significant challenge for Iron Mike. Tyson was a brawler who beat up other brawlers, but Tyson couldn't beat great boxers who could take a punch.

Last edited by asahi; 04-19-2019 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:22 AM
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Meant Liston, not Listen. lol
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:28 AM
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Lewis beat Tyson to a pulp. As great a demolition job over multiple rounds as I have ever seen.
It a closer figbt in their prime, but Lewis still wins.

Holyfield has zero chance against Tyson in the prime. Holyfield is a jumped up light heavyweight.
Tyson does unto him what he did to Spinks.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:43 AM
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Holyfield has zero chance against Tyson in the prime. Holyfield is a jumped up light heavyweight. Tyson does unto him what he did to Spinks.
This is just wrong.

Holyfield would have beaten Tyson in 1991 the same way he beat him in 1996. Offensively, he would have defeated Tyson with his superior boxing skills, particularly with his footwork, his angles, his jabs, his combinations. Defensively, he would have been as elusive a fighter and as devastating a counter-puncher as Tyson had ever seen up to that point. Holyfield also proved against Foreman that he could take a punch. Holyfield's ability to withstand Tyson's power would have been demoralizing, and Tyson would have become frustrated in later rounds at eating leather and not being able to respond in kind...which is exactly what happened the two times they eventually hooked up.

I get that people are enamored with Tyson's power and they love the highlight knockouts, but Tyson wasn't the same fighter against great boxers. And great boxers are usually going to beat brawlers - not always but more often than not.

Last edited by asahi; 04-19-2019 at 07:45 AM.
  #26  
Old 04-19-2019, 11:34 AM
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Great thread, CastletonSnob.





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Listen would have beaten Tyson.

Yes, but not if he received that brown envelope. That's what it took for Ali (Clay) to beat him.
  #27  
Old 04-21-2019, 11:11 AM
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Who would beat prime Tyson?


Ken Clean-Air System.

Easy.
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Old 04-22-2019, 02:37 PM
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I recently binged-watched a bunch of Rocky Marciano footage. He is just unreal how slippery and effective he is with stepping inside from out-of-range to crushing distance. He's like Tyson, except with mystical 3-foot longer telescoping arms . Tyson would be chewing on Marciano's gloves while windmilling at empty air.

Pre-comeback George Foreman is also an unreal unstoppable monster. The ring was shaking with those punches. "Felt that one in the crow's nest!"
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Old 04-22-2019, 04:20 PM
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Just wanted to stop in and say I knew a dog, a miniature pinscher, named Tyson, for the boxer. His owner explained that when he was a puppy he liked to chew on the ears of his littermates.
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Old 04-23-2019, 04:11 AM
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I recently binged-watched a bunch of Rocky Marciano footage. He is just unreal how slippery and effective he is with stepping inside from out-of-range to crushing distance. He's like Tyson, except with mystical 3-foot longer telescoping arms . Tyson would be chewing on Marciano's gloves while windmilling at empty air.

Pre-comeback George Foreman is also an unreal unstoppable monster. The ring was shaking with those punches. "Felt that one in the crow's nest!"
Prime George, at the rumble, was 220 lbs at 6' 3''. Always surprises me that stat - not really all that big by modern standards, yet he was one of the most powerful men to ever lace the gloves up - a manslayer.

Like the Holmes v Tyson matchup, prime for prime - that's a good one to envisage - could see wins either way if they fought a few times. Any all-time HW who can take Tyson past six or seven wins, let's face it, and no doubt Holmes had the skill, chin and ringcraft to fight a defensive front six [he fought till he was 50 and is one of the most lucid and together old heavyweights you'll see, so obviously he knew how to look after himself]. His prime was before my time but from what I've seen you'd not call him elusive or guileful, though - he shipped some huge shots in a few of his fights. Think Tyson would finish him at least a percentage of the time.

Holmes' jab is legendary, but ISTM known more for its brutality than its poetry - he could knock fighters out with it. A very fast lateral-moving HW like Tyson would have some success slipping it and getting inside.

Nice compilation of Holmes punishing fighters with the jab here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny2YS_D7pgg
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Old 04-23-2019, 01:02 PM
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Tyson failed every gut check he ever faced. He didn't like getting hit back, and he really didn't like getting hit hard. I think Ali takes him, Foreman in his prime kills Tyson, also Evander Holyfield (a couple years before the ear biting thing), and Larry Holmes.

Last edited by Oakminster; 04-23-2019 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 07:41 AM
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Tyson failed every gut check he ever faced. He didn't like getting hit back, and he really didn't like getting hit hard. I think Ali takes him, Foreman in his prime kills Tyson, also Evander Holyfield (a couple years before the ear biting thing), and Larry Holmes.
Larry Holmes is the only one I disagree with. I think Tyson could have defeated Holmes, and my guess is probably would have in, say, 2 out of 3 fights, and maybe all 3 - at least in Tyson's tip-top prime, that is. At his very best, when he worked with Kevin Rooney, Tyson had excellent head movement, and he used his head movement to get inside on taller, less mobile boxers.

Holmes' style was a better match for Tyson because Holmes' tendency, even in his prime, was to jab and load up with the straight right. Most of the heavies, particularly after Ali, were just stand-up, load-up fighters and it was basically a contest of whoever could time better and punch harder. The contrast in styles that existed among the elite fighters of the 1970s disappeared for a while - until Tyson's arrival in 1985. Tyson was the 1980s answer to Smokin Joe Frazier, but was naturally stronger and faster than Smokin Joe. Tyson cleaned out the division because he was unlike any fighter any of the established heavies had fought against, in terms of style and raw athletic ability. And of course, Tyson was just ferocious as fuck.

Tyson at his very, very best would have also stood a chance against Lennox Lewis for this same reason: Lewis was a great boxer, but his style might have been something a younger, more disciplined Tyson could have dealt with better than the later, less aggressive version that got destroyed by Lewis in 2002. It was clear after probably the 2nd round that Lewis was going to murder Tyson that night, and frankly, Tyson is lucky he didn't get killed in the ring. That should have been his very last fight.

But Holyfield in particular would have given prime-time Tyson all he could handle and then some. What happened in 1996 and 1997 wasn't a fluke; Holyfield systematically took Tyson apart, and if you hypothetically put, say, 1990-91 Holyfield against 1986-87 Tyson, I think Holyfield would have won in pretty much the same way. Tyson would have been the early aggressor but he would have quickly felt the taste of leather from Holyfield's counter-punch combinations. Holyfield mastered pretty much every pitch, so to speak. He could knock opponents out with a straight right to the jaw, a left hook to the jaw or to the body (yes, he could knock out opponents with body blows). His left jab could snap heads back, and his upper cuts could take an opponent's almost literally off. How George Foreman survived his mauling I'll never know. Moreover, Holyfield's footwork and angles would have given an aggressor like Tyson fits.
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Old 05-03-2019, 08:00 AM
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The rule you can never forget - Styles make fights.

Peak Ali and peak Holmes I'd back over a peak Tyson.

Ali did struggle with smaller guys who moved well and peak Tyson moved well and hit harder than Frazier and threw more often with more serious intent. But think of Tyson's fight with James Smith. That is an idea of how things would go with Ali. He would frustrate Tyson and hold and tie him up a lot. But he had better footwork and faster hands than Smith and would have offered a lot more offensively.

Same thing with a peak Holmes. A peak, on his game, Holmes is a fighter I find hard to see losing to anyone. His fight with Tyson was the start of his comeback, Holmes was a stronger fighter later on in his comeback against guys like Ray Mercer.

Good call on Vitali.

I like a peak Foreman against Tyson. His size and power and general arrogance in the ring would have been something Mike didn't like to have to deal with. I could see Foreman overcoming Mike in a bit of a slugfest. Ali was all wrong for Foreman, but not Mike.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:40 PM
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Also Dempsey over Tyson.
Ridiculous. Tyson outweighed Dempsey by 40 pounds of solid muscle, and was faster. FFS, Tunney beat Dempsey.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:48 PM
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"You think Tyson could beat me? He keeps talking his jive; he will go down in five!"
--Muhammad Ali, in my personal headcanon
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:25 AM
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Also Dempsey over Tyson.
Ridiculous.
I'm not so sure.

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Tyson outweighed Dempsey by 40 pounds of solid muscle, ...
Willard outweighed Dempsey by 50 pounds, most of it muscle, and was five inches taller.

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...and was faster.
Tyson was certainly fast, but no heavyweight's ever been faster than Dempsey.

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Tunney beat Dempsey.
Dempsey was past his peak when he fought Tunney.
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Old 05-18-2019, 08:17 AM
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I haven't given this a whole lotta thought but I will submit this: that as bad-ass as Mike Tyson was (or that I thought he was "back in the day") I think a lot of his success came from simply intimidating other fighters (Michael Spinks certainly comes to mind - but I'm sure there were others who were scared just to step into the ring with Mike Tyson when he was still an unbeaten pro). "Buster" Douglas somehow wasn't intimidated by him (granted, M.T. had a lot of things going on in his life back then that likely "un-focused" him from that fight) and once M.T. lost that aura of invincibility things just weren't the same for him after that. Certainly Evander Holyfield showed that. But as for boxers from further back who could've beaten him. . .I certainly think George Foreman could've. Big George was every bit as strong as M.T. but he was bigger and George Foreman had an absolutely granite chin (although I saw just the other day a video of his win over Ron Lyle which shows that his chin was quite as granite as I thought it was - still pretty "granite," though) and there's no way in hell that he would've been intimidated by Mike Tyson. Even an "in his prime" Mike Tyson I think would've had all SORTS of trouble with Big George Foreman. And Muhammad Ali. That man was absolutely incredible. A young Ali would've run circles around Mike Tyson, no question about it. An Ali past his prime? Well, THAT Ali beat guys like Ken Norton, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman so I think he could've beaten even a "prime" Mike Tyson - but he probably would've taken a beating while doing so. Beyond that I'm not willing to speculate though I wonder what other people would've happened had a "prime" Mike Tyson taken on a "prime" "Smokin'" Joe Frazier? THAT would've been some battle, I think.
  #38  
Old 05-18-2019, 08:23 AM
racepug is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
I thought Tyson was terrific. Like a Pit Bull trained to walk on all four. Too bad he was complicit with Don King to turn professional boxing into All Star Wrestling credibility!

I would suggest George Foreman in his prime. Except for the Rumble in the Jungle outcome.
Check out the guy @ 31:46 with the gun in the ring. Security probably. But not the best way to carry!

I was 1 day shy of my 14th birthday and my Dad and I went to a movie theater to see a closed circuit broadcast of that fight. (That's how it was done. Nobody around here had cable TV). We were certain Foreman would smash the living shit out of Ali, especially seeing what he did to Frazier and Norton who both beat Ali.

Personally, seeing it was the very end of the round, I don't think the ref should have stopped the fight. Foreman did get up at 8 after all.
Yeah, there was definitely something a little "off" about that count. But I've always thought that Muhammad Ali did a brilliant job of defending himself against a terror that many people at the time thought would literally kill Muhammad Ali. Heck, I think even Big George acknowledges how special Muhammad Ali was.
  #39  
Old 05-18-2019, 08:51 AM
F. U. Shakespeare is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racepug View Post
Yeah, there was definitely something a little "off" about that count. But I've always thought that Muhammad Ali did a brilliant job of defending himself against a terror that many people at the time thought would literally kill Muhammad Ali. Heck, I think even Big George acknowledges how special Muhammad Ali was.
In the thread I linked to in post #21 above, there is discussion of that. Refs have some say in counting out fighters who appear to be finished, even if they get to their feet in time. A poster in that thread claims that Joe Frazier was ringside at Zaire in 1974, and later expressed concern for Foreman's well-being had the fight not been ended by the ref.
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