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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.

Last edited by Busy Scissors; 04-08-2019 at 04:22 PM.
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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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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
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.
  #14  
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!

Last edited by pkbites; 04-16-2019 at 11:58 PM.
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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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