Top 10 Best Mike Tyson Fights That Made Him a Boxing Legend

Tags: #MikeTyson ,   #FrankBruno ,   #MichaelSpinks

Michael Wendom

Michael Wendom

Last updated:  2021-03-11 15:13:23

In his prime, Mike Tyson was the beast, terrorizing the heavyweight division. No other fighter in history had such a perfect combination of speed and power! Some fighters, including George Foreman, even admitted they were scared to face him. In his 20 years long career, Tyson won 50 times, with 44 wins coming by way of knockout. We'll rank the best ten based not only on his performance but also on his opponents' strength.

10. Michael Johnson

Watch young Mike Tyson destroying Michael Johnson

With his wild hair and thin frame, Michael Johnson came into his fight with teenage Mike Tyson wishing to trade blows with him. That was what young Mike loved, as he didn't have to chase him around the ring. Showing impressive lateral movement, Mike connected with his left hook to the body and brought Johnson down. Many were impressed that he could get up after only a couple of seconds while looking like the punch didn't do a lot of damage.

But what followed is something that would look unrealistic even in Rocky movies. As the fight continued, Mike ran toward his opponent before crushing him with a compelling right hook right through his guard. The ref mercifully stopped the match while unlucky Johnson stayed on the floor for a couple of minutes. Later, he was diagnosed with a broken jaw.

9. Mitch Green

Mitch Green suffered hard shots for 10 rounds

Going into his fight with Mike Tyson, Mitch Green was considered the contender for the heavyweight crown as he suffered a single loss in his 18 matches. That sole defeat was against future champion Trevor Berbick who beat him on a majority decision. On the other hand, Iron Mike was returning after his bout against James "Quick" Tillis, winning that match on points, while not looking good in the later rounds.

What seemed like the biggest challenge in his career, turned into a massive beatdown in New York, where "Blood" was nothing more than a punching bag. But unlike his previous match, Tyson was in top condition until the final bell. It was another unanimous decision victory, but it proved that Mike's conditioning was at a peak.

8. Donnie Long

Donnie Long was confident that he'll teach young Mike a lesson or two

Tyson was barely 19 years old when in his ninth professional fight, he faced so-called "Master of Disaster" Donnie Long. Long was considered the first real test for a young boxer, as he barely lost against strong contenders James Broad and John Tate. Heck, coming into the fight with Tyson, he said, "I feel like I could outbox Tyson. I can box as good as he can, I can punch better than Tyson". His plan about keeping Mike in the middle of the ring seemed to work fine... for about 35 seconds.

A single left hook to the face made him visit the floor for the first time, but incredibly, he was quickly back on his feet. Like a relentless predator, Tyson brought him down again, but once again, Donnie was up. But when that left hook once more met his right cheek, it was all over! "Master of Disaster" turned into "Disaster" in only 88 seconds.

7. Marvis Frazier

Marvis Frazier suffered a horrific knockout

A son of legendary "Smoking" Joe Frazier, Marvis was a heavyweight contender with a single defeat, against Larry Holmes. After victories against numerous contenders, including Joe Bugner, James Broad, or James Tillis, his unanimous decision triumph against future champion James Smith secured him an encounter with Mike Tyson. But from the first second of the match, "Iron" was on top of him, brutally attacking his head before a single right uppercut sent the unconscious Marvis to the floor.

Officially, the match was over after 30 seconds, making it the fastest win in Mike's career. The fight actually lasted about five seconds less. Nonetheless, the legends say that Joe Frazier begged the judges to call a different time. As for Marvis, years later, he said that the only thing he remembers about this fight was a single jab he threw.

6. Frank Bruno II

The best Mike Tyson fight after his prison stint

Mike Tyson was already past his prime when fighting against British star Frank Bruno in 1989, showing early signs of decline. But when they met again in 1996, Mike was highly motivated to show that even after a stint in prison, he could become a champion once more. At the time, Bruno held a WBC belt, but his first title defense proved unsuccessful. As an aggressive boxer, the British fighter was a massive target for Mike, who showed impressive movement early on, ducking hard shots. After the relatively quiet first round came the explosion in the second.

"Iron" attacked early as his rival held on for dear life and even lost a point for doing so. By that time, everyone knew that this one will soon be over. The end came in the first minute of the third round as Tyson unleashed a brutal combination of hooks and uppercuts, leaving poor Bruno almost unconscious. For at least that moment, it looked like Mike is back and that the defeat against Buster Douglas will forever be the only stain on his record.

5. Jose Ribalta

Jose Ribalta must be the bravest fighter ever to box against Tyson

If we made a list of fighters who suffered the most damage while fighting Mike Tyson, Jose Ribalta would come on top by a country mile. Even after suffering a horrendous right uppercut knockdown early in the second round, he was quickly back on his feet.

After he was back on the floor in the tenth round and asked by a referee if he is alright, he answered, "Yeah, hell yeah." But soon after, Tyson finished him with another barrage. This was another demonstration of Mike's stamina and also the first and the final time he ever KO'ed one of his opponents in the final round.

4. Pinklon Thomas

Pinklon Thomas could match Mike Tyson for only a couple of minutes

Trained by legendary Angelo Dundee, Pinklon Thomas was a former heavyweight champion with a single defeat - against Trevor Berbick. Pinklon tried to keep Tyson away by jabbing, and it worked pretty well, at least for a couple of minutes! Mike then delivered a barrage of eight shots, as Thomas was barely saved by the bell. For the next four rounds, Tyson tried to find the way past his opponent's jab as he finally delivered in the middle of round six.

After a tremendous 15-punch combination, Pinklon was on the floor, and Dundee mercifully decided to stop further punishment. What made this victory magnificent is that in his 15-year long career, Thomas lost only seven fights. Not counting his last match in 1993 when he was well past his prime, this was the only time he lost by TKO.

3. Tony Tucker

Mike Tyson demonstrated his stamina against Tony Tucker

Largely forgotten by many, Tony Tucker was an undefeated (34-0) IBF heavyweight champion when he faced Tyson. After an impressive TKO win against "Buster" Douglas, Tucker was looking like the better fighter early on. Tyson was even in trouble, but not for long. Instead of relying on one big punch, he was extremely patient, winning rounds and waiting for his opportunity.

By the second half of the bout, Tucker looked like a beaten man, only interested in showing his hugging techniques. He survived, but Mike was so dominant and disciplined that he proved to be more than a knockout artist unable to fight long rounds.

2. Trevor Berbick

Trevor Berbick felt the true power of Tyson

The greatest legacy of Mike Tyson is that he made so many champions and contenders look like they have no place in the ring. While Trevor Berbick is by no means one of the greatest heavyweights, he faced Tyson at the peak of his power while being the world champion. The man who barely lost to prime Larry Holmes before easily dispatching Muhammad Ali suffered a massive defeat against Tyson.

After surviving the first three minutes, he was rocked in the second. After being thrown to the floor for the second time, he made his best impression of the local drunk before the referee Mills Lane mercifully stopped the match. Mike Tyson was only 20 at the moment, thus becoming the youngest heavyweight champion of the world!

1. Michael Spinks

Michael Spinks never looked as a man who wanted to fight Tyson

1988 was the last year of prime Tyson, and the fight against Michael Spinks was the final where he was trained by his original team. At the moment, Spinks had a 31-0 record, twice defeating Larry Holmes and becoming the first reigning heavyweight and lightweight champion. But once he entered that ring, "Jinx" looked like a man who would rather be anywhere else.

Only a minute into the fight, Tyson rocked him to the floor for the first time in his career with a devastating body punch. Seconds later, Mike finished him with a powerful right hook. Spinks bravely tried to get up, but in doing so, he almost went out of the ring. This was symbolic, as he never came back to fight again!

Even though he will never be ranked as the top heavyweight, no other boxer in history was so exciting to watch. These ten fights serve as the best reminder of how enormously talented Mike Tyson was and how quickly that talent was flushed down the drain.

What is your favorite Mike Tyson performance? Do you think he was the most exciting boxer to watch? Share your opinion in the comments.


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