Mike Tyson was a great fighter actually, and for a short time it looked like he might be one of the best ever…
Mike Tyson: 50–6 (44)
Tyson remains the youngest heavyweight title holder ever, destroying Trevor Berbick in 1986 at just 20 years old, before unifying all the belts within a year.
He’d made 9 successful defences (7 by KO) by 1990, including notable destructions of former champs Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks.
Mike Tyson WTKO4 Larry Holmes (1988)
At 37–0 (33), Tyson’s aura of invincibility was palpable – popular culture portrayed him as more a force of nature than a man.
Within boxing, Ring Magazine rated Tyson as the best pound for pound fighter in the sport.
Despite public marital issues and car crashes, no one imagined he’d lose, certainly not to Buster Douglas, yet he did.
It was one of the biggest upsets in sports history.
Buster Douglas WKO10 Mike Tyson (1990)
At that time it wasn’t clear that the Douglas defeat was the start of a long decline for Mike, but in retrospect it was.
Incarcerated for 3 years in 1991 following an infamous rape conviction, Mike quickly regained two titles when released in 1995.
For a brief moment it seemed like the ‘Iron’ Mike of old was back. Then he met Evander Holyfield and that invincible aura was gone forever.
Evander Holyfield WTKO11 Mike Tyson (1996)
Tyson’s lack of longevity at the highest level, the fact he declined as a fighter before turning 24, and his later defeats to other greats of his era (Holyfield and Lewis), all keep Mike from being considered among the greatest ever.
But make no mistake – Tyson was a great fighter.