Boxing


Dream Fight Article - Foreman vs. Tyson: If They’d Met In 1990!

george foreman19.4.07 - By James Slater: Following on from my recalling of the boxing classic Foreman vs. Holyfield fight from 1991, and the interest it generated among ESB readers, I give here my interpretation of what would have happened had Big George met “Iron” Mike Tyson a year earlier, as originally planned. Who knows, if Foreman and Tyson had met in late 1990, a fight between George and Evander might never have happened; while the eventual meeting we saw between Mike and "The Real Deal" could have been staged five years sooner than it was. For what it’s worth, this is what I think would have occurred had Tyson and Foreman tangled in the first year of the decade that was the ‘90’s.

The date is June, 1990, and two former heavyweight champions of the world, George Foreman and Mike Tyson, have both recently appeared together on the same bill for the first time ever. Foreman, now just over three years into an improbable seeming boxing comeback designed to see him regain the title he last held two decades ago, flattened his first top-ten ranked opponent in the Brazilian, Adilson Rodrigues.

While Tyson, having his first fight since being sensationally knocked out by huge underdog James “Buster” Douglas, took care of former boxing Olympian Henry Tillman in one round. The idea, however, is that after one more double header together the two will fight each other. Talk about a dream fight! The young tiger trying to get his title back, fighting an elimination bout with the old lion trying to do likewise.

Unfortunately though, as we all know, the fight never happened. For one reason or another, both the second planned double header failed to materialise (Foreman was scheduled to face the Italian, Francesco Damiani while Tyson would box Alex Stewart) and the contest that would see the two legends pitted against one another never came off either. What a pity. It was a fight everyone was talking about, and as pretty much an even match at that. What with Mike’s aura of boxing invincibility removed due to his drubbing at the hands of Douglas and Foreman’s newfound respect at the age of forty-one, the fight was now seen as a genuinely intriguing one. One that either guy may win.

There are, to this day, rumours that say Tyson wanted no part of Foreman and this is the reason the fight never happened. Without getting into that, however, I suggest in this very article just what would have happened had the two legends collided as planned in late 1990. Foreman Vs. Tyson - the ultimate dream fight!

The fight is held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on December the 8th, and a sell-out crowd is in attendance. There is not a seat to be had, nor has there been one for some weeks. The fight caught fire with fights fans everywhere and as a result was box office gold. Many celebrities are sitting ringside also, as they too are burning with excitement-filled curiosity as to what will happen when the old slugger collides with the young banger. The atmosphere is positively electric as the two fighters make their way towards the ring.

George Foreman makes his entrance first. Wearing the same shorts he wore when he fought as world champion back in the early 1970’s, George is led through the arena by his handlers. Amongst these handlers is the legendary Archie Moore, a man who knows all about how to fight successfully as an old man. Also present is knowledgeable Foreman regular Charlie Shipes. The cheers are deafening as George squeezes his huge frame through the ropes and bounces across the canvas. Then Mike Tyson appears. Once more disdaining any unnecessary ring apparel - content instead with shorts, boots and gloves only, Mike is led in by his team. Though he has no-one as wise and experienced as either Archie or Charlie among his corner-men, Mike is confident in the abilities of his new trainer, Richie Giachetti. There are cheers too as “Iron Mike” enters the ring, but a sprinkling of boos is also heard. It is clear who’s side the majority of fans are on.

The great Chuck Hull does the intros as only he can and the stage is set. With the winner set to face the new heavyweight ruler Evander Holyfield, the most intriguing heavyweight clash in recent memory is also one that will decide which of the two men will see their hopes of fighting to regain their old title come to fruition. Lose tonight and it could all be over. Quite
simply, there couldn’t be more at stake!

Round one. The first bell is still an echo when Tyson comes thrashing out of his corner. He immediately opens up on George and cracks the old champ with a hard right. George instinctively holds and uses his massive strength to tie Tyson up. Referee Mills lane breaks the two huge punchers and Tyson looks to get back inside. Foreman, his timing upset by Mike’s incredible speed, cannot get his jab working and consequently has no weapon with which to keep his raging opponent at bay. Two wicked shots, a left hook and a right uppercut, crack Foreman’s jaw but amazingly he doesn’t go down. With the crowd making a deafening amount of noise, George again instinctively reaches out and grabs at Tyson, buying precious seconds while his head clears. Any doubts some may have had about the quality of George’s chin while boxing as a veteran have already proven to be completely unfounded.

The question is, can he possibly carry on taking such punches? With less than a minute to go in the round, after more hard work done by Lane in prying the two big guys apart, Foreman at last scores with a decent blow. A hard right hand to Mike’s midsection, that lands as Tyson advances, momentarily slows him down. But then Foreman is back on the receiving end as his young rival lets loose with a blinding combination. A whistling left hook upstairs just misses Foreman’s head, while two follow-up right hands connect.

George, his chin tested more so than at any other time since the Ron Lyle fight, staggers badly and looks a dead-cert for the canvas. Instead, he stumbles into the ropes and remains upright to hear the bell. Already, it looks as though nothing but a bad beating lays in store for old George. Despite the lack of a knockdown, Tyson wins the round 10-8 on all three judges cards.

Between rounds George stands in his corner, as has been his habit during his comeback. Shipes tells him to get his jab pumping out and to time Tyson’s rushes. On the other side of the ring Tyson sits and snarls. He did not want to hear that bell. Giachetti tells him more of the same.

Round two. Foreman’s hands are noticeably higher now and he has a different look on his face. Fully aware of just how hard Tyson can hit him, “The Punching Preacher” now braces himself. Tyson works his way inside once more, yet curiously he doesn’t let go with the same fast punches he did in round one when he gets there. Not right away anyway. Not as physically strong as
Foreman when it comes to the wrestling, Mike waits for the ref to part them and, as Mills does so, unloads with three viscous punches on the break. Before Lane can get in to admonish Tyson, however, George retaliates, almost blindly, with a monstrous right hand. Shockingly, Tyson is wobbled by the massive punch.

The crowd is now screaming itself hoarse! How can Foreman be doing what he’s doing? He has taken Mike Tyson’s best punches, three of them mere seconds ago, and yet he’s come back to shake “Iron Mike.” Now, for the first time, Tyson knows he’s got a fight on his hands. For some reason, the easy win that only a minute or so earlier had looked right on the cards for him, has vanished. Regrouping following the hurtful punch, it is now Mike’s turn to wear a thoughtful look.

He weaves his way inside though, and lands with two hard shots to Foreman’s body. As he does so, George shoves him off him, and then blasts his head upwards with an uppercut somehow retrieved from the 1970’s. Tyson is rocked on his heels and George forces himself forwards to follow up. He misses with a sweeping left but catches the groggy Tyson with a right to the temple. Tyson crashes to the floor! The scream can be heard all over Las Vegas. Mills lane rushes in and begins counting, he himself seems utterly bewildered at what has happened.

The count reaches five and Tyson climbs to his feet. George now advances and, with astonishing calmness, cranks out four slow but perfectly accurate sledgehammers to Mike’s head and jaw. The final punch, a right to the very point of the chin, sends Tyson to his knees. Again George is sent to a neutral corner and again he rests his arms along the top rope as he stands in a cross-legged stance while watching his opponent attempt to rise. This time though, he cannot - at least not in time. For Tyson is counted out in the act of rising. George Foreman, who tosses a wink at commentators Larry Merchant, Jim Lampley and his old trainer Gil Clancey, is the winner at two minutes and fourteen seconds of round number two.

Just as the late, great Cus D’ Amato once told the teenage Mike Tyson; a short, swarming pressure fighter such as he could never hope to defeat a George Foreman!

Article posted on 20.04.2007



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