The Post-Douglas Mike Tyson - Still Capable Of Being Mighty, Just Ask Alex Stewart!

05.11.07 – By James Slater: Though most experts and fans feel Mike Tyson was never the same fighter after the shocking beating he took from huge underdog James "Buster" Douglas, when focused and well prepared Mike was still more than capable of boxing like a great heavyweight. His absolute prime may have passed, but at the still incredibly young age of 24, Mike, even after all he'd been through up until that point in his hectic life, was no finished fighter..

mike tysonFar from it. One of the bouts that most proves how awesome "Mighty" Mike could still be, is the quick and devastating destruction job he did on the dangerous punching Alex Stewart. Indeed, for a few months, up until his wars with Razor Ruddock, it looked like the best may still be to come from the heavyweight sensation known as "Kid Dynamite."

The date of the Stewart fight was December the 8th, seventeen years ago, and Tyson was about to have his first real test since his shocking loss to forty-two to one outsider Douglas. Though Mike had dispatched Henry Tillman in one crushing round in June of 1990 - in the process avenging two amateur defeats he had suffered at the hands of Henry back in 1984 - the easy win proved virtually nothing. A repeat performance against a more respectable opponent, however, would go some way towards letting us know whether or not Mike was capable of once again reaching the heights he rose to before the Douglas shellacking. Enter Alex “The Destroyer” Stewart.

With his 27-1 record (all twenty-six wins coming by KO) Stewart was a big punching heavyweight capable of making Tyson work for his second comeback win. Or so we thought. Though he had lost once, to the excellent Evander Holyfield, Alex had acquitted himself very well - hurting “The Real deal” on occasion and lasting into the eighth round. Against Tyson though, he gave a performance that was even more miserable than Tillman’s effort had been. Looking every bit like the proverbial rabbit frozen in the headlights, Alex was bounced off the canvas three times inside as many minutes. The fight very quickly became one of “Iron Mike’s” easiest.

The bout had been postponed from that September, due to a cut suffered by Mike in training. The cut was a very bad one, requiring some forty-eight stitches. But now, just over one week into the month of December at The Convention Centre in Atlantic City, Tyson was fully fit and ready to rumble. Alex Stewart on the other hand, though physically in great shape, was no way near prepared to fight Mike from a mental standpoint. He was quite simply scared out of his wits!

A rampaging Tyson was all too aware of his “victim’s” fear, and wasted no time putting him out of his misery. In fact, at one point during the very short and sweet hostilities Mike’s haste at getting his sitting duck of an opponent out of there led to his throwing himself to the canvas, such was his eagerness. Mike knew all too well that a quick and easy win was on the cards, what with Stewart’s first round nerves jumping like they were. The last thing he wanted was to let Alex get his confidence together by seeing it through a couple of rounds. Alex, as he had proven against Holyfield, was some dangerous fighter when sufficiently warmed up. Mike did what he did best to prevent this and registered another first round KO - the nineteenth of his career at that time.

Three swift knockdowns were inflicted on the terrified Stewart and referee Frank Cappuccino was left with no choice but to stop the slaughter via the three knockdown rule. The disappointing fight was over, with Tyson barely having broken a sweat in destroying “The Destroyer.”

This is not to say Alex lacked courage though. Far from it. Stewart could very easily have remained where he was after the first knockdown, yet instead he got up and tried to carry on. No, it wasn’t a lack of guts that was Stewart’s problem, it was simply his having let Tyson get to him psychologically. Consequently, though the programmed fighter inside of him ordered him to regain his feet after the knockdowns, when he did so it was clear to all, especially Mike, that his body had been rendered all but useless as a fighting tool. Such was the paralyzing fear coursing through his very being, Stewart was nothing more than a target for the onrushing Tyson to knock back down. Not since Michael Spinks had suffered the same fate had Tyson so intimidated a top class fighter.

Mike Tyson was back. He was as powerful as he was before the loss to Douglas, he was just as fast, he seemed to have suffered no permanent damage as a result of the beating he was subject to and, most importantly, he was scaring people again. So much so that it seemed to some as though the peak of Mike’s career may still be ahead. In short, he looked awesome against a fighter many had tipped to give him a very hard night’s work. One ringside fan was so impressed he was moved to shout, into Tyson’s ear as he left the ring, “ Yo Mike, you don’t lose again baby!” His sentiments were shared by a great deal of experts, who all of a sudden were putting the Douglas loss down as a fluke. Who could have possibly guessed back then, however, that after another two fights only, Mike Tyson’s career would be derailed for over four years?

We all know what happened, of course. It wasn’t any ring opposition that so delayed Tyson’s march towards a shot at regaining the world title - Mike fought and lost a far more serious fight outside of the boxing arena instead. A loss that saw him lose his very freedom.

Boxing would miss Mike Tyson from June of 1991 until August of 1995. Who knows what fights Mike would have given us during that time if things had turned out differently?

Article posted on 05.11.2007

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