24-Years Ago Today: Iron Mike Blows Away The Spinks Jinx!

By James Slater: Amazingly, in hindsight anyway, there were a number of fine boxing judges willing to pick Michael Spinks ahead of his mega-fight with heavyweight terror Mike Tyson - the late Bert Randolph Sugar among them. But, as we all know, the huge promotion that was dubbed "Once And For All" wound up being settled in a famous 91 seconds; Tyson, at his absolute peak, proving way too fast and powerful for the former 175-pound king.

Tyson, in the eyes of many, solidified his place amongst the heavyweight great that night, yet today fans debate the one-time "Kid Dynamite's" greatness. Did Tyson, all 5'11" and approx 218-pounds of him, simply come around at the right time? It's a valid question considering how Tyson's biggest, finest win came over a natural light-heavyweight; during a somewhat mediocre time for the big mens' weight class at that (if the Spinks win doesn't overly impress the Tyson critics, wins over the likes of Tyrell Biggs, Pinklon Thomas, Trevor Berbick and Frank Bruno certainly do not).

How would Tyson have done against the greats from yesterday, the fans used to ask, and how would Tyson be doing if he were around today, facing giants like the Klitschkos?

Last year, I wrote an article in which I asked what would have happened had the peak Tyson met the current version of Wladimir Klitschko. I was given more than a touch of stick for writing how I think Tyson would have torn right through an intimidated "Dr. Steel Hammer," that's for sure! And I have to agree, the critics of my "just for fun" piece had a point when they recalled how Tyson struggled with even average-at-best big heavies such as Bonecrusher Smith, Tony Tucker and even Bruno. These fans couldn't picture Tyson destroying Wladimir in a couple of rounds the way I could (and still can). And maybe I am guilty of giving Tyson too much credit for taking out smallish heavyweights like Spinks.

But fans do have a tendency to forget a past fighter's special qualities pretty quickly, as they embrace the current stars. Wladimir is certainly a fine, fine heavyweight, but the argument that Tyson never took on as gifted a giant only goes so far: has Wladimir faced any fighter as fast and as powerful as the prime Tyson?

Maybe we should all simply allow each era's heavyweight king to both enjoy and dominate his time at the top without comparing his skills to those of champions past. All the same, I find it fascinating dreaming about what would have happened had the peak Mike Tyson rumbled with an Ali, a Foreman, a Liston or, yes, a Klitschko.

I'm still convinced that, at the very least, the Tyson of 24 years ago would have given Wladimir a much rougher time than any of today's top heavyweights are capable of doing.

Article posted on 27.06.2012

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