The 25th Anniversary of The Greatest Upset Ever

ShamarieStarred Page By Shamarie, 11th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Sports>Combat sports

Twenty-five years ago, James “Buster” Douglas shocked the world when he knocked out “Iron” Mike Tyson for the undisputed heavyweight championship.

Tyson Is Back!

25 years ago today on February 11, 1990, the greatest upset occurred at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Billed as "Tyson Is Back!", it was a prizefight in which then undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion “Iron” Mike Tyson defended his crown against the 42–1 underdog James “Buster” Douglas. Nobody expected the outcome of this fight would shock the entire sports world. Buster Douglas did the impossible when he knocked out “Iron” Mike Tyson in the 10th round to become the new undisputed heavyweight champion.

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"Iron" Mike Tyson

"Iron" Mike Tyson was the face of heavyweight boxing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. At the age of 23, he was already the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world holding the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles simultaneously and the only heavyweight to unify them. Mike Tyson was viewed as such a dominant heavyweight that he was not only viewed as the world's top heavyweight, but often as the number one fighter in the world pound-for-pound (including by Ring Magazine), a rarity for heavyweights. Most considered his fight with Buster Douglas to be a warm-up bout before meeting up with then-undefeated number 1 heavyweight contender "The Real Deal" Evander Holyfield.

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"Buster" Douglas

James "Buster" Douglas was the number seven ranked heavyweight by Ring Magazine. He wasn’t a star in boxing, but he had the potential to be very good in the sport. He showed that in his previous title fight against Tony Tucker in 1987. Buster Douglas was dominating the fight until he ran out of gas that led to him being TKO'd in the 10th round. A string of six consecutive wins gave him the opportunity to fight Mike Tyson for the title. In the time leading up to the fight, Douglas faced a number of setbacks, including the death of his mother, Lula Pearl and the mother of his son had a severe kidney ailment.

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The Fight

From the opening bell, Buster Douglas did not show any fear in the ring like most Tyson’s opponents as he utilized his quick and accurate jab to prevent Tyson from getting inside, where Tyson was most dangerous. When Tyson tried to get inside, Douglas tied him up, moved away, or would immediately hit Tyson with multiple punches as Tyson came within Douglas' range. He made Mike Tyson looked confused and puzzled. He did not let him get into any kind of rhythm.

By the middle of the fight, Tyson's left eye swelled from the beating, and his corner was not equipped with an end-swell. Instead, they filled a rubber glove with ice water and held it on Tyson's eye between rounds. It was a very unusual sight to see his corner men unprepared and confused.

However, within the last 10 seconds of the eighth round, Tyson landed his most affective punch of the fight, which was a big right uppercut that sent Buster Douglas to the canvas. Some thought the fight was going to be over because of Douglas’ previous fight with Tony Tucker, but they were wrong. Douglas got up after a 9-second count and the round ended saving him.

In the dramatic ninth round, Tyson came out aggressively to end the fight and save his title, hoping that Douglas was still hurt from the 8th-round knockdown but Douglas was able to fight off Tyson's attack. Both men traded punches before Douglas connected on a four-punch combination that staggered Tyson back to the ropes. With Tyson hurt along the ropes, Douglas closed in and unleashed a vicious attack to try to knock Tyson out. Tyson tried to fight Douglas off but it was in vain. Douglas continued to land hard punches on Tyson as the round ended. Tyson withstood the punishment and barely survived the ninth round.

In the tenth round, Buster Douglas continued his onslaught on Tyson. He measured him with a few jabs before landing a devastating uppercut that snapped Tyson's head upward, stopping Tyson in his tracks. As Tyson began to reel back from the uppercut, Douglas followed with four punches to the head, knocking Tyson down for the first time in his career. Tyson fumbled for his mouthpiece on the canvas before sticking one end in his mouth with the other end hanging out. Mike Tyson attempted to make it back to his feet to continue fighting, but referee Octavio Meyran counted him out.

“Mike Tyson has been knocked out.” A sports broadcaster shouted.

The six-word phrase was as shocking as Muhammad Ali “shaking up the world” in 1964 was. Buster Douglas was the new undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. He defeated the 'Baddest Man on the Planet', a goal that many people felt he couldn’t achieve.

During the post fight interview, Buster Douglas broke down in tears when Larry Merchant why he was able to win this fight when no one thought he could. "Because I wanted it! Because of my mother...God bless her heart"

James "Buster" Douglas fulfilled a dream for him and his mother.

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The Aftermath

Buster Douglas went down in sports lore as a prize fighter that defied the odds to accomplish one of the biggest upsets in sports history. Among the honors was the cover photo of an issue of Sports Illustrated with the title, "Rocky Lives!" after the popular film series about a similarly underestimated boxing hero. For Mike Tyson, though he retained a menacing aura for years afterwards, "the mystique of the untouchable, invincible 'Baddest Man on the Planet' had been shattered."

In my opinion, this is the biggest upset in sporting history.



Boxing, James Buster Douglas, Mike Tyson, Shamarie Knight

Meet the author

author avatar Shamarie
I am a passionate writer from Harlem, New York. My expertise is creative writing and poetry. I enjoy expressing myself freely on paper and sharing my ideas with the world.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
11th Feb 2015 (#)

That was a truly amazing upset, but the greatest ever? I'm thinking the greatest upset ever took place on an Olympic Ice Rink in 1980..."Do you believe in miracles?"

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author avatar Shamarie
11th Feb 2015 (#)

Ha-Ha! That was a major upset. I agree!

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author avatar Deepizzaguy
11th Feb 2015 (#)

I remember that boxing match like it was yesterday. Buster Douglas became the real life version of fictional boxer Robert "Rocky" Balboa which was inspired by former boxer Chuck Wepner when he fought Muhammad Ali in 1975.

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author avatar Retired
11th Feb 2015 (#)

Wow, I can't believe how down Mike Tyson has come, I remember I heard in the news years ago, he bit the ear of another boxer. Excellent share indeed!

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author avatar viewgreen
12th Feb 2015 (#)

Incredible article and yes Mike Tyson how does his day now... Congratulation on a the star page. It's deserved to. Thank you for sharing my friend.

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author avatar Utah Jay
16th Feb 2015 (#)

I remember watching that fight...Great article.

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