On FOX Sports’ “Being: Mike Tyson”

By Robert Ecksel on September 21, 2013
On FOX Sports’ “Being: Mike Tyson”
If there was ever a Phoenix who could rise from the ashes, it is the mythic Mike Tyson.

“When you were pure in your profession, with them black shoes and those black trunks, you had the simplicity of a killer…”

“I wanted to be like Mickey Walker or Jack Dempsey – mean, savage, vicious.”—Mike Tyson

On Sunday afternoon, Sept. 22 on FOX, the first episode of the six-part “Being: Mike Tyson” has its world premiere (before the entire series moves to the new FOX Sports 1, where it has a regular time slot on Tuesdays at 10:30 pm). Some will run to their calendar to circle the date. Others will duck and cover.

Such are the reactions that Mike Tyson elicits.

Mike Tyson is described in a press release as “enigmatic.” He may be “enigmatic,” but a single word fails to encapsulate the self-described “baddest man on the planet.” We have followed his career from the Catskill days under the tutelage of Cus D’Amato and witnessed every step and misstep along the way. He may have crashed and burned more times than a film loop of the Hindenburg, but if there was ever a Phoenix who could rise from the ashes, it is the mythic Mike Tyson.

Press releases are notoriously one-sided. When they’re not treated as gospel, they’re used indiscriminately as filler. In “Being: Mike Tyson,” the one-time Brownsville resident is said to “open his life and very soul, allowing audiences to experience his amazing transformation from world renowned sports superstar to Mr. John Q. Public.”

He was certainly a “world renowned sports superstar,” however awkward the syntax, but the “Mr. John Q. Public” part had me scratching my head. It wasn’t until I saw the first three episodes of “Being: Mike Tyson” that I began to understand.

Quiet Before the Storm

Episode 1: QUIET BEFORE THE STORM begins with shots of Tyson preparing for the opening on his one-man show, “Undisputed Truth,” juxtaposed with Mike preparing for some of the biggest prizefights of life. Continuity is established, even though Mike speaks about his former self as another person entirely.

Tyson’s happiness, like happiness in general, comes and goes. He may have been in a sense reborn, but dissonance accompanies the growing pains. For example, there’s a shot where Mike, in a room in his home, lifts his daughter above his head and gives her a big kiss. The scene couldn’t be more touching. But behind him are two frames on the wall, neither of which contains a picture.

“Undisputed Truth,” which has been lauded in some quarters and lambasted in others, opened in Indianapolis. The cameras dutifully follow Mike to the city where he was convicted of raping Desiree Washington. The less said about that verdict the better. Let’s just say Don King’s tax attorney was no Johnnie Cochrane. Tyson visits the Plainfield Correctional Complex where he did time. It is stark, as are Mike’s memories.

The Real Deal

Episode 2 is titled THE REAL DEAL. It presumes to tell us the real deal about what really went down in the first fight between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. The Bite of the Century is one of those fights that most of us would just as soon forget. It was appalling, but time heals all wounds, even bite wounds in public during a prizefight.

But I wasn’t the one that was disfigured that night. It was Holyfield, and if Holyfield can forgive Tyson, as he apparently has, perhaps I should do the same. After all, it’s the Christian thing to do, and not being Christian is no excuse.

Tyson and Holyfield meet in a hotel room to discuss the fight in question. Like middle-aged men recounting the folly of their youth, they dissect the incident like ace pathologists.

Holyfield describes the bites in detail. Tyson listens carefully. He remembers biting one ear. Holyfield reminds him that it was both ears. Mike shakes his head in disbelief.

The Corner Man

The third episode opens with a montage of anti-rape activists expressing their hatred of Mike Tyson, followed by Robin Givens telling Barbara Walters that her marriage “has been torture, it’s been pure hell.” A quick shot of Mike’s wife Kiki is interrupted by the Tyson-Lewis presser where Mike, after biting Lennox’s thigh, turns his ire on the media. Kiki reappears. There’s a shot of anti-rape/anti-Tyson protesters frothing at the mouth. Mike is seen playing with his daughters when the words THE CORNER MAN appear on the screen.

Episode 3 is underway.

Tyson meets with football legend Jim Brown at his home in LA. Once incredibly nimble, Brown, an NFL casualty, can now barely walk, but he’s as eloquent as ever.

Because Tyson barely knew his father, Brown serves as a surrogate. He’s been a “personal hero and mentor” to Tyson for many years. When Jim Brown speaks, Mike Tyson listens.

“When you were pure in your profession,” he says, “with them black shoes and those black trunks, you had the simplicity of a killer.”

Although Jim Brown anchors Episode 3, Tyson is anchored by Kiki and their kids. Mike talks about how hard it is to remain monogamous. He also talks about the death of his daughter, Exodus, who accidentally strangled herself with a cord attached to a treadmill, before he starts to cry.

Kiki, who has been a visible but largely silent presence, discusses her marriage and life. She mentions her troubles with the law, including a stint in prison, without self-pity or regret, as it was the journey she needed to be “strong enough to be with a man like this.”


Tyson’s life has been well-documented. Countless interviews, articles, films, books, TV and radio appearances have left almost no stone unturned. He was a subject of fascination early on. His exploits became fodder for the tabloids, which in turn gave us instant access whether we wanted it or not. As a result, there are no earth-shattering revelations in “Being: Mike Tyson.” Those revelations, such as they are, and if they exist, may emerge over time. But FOX’s “Being: Mike Tyson,” which is beautifully done, has an immediacy, an unrehearsed fly-on-the-wall quality that is different, and dramatically so, from that which preceded it.

Wanting to take this a step further, I contact Michael Bloom, Senior Vice President of Original Programming at FOX Sports, and ask about the progress of Mike Tyson.

“That’s the hallmark of the ‘Being’ franchise. We tell stories that unfold in front of us. We think, like in sports, that the best is yet to come. Look,” he says, “a whole generation of viewers has grown up, for better or worse, with reality television, and there’s a device that’s part of the DNA of reality television. That’s first-person point-of-view storytelling. The way you ‘walk a mile in a man’s shoes’ is what we’ve focused on, both strategically, and creatively. We want to embed and take viewers to places they’ve never been before and be in the moment as much as possible. Everybody does documentaries that look back. We want to look forward.”

But Tyson is a special case. There’s no athlete in modern times that has evolved, devolved, and perhaps revolved as continually as Mike Tyson. I ask Michael Bloom what, aside from celebrity cachet, led him to select the former champion as his subject.

“We’re always on the hunt for iconic characters, whether they’re world champions or unknown amateurs, and Mike’s story is only partly told at this point in his life. He went from nothing to the top to some very dark places. We all know these stories…and look at the comeback. It’s a classic story. The guy has turned himself and his life around, reinvented himself, reimagined himself, and at the same time—he’ll be the first to tell you—he struggles every day. The biggest challenge that he has is himself, and he’s been incredibly honest with himself and the TV viewer. It’s a compelling story, but he’ll also be the first to tell you how frustrating the process was.”

Some of that frustration can be seen in “Being: Mike Tyson.” Irritation with the process, even irritation with his wife, occasionally bubbles to the surface. I ask Michael Bloom, who is as polite as he is confident, if he had personal dealings with Mike, or was negotiating with his handlers.

Bloom sighs and says, “I have been dealing with Mike and Kiki since day one. To do a project like the one we imagined takes an enormous amount of trust on both sides. We didn’t always agree. We continue to not always agree. But I think there’s a trust and respect and mutual admiration, and Mike has been incredible throughout. He can be so darn eloquent sometimes. It’s captivating. You can’t turn away from the screen when he’s talking. Did we accomplish everything we wanted? No. But did we get way more than we expected? Of course. That’s the risk you take when you don’t look back, when you are striving to tell a story in the moment.”

Tyson’s recent admission that he had relapsed took many by surprise.

“I wasn’t surprised by his honesty,” Bloom tells me, “because he’s one of the most honest personalities I ever worked with. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He doesn’t hide from things. He faces them head on. I think that’s part of his recovery. I think he’s an extraordinary figure. I don’t know many people that own the mea culpa the way he continues to. We’re partners in this endeavor and wish him the best and support him always.

“I think this show, if you give it a chance, reveals a different side of Mike Tyson. It’s Dickensian; I think Charles Dickens would find Mike a very interesting character. He looks at his life now through things that happened in his past. There’s a little Christmas Carol to this. Think of all the sad stories with sports figures who went to the top and then didn’t know what to do, what to do next, or couldn’t handle it. Ten years ago, do you think we’d be sitting here talking about Mike in this way? You have to give this guy kudos. He’s a fighter to the end, even though he might not want to be considered a fighter.”

Mike may not consider himself a fighter, but after watching him punch his way to the pinnacle, it’s hard to think of him otherwise.

Michael Bloom agrees.

“We’re bullish on boxing,” he says. “Part of FOX Sports’ brand is toughness and being loud and being right there. What’s more primal than the sport of boxing? What’s more exciting than a top level prizefight? What’s sweeter than a boxing match that’s highly technical? It’s so up close. It’s so stripped down. It’s the real thing.”

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  1. Mike Schmidt 12:34am, 09/24/2013

    Perfecto Clarence—thanks much. I forgot the part where the wind blows away his speech notes—atta boy Luther!!!! P.S I watched the video a second time without any sound-  Don looked just like one of those sanctioning body conventions jobs hee hee !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Boxing connects here there and everywhere—let me clarify that, what is boxing…..

  2. Clarence George 05:56pm, 09/23/2013

    Gentlemen:  The boxing connection is manifest.  Mike Tyson appeared in a comedy, “The Hangover.”  The movies to which we’re referring are comedies.  Need I say more?

    No, Mike, never saw “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” but I’m fanatically devoted to “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”

    And this is for you:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inDf6-TUq5s

    Not sure, Pete, but I think your scene is from “Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man.”

  3. Mike Schmidt 05:28pm, 09/23/2013

    And Steve Lott if you’re in the neighborhood please do drop in with your comments—obviously yours is up front ringside personal as to those Championship years.

  4. Mike Schmidt 05:23pm, 09/23/2013

    Excellante’ Sneak. Back to Tyson; Where we came from, what we are, what we become, where we go….in another life Mike Tyson would have been the head honcho CEO of a very lucrative Marketing company. I went back and READ YOUR ARTICLE AGAIN SIR ROBERT—WATCHED A FEW EARLY MIKE VIDEOS AND THEN BACK AGAIN TO THIS PAST WEEKENDS NFL/FOX BOOTH TYSON VISIT WITH HOWIE AND URLACHER ETC.                                                                        “AS TYSON ONCE SAID, HE RELISHED A CONCEPT OF HIMSELF AS BROWNSVILLE’S OWN ARTFUL DODGER. WHETHER THOSE STORIES WERE TRUE OR NOT DIDN’T SEEM TO MATTER TO HIM. TYSON’S LIFE AS CHAMPION WOULD REACH THE POINT WHERE APPEARANCE AND REALITY—WHAT PEOPLE WANTED TO BELIEVE ABOUT HIM, AND WHO HE REALLY WAS-BECAME HOPELESSLY BLURRED. HE WOULD BE RAW MATERIAL TO FEED CULTURAL CURIOSITY ABOUT THE NATURE AND ORIGINS OF SOCIOPATHIC VICIOUSNESS…TYSON REVELED IN A PERVERSE ROMANTICISM ABOUT HIS PAST, TO DISGUISE RATHER THAN REVEAL.” FROM “Mike Tyson, Money, Myth and Betrayal.” by Montieth Illingworth. And so here is, Tyson, and as Michael Bloom aptly points out, he is a fighter, yes in the past of the punch you in the jaw type, but now in the survivor sense where so many others of the pugilistic pursuit have fallen to the depths of no return. Is the latest more creation persona by Tyson, reality and truth of personality, or just a huge mix of all- who the fuck knows- what we do know is here is, still up front, still punching, still a huge public personality

  5. Pete The Sneak 04:22pm, 09/23/2013

    At the risk of further infuriating the Fearless Editor, let me take a second to just throw these out. From Hold That Ghost: Costello-“If you see a pair of pants flying across the room, don’t stop them. Abbott- “Why?”-Costello- “Cause I’ll be in em.”...From Meet Frankenstein: Wilbur discussing why he won’t give Chick one of the girls- “What about the dates we had last week, yours had teeth.” Chick: Well, yours had teeth too.”-Wilbur-“Did you see that tooth? She had so much bridgework I had to pay toll every time I kissed her.”...And finally Schmidty/CG, in order to keep this in the Boxing mode and keep the fearless editor from banning us forever from Boxing.com, I’m not sure which Abbot/Costello this was from, probably ‘In The Navy’, or the ‘Invisible Man.’ but there is Costello (called Louie The Looper) in the ring with Abbot yelling out these instructions: “Give him the One Three, the One Three.” The confused Louie the Looper looks at Abbot and says: “One Three? What about two?” Abbot responds: Two you get.”...OK, it’s out of my system now…Peace.

  6. Mike Schmidt 02:24pm, 09/23/2013

    What was the dudes name that Luther thinks got murdered- Calven Weems or something like that- “What are you doing here!!!! YOUR DEAD!!!!” The organ music was superb- love when the gardener dude is cheering Luther on to nail the murdere on the stairwell and my fav speech part Clarence- at the classic small town picnic where Luther, quivering voice and all takes the old school big microphone to do his speech, “I’ve been called brave. Let me clarify this. What is brave….” and the microphone keeps giving him feedback, the same dude keeps yelling “atta boy Luther” and what was the other line, re the mike, “the electrician must have been a Democrat-ATTA BOY LUTHER.”  Hey C.G did you ever see that cult classic The Killer Tomatoes.

  7. Clarence George 01:56pm, 09/23/2013

    Mike, Pete:  I think my favorite part of the excellent “Hold That Ghost” is the dance between Costello and the homely but hilarious Joan Davis.  The attractive girl was Evelyn Ankers, “Queen of the Screamers.”

    My favorite part of “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” is when Don Knotts (a comedic genius) gives the most incompetent, fear-riddled speech it’s ever been my pleasure to witness.

  8. Mike Schmidt 12:50pm, 09/23/2013

    Fuck me, you two characters, Sneak, C.G. really got me going- sooooooo on my list of great old time spook comedy- Scared Stiff with Deano and Jerry Lewis was FANTASTIC with the cameo at the end by Bing and Bob Hope- great scenes in that one- and by the by Jerry Lewis could tell boxing stories forever…. and ever- huge boxing fan… the other one, YABBBBBBOTTTTT, Hold that Ghost- Clarence I gotta go back on that one but think it had a young Dorothy Malone- I could see Sir Clarence George having a few pops at Chez Glamour while our Fearless Editor attempts to drum up a crime story from “Moose Matson.”  C.G. I read the write up link you gave on Fox/Tyson and will offer up my thoughts shortly enough. Rigt now Bronson the Coyote/Shep is looking at some teenager across the street like he is a midsize dinner menu item so I better take the snarly mobile security, body guard, training partner out for a little exercise or as my neighbour says, exorsizem

  9. Mike Schmidt 12:35pm, 09/23/2013

    The Fearless Editor is probably doing “Your Name” arrrgh- whoever the fuck Your Name is, over my bringing up Yaaaabot and Costello meet Frank-n- stine. But in the spirit of things, some of my favorite lines are when they go over to pick up the crate on the stormy night- Wilbur is reading the legend of Dracula, with Bella Laghostly’s hand coming out of the creaking coffin lid- Wilbur imitates the creaking noise to Chick who responds “that’s the wind.” Wilbur-” It should get oiled.” annnd “Get on your feet it’s only a dummy.” Wilbur in response “Dummy…It was smart enough to scare me.” Now I may be misquoting these a little but I am trying to keep up here lads… Chick to Wilbur ” Of all the guys why would that classy dish pick a guy like you.” Wilbur ” What wrong with that.” Chick ” Have you taken a look at yourself in the mirror.”  Wilbur “Why should I hurt my own feelings.”  I hope I got those close lads now when you want to get on to “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” I might as well get ahead of it “Atta Boy Luther” or one of the classics which Sneak and C.G. I think they should play at the beginning of any Dana White UFC thing when Luther Heggs pulls up the old trousers to explain how he KTFO the villain ” THAT’S RIGHT….KARATE….MADE MY WHOLE BODY A WEAPON.” Yes indeed Sirs, simple times and a whole shit load of fun.

  10. Pete The Sneak 12:12pm, 09/23/2013

    Touche’ CG…Great Stuff!!...Peace..

  11. Clarence George 12:04pm, 09/23/2013

    Well done, Pete!  Another favorite of mine is when Talbot says, “Every night when the moon is full, I turn into a wolf.”  To which Wilbur replies, “You and twenty million other guys.”

    And speaking of funny lines, ladies and germs, I was watching “The Cheap Detective” the other night.  Not a great movie, but some very funny moments, including one that’s been staying with me.  Madeline Kahn says something like, “My sister attends St. Catherine’s Girls’ School and Kennel.”  “Kennel?” says Peter Falk.  “Well,” says Kahn, “the girls aren’t very attractive.”

  12. Mike Schmidt 10:33am, 09/23/2013

    Sneak I wonder if we can work that whole line into a Mayweather article on the choosing or not choosing of a compelling next opponent!!! Great Stuff!! All the scenes at the Garden Masquerade Party were superb. Adios

  13. Pete The Sneak 10:21am, 09/23/2013

    Clarence, never mind bout the top 10 HW’s…My favorite line in Abbot & Costello meet Frankenstein is when they are about to leave the hotel and forgot to check on Talbot (wolf man)...After finding him in his room next door coming off his wolfman metamorphasis, Talbot tells Costello “we must find Dracula and the monster and destroy them.” Costello responds, “I can’t go, I have a date, in fact I have 2 dates..” Whereas Talbot responds, “But you and I have a date with Destiny.’ Of course Costello looks at his dateless friend Abbott and tells Talbot, “Let Chick go with Destiny.”...Classic…Peace.

  14. Clarence George 09:11am, 09/23/2013

    A review of, or reaction to, “Being: Mike Tyson”:


  15. Clarence George 08:38am, 09/23/2013

    Mike:  Fischer’s scenario is plausible, but I, too, am sticking with Foster.

  16. Mike Schmidt 06:56am, 09/23/2013


  17. Mike Schmidt 06:09am, 09/23/2013

    Foster vs Spinks would have been one hell of a battle—I still stick with Foster—I think that pumping jab would have moved Spinks around to where Foster wanted him.

  18. Clarence George 03:41am, 09/23/2013

    An Interesting coincidence, Glenn.  A reader asked Doug Fischer for his opinion of Foster vs. Spinks.  Says Fischer:

    “I think Spinks would have troubled Foster with his awkward style and landed at least one ‘Jinx’ that drops his fellow boxer-puncher, enabling him to outpoint the rangy KO artist in this dream light heavyweight matchup. Foster was a monster, but I think Spinks’ footwork and the odd angles that the Missouri native blasted his power shots from would have got the better of the more orthodox fighter.”

  19. Clarence George 03:04am, 09/23/2013

    Thank God you provided that link, Glenn—I thought you were making an unexpected reference to an air-conditioned Swedish car.

    Now, if my biscuit could have extra raspberry jam in lieu of the coconut… that’d be great.

  20. GlennR 12:43am, 09/23/2013

    Man up Clarence….... get an iced vovo into you then!


  21. Mike Schmidt 06:04pm, 09/22/2013

    There is another guy at Light Heavy that moved up and beat Holy the first time around—Six-foot-two Michael Moorer whose resume at Light Heavy does not show the quality of Spinks or Foster but still have to give Michael his dues and retired with a very solid record with a very impressive ko percentage

  22. Clarence George 04:54pm, 09/22/2013

    I look forward to the dessert, Glenn, but if you could skip the coconut?  I don’t think there’s anything I hate more—the taste, the texture…yecch!

  23. GlennR 03:36pm, 09/22/2013

    Good points eric, i recently watched the Holyfield-Qawi fight for the 1st time (god bless youtube) and youre right, at that stage he was still developing and Spinks may have beaten him. Id add though that both at their prime, HW or CW, id still take Evander.

    That was odd about Fosters power not translating to HW, it looked like he could knock out anyone but, as you said, Frazier showed him otherwise.

    Good chat this…. thanks gents

  24. Eric 03:26pm, 09/22/2013


    I think had Spinks met Holyfield in 1986-1987 at 190lbs when Holyfield was still slightly just filling out into a full fledged cruiserweight he would have stood a great chance at beating Evander. Evander struggled mightily to beat Qawi in their first bout and his lack of experience showed throughout the bout. Qawi, himself probably ate himself out of the light light heavyweight ranks and even though he won the 190lb title, he was probably too heavy when he fought cruiserweight. Still Qawi was a formidable opponent especially for someone with only a handful of fights like Holyfield at that time. Bob Foster would’ve fared much better had he tried to take on heavyweights like Jimmy Ellis or say a Floyd Patterson. Looking at Foster’s spindly build you always wonder how he generated so much power, but that power just didn’t faze the big boys. Frazier nearly broke Foster in two and I think Bob’s best shots didn’t even cause Frazier to blink. Spinks did kayo the extremely large Klitschko-sized Cooney.

  25. GlennR 03:16pm, 09/22/2013

    And good morning Mr Flute.
    You’re right, you did say speed more than a few times, so that’s what makes a champ?
    Size and speed?
    Though you do mention quality at some stage. By quality do you mean, ring craft, footwork, heart, experience, fitness and so on.

    But you do seem to be basing Tysons success against Dempsey and co on his destruction of Spinks, which you put down to size and speed… 91 seconds you remind us.

    You keep saying these olders HW’s wouldnt even be fighting at HW today but would not be allowed to go past CW, well how do you explain Holyfield then? Arguably the best CW ever.

    Your logic is flawed, smaller men (Holyfield for one) have come up to beat bigger faster men of quality, i remind you of the Bowe-Holyfield fights for one, and saying that they wouldnt/couldnt come up is incorrect….

  26. GlennR 03:00pm, 09/22/2013

    Thanks for that Clarence!
    Even though id read it before a lamington is on its way

  27. GlennR 02:59pm, 09/22/2013

    Morning Eric, youre right about Spinks era to be fair, there was some strong fighters but probably somewhat forgotten to a degree (to me at least)

    Having said that, i cant see Spinks pipping Holyfield at CW. And i stand by Foster at LHW and id add RJJ to that as well.

  28. Eric 02:05pm, 09/22/2013

    Wish Michael Spinks would’ve actually dropped to cruiserweight after the second Holmes bout. He could have possibly scored two decent paydays with a rematch with then champ Dwight Qawi,  and later with Evander Holyfield. The limit was 190lbs back in 1986 and at that stage of his career a Holyfield vs Spinks fight would have been interesting. Holyfield takes Spinks at heavyweight I would think, but it isn’t necessarily in the bag. I can’t imagine Bob Foster beating some solid big heavyweights like Holmes or Cooney, but Spinks did. Face it, Foster failed pretty miserably against the big boys while Spinks turned out to be a decent heavyweight for the short time he competed in that weight class. The only 175-pounders I would rank above Spinks would be two ex heavyweight kings Charles and Tunney, and the great Archie Moore. Spinks beat some really excellent fighters at 175 and would’ve had no problem dominating a few years earlier when Bob ruled the roost.

  29. Clarence George 02:03pm, 09/22/2013

    Glenn:  Since you’re such a big fan of Bob Foster, I spent a great deal of money buying this interview for you.  In exchange, please send me an Australian culinary delicacy.  Or is that a contradiction in terms?  Anyway, enjoy:


  30. Jethro's Flute 12:53pm, 09/22/2013

    “Is it just me or would Bob Foster destroy Spinks?”

    It is just you, Glenn.

    Foster could beat Spinks on points but he’s not going to beat him by massacre. Spinks was certainly a better heavyweight than Foster who was beaten by most decent heavyweights he faces though and Spinks’ chin is possibly the hardest of any 175lb champ.

    Also - ”  Mr Flute, your argument is just too simple. You are basing everything on size.”

    No, I am not. I did mention speed many times.

    “Just because the gents mentioned were smaller than Tyson, why does that instantly mean they would lose?”

    What happens when someone much smaller than Tyson faces him? Hmm, it appears they get flattened in 91 seconds.

    “Using your logic Primo Carnera was a world beater!

    Mate, your argument is flawed from the start”.

    Your argument is completely dishonest. I mention size, speed and quality. Carnera was the same size as the Klitschkos and Lennox Lewis but nowhere near as good.

    ”  Dempsey, Tunney, Marciano, and Charles were heavyweights; they are still so considered.  The introduction of the cruiserweight division doesn’t retroactively render them cruisers.”

    Yes, it does. Simple as that, Clarence.

    BTW has anyone noticed that a young Muhammad Ali was quite the knockout artist and was nearly always the bigger man in the ring in the 60s? He was bigger and faster than most of his opponents.

    “hell throw John L Sullivan in there too”

    FrankinDallas - what footage is there of John L Sullivan to watch to decide if he could beat Mike Tyson or not?

    “I’m borrowing Marciano’s “0” to make abundantly clear that that’s exactly what you know about boxing if you truly think Tyson would beat him and the other heavyweight champs mentioned “by one punch knockout in the first round.”

    Back to this one:

    “Consider the opinion of veteran boxing writer and analyst Dan Daniel from the May 1956 Ring Magazine concerning a potential Marciano-Dempsey fight, “Dempsey would have stopped Rocky because Marciano would have taken too long to hurt the Mauler. Rocco usually warms up to his task slowly, and usually doesn’t get to that point until about the eighth round. Once he has worn down his man, Rocky hurts plenty. Dempsey was no feeler-outer. The bell rang, and he went right to work, no dilly-dallying. He gave everything he had all the way.” “

    Hmm, it appears that a man who saw both Jack Dempsey - Tyson’s ring idol - and Marciano fight thought that the faster starting Manassa Mauler would win.

    “I am reminded of the following story from the from the Dec 1988 Ring Magazine, “Tyson and Dempsey: Is History Repeating Itself?” Writer John Reeves wrote about an incident in a bar while viewing the Tyson-Pinklon Thomas fight. Reeves had said to an old pug watching the fight, “A lot like Marciano huh?”

    “Not really” the old man replied, “I wouldn’t say so. He fights more like Dempsey.” He stared at the young fan for a moment then turned his attention back to the screen. “But a guy your age wouldn’t know too much about Dempsey”, he said. There was almost a hint of sympathy in his retort.”

    There are a lot of similarities between Tyson and Dempsey. Reeves noted, “Like Tyson, Dempsey fought out of a crouch, constantly moving in a bobbing and weaving fashion so taller men would be forced to punch down at a mobile target. Both learned to pressure their way inside and unleash furious volleys of head and body punches. Both ended a lot of fights early with devastating power.” “

    Hmm, it appears that I am seeing boxers with my eyes and comparing like with like while you, Clarence, are seeing the word ‘Heavyweight’ and nothing else and not comparing like with like.

    ” They shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Ali, and Frazier.  Would they beat those true greats?  Maybe, but I doubt it.”

    Joe Frazier, if he was around today, would not be allowed in the ring with either K brother, having fought his entire career blind in one eye. How much of a slagging would you give either brother if they even fought an opponent who had only one good eye?

    Dempsey and Marciano would not be in the same division as either brother, btw. Joe Louis would be but he’d be borderline cruiserweight as well.

    Finally, Vitali Klitschko was a mile ahead on points against Chris Byrd when he retired, having suffered a shoulder injury. In no way can Byrd be said to have done a number on him and the other brother knocked Byrd out.

    There is no chance whatsoever of the brothers fighting each other. These are not the Gallagher (Liam and Noel), Knopfler (Mark and David), or Davies (Ray and Dave) brothers of boxing. They are extremely close and always have been. Complaining that they do not fight each other makes is like complaining there is oxygen in the air.

  31. Mike Schmidt 09:17am, 09/22/2013

    Ah yes Eric- “Dem waz da days”—Every Saturday a nice TV fight—Gil Clancy, Tim Ryan, Sean O’Grady—it brings tears to this miserable fuckers eyes—that and the fact that Bronson has his muzzle clamp on my arm a little toooo tight as we play scrap!!!  FOX TV GIVES US ALL YOU HAVE—THERE IS A WHOLE DEMOGRAPHIC SEGMENT PINING AWAY FOR DAILY COMPETITIVE GOOD SCRAPS- WE ARE BULLISH AS WELL!!!!!—Gregory looked frozen for that fight and it always surprised me that he lost to Rahway Scott.

  32. Eric 07:23am, 09/22/2013

    Yep, remember when Scott’s pushup routine was first revealed in his fight against then Eddie “The Flame” Gregory. Scott dominated the future champ and looked invincible that night. Scott got derailed by Jerry “The Bull” Martin, another worthy light heavy from that era, and then the “Camden Buzzsaw” polished off both Scott and Martin as contenders for good.

  33. Mike Schmidt 06:47am, 09/22/2013

    Sorry—got distracted by Bronson the Coyote/Shep dog. During Foster’s era and then right after—great bunch of Light Heavies—was at Kates and Ahumada, Pierre Fourie and Chris Finnegan- -ll guys with high skill sets- I would have to double check but I think Ring Magazine had Foster’s fight with Finnegan as its fight of the year. Oh and another guy, Hal Carroll, and yes Eric thanks for memory James Rahway Scott—what was it—1,000 push-ups a day!

  34. Mike Schmidt 06:39am, 09/22/2013

    Ritchie Kates, Jorge Ahumada…..........

  35. Eric 06:06am, 09/22/2013

    If a lot can be said about the quality of heavyweights during the Ali era, the same could be said about the light heavyweights during the Spinks era. Perhaps at no other time were the light heavyweights that rich in talent than when Spinks competed. The late 70’s and early 80’s could very well have been the golden era for the light heavyweight division. You had fighters like Victor Galindez, John Conteh, Saad Muhammad, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Dwight Qawi, Marvin Johnson, Mate Parlov, Yaqui Lopez, Eddie & Johnnie Davis, James Scott, Mike Rossman, Richie Kates, Jesse Burnett. That is a formidable bunch that would stack up in any era. Spinks beat three very good champs in Mustafa Muhammad, Marvin Johnson, and Dwight Qawi, and he bested worthwhile top-notch contenders Jonnie Davis and Yaqui Lopez. If the Spinks Jinx could rule in this era of 175lb monsters, I could very well see him being dominant in any other era.

  36. GlennR 05:13am, 09/22/2013

    Glad you acknowledge RJJ Clarence.
    I tend to agree with you regarding that class, there really hasnt been a dominant figure since RJJ.

    Pity, its probably my favourite class (tie for MW)

  37. Clarence George 05:10am, 09/22/2013

    Glenn:  With a few exceptions, such as Roy Jones Jr., the previous generations by a country mile:  Archie Moore, Billy Conn, Jimmy Bivins, Bob Foster, Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, Maxie Rosenbloom…  The names pretty much speak for themselves.

  38. GlennR 05:02am, 09/22/2013

    Glad you agree gents, i do love Bob.

    So talking LHW’s, and seeing as there is no weight difference, how do the new chaps go against the the old chaps?

    Clarence, Mike, Mr Flute…........ thoughts?

  39. Clarence George 04:57am, 09/22/2013

    Huge fan of Rocky, Mike.  One of my favorite heavyweights.  Hell, one of my favorite boxers, period.

  40. Mike Schmidt 04:56am, 09/22/2013

    Yep I go Foster over Spinks. That snake like jab, with juice on it, that Foster had along with lights out power in his prime Tiger years—that was something very special at Light Heavy—if the Jinx that he had problems with the Braxton/Qawi well…!!!!!!!

  41. Clarence George 04:53am, 09/22/2013

    Morning, Glenn.

    Oh, I haven’t the slightest objection to Jethro posting.  In fact, on the contrary—he gets my dander up, and that’s good for the ol’ circulatory system.

    I definitely pick Foster over Spinks.

  42. Mike Schmidt 04:47am, 09/22/2013

    Clarence do I detect the possibility that you just, just might, just, be a Marciano fan. Fuck now Frank the Bear will no doubt be buzzing me on a Sunday to bug the hell out of me. It is hard to measure just how great The Rocko was because he had something intrinsic that was better than darn near anybody—A HUGE HEART—how far does that take a guy like Marciano combined with an always superb conditioning. Did he miss a lot of shots—sure—but his was born of throw throw like a machine, hit you on the forearms, biceps, shoulders, Adam’s apple, and toss in the here and there elbow etc etc. He was of course much more than a simple crude brawler—if he had been simply that he would have, somewhere along that 49th line, been stretched. I suspect his punching power and inside fighting, along with his low submarine like style, would have compensated for his lack of size in today’s era in terms of competing at top level—does he beat these big boys- well how the fuck would I know—I know what Frank the Bear would say…..I am probably going to hear it today thanks Clarence!!!!

  43. GlennR 04:39am, 09/22/2013

    Evening Clarence. Yes, Mr Flutes understanding of boxing is fundamental at best in my opinion.
    Having said that, i respect his opinion and would encourage him to post further.

    On a slight tangent, i just watched the spinks-holmes fight which confirms my thoughts on holmes and can i say spinks as well.

    Is it just me or would Bob Foster destroy Spinks?

  44. Mike Schmidt 04:37am, 09/22/2013

    Best post Ali Heavy Magoon—I would have to go with Lennox. Now having said that what always makes a Tyson of extreme interest is the possible landing of a one punch shot on a Lennox whiskeroooo—In terms of the size debate—well Byrd did a number on a still learning Klits brother—Roy Jones took Ruiz to school. All that aside, regardless of size, time period, Flute I am interesting—would you please give us your top ten. Ten guys, forget the time, the weight, in their prime, on the very best night- who do you have as the top ten ass kicking bad arse Big Boys of all time!!! Ten guys, let’s play “Twilight Zone” or “Time Tunnel” or “Land of the Giants” here—I don’t even care if you have Joe Gans moving up to knock out one of the Ukrainian pugilists with a jab to the cranium—please give us your top ten—it is an open forum—your points are well taken… top ten arse kickers please please

  45. Clarence George 04:30am, 09/22/2013

    Jethro’s Flute:  I’ve come across this argument before, and am no less flummoxed by it now than I was on those previous occasions.  Dempsey, Tunney, Marciano, and Charles were heavyweights; they are still so considered.  The introduction of the cruiserweight division doesn’t retroactively render them cruisers.  Buying into your contention inevitably implies that a historical comparison of heavyweights can’t date further back than 30 years.  That’s prima facie absurd.

    I’m borrowing Marciano’s “0” to make abundantly clear that that’s exactly what you know about boxing if you truly think Tyson would beat him and the other heavyweight champs mentioned “by one punch knockout in the first round.”  And not only a demonstration of rank ignorance, but of a smug contempt for among our greatest heavyweights and irreplaceable treasures of the ring.

  46. GlennR 03:52am, 09/22/2013

    Mr Flute, your argument is just too simple. You are basing everything on size.
    Referring to your comments here…

    “No one who weighed under 190lbs could have fought for the heavyweight title after 1979 when the cruiserweight division was introduced. That is why I refer to Marciano, Dempsey, Charles, Tunney et al as cruiserweights and why I say that Tyson would beat them by one punch knockout in the first round.”

    Just because the gents mentioned were smaller than Tyson, why does that instantly mean they would lose?
    Using your logic Primo Carnera was a world beater!

    Mate, your argument is flawed from the start

  47. Jethro's Flute 03:28am, 09/22/2013

    “Mr Flute, where’s our rules of boxing explanation? “


    No one who weighed under 190lbs could have fought for the heavyweight title after 1979 when the cruiserweight division was introduced. That is why I refer to Marciano, Dempsey, Charles, Tunney et al as cruiserweights and why I say that Tyson would beat them by one punch knockout in the first round.

    In the early noughties, the cruiserweight division limit was changed to 200lbs and the weigh-ins are the day before the match so cruiserweights enter the ring at about 210-215 lbs which makes them a lot bigger than many 60s and 70s heavyweights.

    It is mentioned that Mike Spinks was scared of Tyson. This is because, apart from Tyson’s height, Tyson was bigger than him and faster than him. The same would apply to Ezzard Charles for example. If Charles had been born in 1961 instead of 1921, he’d have fought at light-heavyweight and cruiserweight and that’s why I mention the rules of boxing.

    This is explanation is absolutely piss-easy and requires only simple thought to figure out.

    That’s why I insist on like for like comparisons and why it drives me spare that people think that Marciano, for example, would beat Mike Tyson.

    Marciano was under the cruiserweight limit and was not an accurate puncher, missing nearly two thirds of his punches against Archie Moore who was on the ropes.

    How exactly is he going to beat Mike Tyson, when he would be standing right in front of him with his fragile skin and slow start?

    Marciano vs Dempsey is, at least, a good match up as they would both be cruiserweights in the modern era and their styles are quite similar.

    This will probably be ignored by some of the posters on this page but I had to speak my piece.

  48. Magoon 03:09am, 09/22/2013

    Iron Mike was the best post-Ali heavyweight. If Cus D’Amato had lived, Tyson would be today among the best 5 heavyweights of all time. As it is, he’s no better than between 15 and 20.

  49. Mike Schmidt 12:57am, 09/22/2013

    GlennR the pig was superb and the Serbs put on a feast—a passionate people—Lord what a spread—the lovely Suzanna had to roll me home!!! Back to business—Fearless Editor it would be awesome as I once again read your article if Fox/Mr. Bloom did a similar exercise on Mr. Holyfield- -is current status comparative to his ear biting dance partner would be an interesting juxtaposition. Now, in terms of the Iron Fisted brothers, who are always in shape, have perfected there craft, and most certainly are to be admired—how would they have done, in their prime, against a guy who most certainly knew the in’s and out’s of the sweet science and all the subtle moves, in his prime, Chris Byrd—cause Chris sure did a number on a older Iron Fist- pre perfection of craft. Byrd played a different strategy against the big boy- -e did not try and break down the big fella’s darn near impregnable defence—he forced the big boy to come get him and did what Chris Byrd did very well—and slip sliding away from the Iron Fisted one.

  50. Clarence George 05:33pm, 09/21/2013

    Thanks, Ted.

    I’m pleasantly surprised that there’s some agreement (Glenn, Eric) regarding Holmes and his era.  So many rave about him, which I always found astonishing.

    No, Glenn, I don’t mind hearing about the Klitschkos—it gives me the opportunity to deride them.

  51. Ted the Bull 04:55pm, 09/21/2013

    cg, I like your top ten as well and mine would pretty much like it and clearly not include Tyson. His prime was meteoric but not lengthy. His entire body of work detracts from his legacy.

  52. Ted the Bull 04:50pm, 09/21/2013

    Eric , an excellent top ten

  53. Ted the Bull 04:46pm, 09/21/2013

    Mike Schmidt says “In no way are the majority of fighters today even remotely as skilled as those of the forties and fifties.” Maybe yes, maybe no.

    A live debate on this issue and, by extension, New School vs. Old School would be relished by yours truly. Mike Silver says his book was written to end the debate. Not a bad line and he makes great arguments. But I am far from convinced and I DO see myself as an historian when it comes to that period. In fact, I saw many live fights back then just as I see many live one today and during the period 1948-present . I know the ins and outs of boxing. about as well as anyone and I know what I saw the and I know what I see now. .Granted, YouTube and better footage has leveled the playing field.

    The business model was different from 1945-the late 50’s and then began to change over time until today we have an entirely different scenario that includes a surge of European fighters and a surge of monster heavyweights.

    Lets have a live debate if at all possible—or something close.

  54. Ted the Bull 04:31pm, 09/21/2013

    Jethro’s Flute, your comments about Shavers are spot on. I once wrote about that and the site it appeared on sent a possess out to hang me. But I stood my ground. Ernie did not have as many clean one punch KO’s as people might think. He could stun, but he often had issues closing.

  55. GlennR 04:05pm, 09/21/2013

    With you on the Holmes era Eric, even as a boy i remember the press saying how poor it was and, on the whole, i think they were right.
    But you know what, that doest take anything away from Larry…... you can only fight who’s in front of you.

    You eating that pig yet Mike?
    Mr Flute, where’s our rules of boxing explanation?
    Clarence, are you ok with all this talk about the Klitschkos? I know it upsets you!
    Talking of pig, its Sunday morning here and im off for bacon and eggs at my favourite cafe.

  56. Eric 02:44pm, 09/21/2013

    I would say the era that Larry Holmes ruled the heavyweights was a terrible era and even more lacking than today. Ali’s greatest claim to being numero uno is his impressive list of opponents and the amount of quality fighters he fought. Not impressed with Dempsey, Marciano, or Joe Louis list of opponents, however. Look at some of Holmes’s fights before he won the title, other than his 1978 win over the one dimensional Earnie Shavers, the biggest name that comes up is Roy Williams, who was knocked out by Shavers himself. Holmes’s pre-title record of opponents are names like Jerry Judge, Ernie Smith, and Duane Bobick’s brother Rodney. Now look at some of the people who challenged for Holmes’s title, names like Alfredo Evangelista, Ossie Ocasio, Leroy Jones, Lucien Rodriguez, Scott Frank, ugh!! Mike Weaver, Bonecrusher Smith, Witherspoon, Carl Williams all gave Larry some anxious moments, and some think he lost to Williams and Witherspoon. Larry Holmes was another benefactor of a totally lackluster era.  As bad as people say today’s era of heavyweights are, I can guarantee you that by living and watching that era of heavyweights known as the Man Boob Era, that today’s big boys are no worse than the Larry Holmes era.

  57. Clarence George 02:14pm, 09/21/2013

    Ha!  Right you are, Frank, though I think Miss Warwick did indeed do a version of the song.

  58. FrankinDallas 02:07pm, 09/21/2013

    One less bell to answer,
    One less egg to fry.

    The Fifth Dimension.

  59. Clarence George 01:56pm, 09/21/2013

    Jeez, Mike, so many bells to answer.  Wasn’t that a song?  Dionne Warwick?

    Well, let me say this much:  I’m in the minority on this, but I don’t have (never did) a high opinion of the post-Ali heavyweight era.  The only exception is Tyson…until he fell apart like cardboard in the rain.  Even the Ali era left a lot to be desired.  At his best, he was amazing.  Trouble is, he was rarely at his best—unless he was fighting Frazier and a relative handful of others, he pretty much mailed it in.  Also, his behavior outside the ring did a lot of damage to the sport in general and the division in particular.  He was far more ridiculous than charming, and sometimes just plain nasty.  Frazier resented him till the day he died, and for good reason.  Tony Galento eventually made amends for his outrageous behavior toward Joe Louis, who understandably hated “Two Ton” for awhile.  Louis forgave him, they became friends, and they died at peace with each other.  That’s how it should have been between Ali and Frazier…but wasn’t.  Not that Ali was really a son of a bitch—he just wasn’t nearly as funny as he thought he was.

    As for the Klitschkos…massively unimpressed.  Symbols of how far boxing, the heavyweights in particular, has fallen.  The best of an awful lot, they’re nothing but Ivan Dragos.  I can’t believe history will ever rate them as great.  God, I hope not.  They shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, Ali, and Frazier.  Would they beat those true greats?  Maybe, but I doubt it.  Even if they did, it would be because of their freakish size and strength, not because they’re the better boxers. 

    No, no Klitschkos on my list.

    Oh, and Mike:  It’s always a good day for a pig roast.

  60. FrankinDallas 01:52pm, 09/21/2013

    Lot’s of great comments here, but let me submit a very simple evaluation of Tyson vs Anyone Else: if he intimidates you, you lose. If he doesn’t, you stand a very good chance of defeating him. Seldon, Spinks, Pinklon, Bruno etc were scared shitless BEFORE they got in the ring and Tyson manhandled them. Douglas, Holyfield, Lewis were not the least bit frightened and they manhandled HIM. Wild card here is if Tyson hits you with a clean punch….that was his equalizer.
    So if you’re talking Dempsey, Liston, Langford, hell throw John L Sullivan in there too: I can’t see any of them being frightened of Tyson, so they all have a shot.

  61. Jim Crue 01:43pm, 09/21/2013

    At the risk of beating a dead horse…I don’t think anyone has mentioned that Mike was a front runner. He was like Rubin Carter in that way, He didn’t like to be hit back. I defer to Teddy Atlas on that.
    As an aside, when Tyson was walking into the ring for the Buster Douglas fight I looked at him and said to my friends, “he’s going to lose”. I am no expert or prophet but he looked beat coming in. My friends laughed at me but for once I was right.

  62. Mike Schmidt 01:34pm, 09/21/2013

    PS—Flute are you going to give us your all-time top ten Heavy List?? Would/should be interesting.

  63. Mike Schmidt 01:32pm, 09/21/2013

    VERY INTERESTING FLUTE- I never had given consideration to a fantasy match up between “The Body Snatcher” and Hagler. I thought Mike got the shaft in both Toney fights. I gotta go with Mike over Hagler. The thing people sometimes forget about Mike, and it was clear as day in his fights with Mr. K.O. Julian Jackson, and as well with the heavy fisted H. Graham—Mike had a great set of whiskers, tremendous stamina, and could bust you up inside and outside with both hands. On BUSTER DOUGLAS—Buster was a man on, in his own mind, an ordained mission, having lost his mother some three weeks before the fight. The fight also showed what kind of problems Tyson had with a big man who had a long hard stiff jab. Tyson of course at that point had all kinds of issues- he had dropped Rooney as his trainer, his corner, to be charitable was “interesting” if you look at the in corner fight work that loss, he was having managerial issues, and of course had the whole Robin Ms. Givens thing going on. Getting dropped hard in sparring a few days before the fight by a Greg Page right hand said a whole lot as to where his mind was at that point.

  64. Jethro's Flute 11:45am, 09/21/2013

    Having not read the responses to my earlier posts, I’ll just add another fighter to my list of those who could beat Mike Tyson:

    James Buster Douglas.

    Obviously, Douglas did beat Tyson who took his opponent way too lightly but Douglas might have had his number anyway. Douglas trained unusually hard for the match, believing he did have Tyson’s number and fought with more belief than he had ever done, for this reason.

    If Douglas and Tyson had rematched and Douglas won again, he could definitely be said to have his number.

    The same might be said of Lennox Lewis who is, after all, older than Mike Tyson which does put talk of Tyson being past his prime when they fought.

    One other thing, when making up fantasy match-ups, one should always compare like with like.

    This means avoiding matching men who would have been in different divisions if they fought in the modern era.

    Good match-ups, to my mind, would be Mike McCallum vs Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns vs Sugar Ray Robinson at 154lbs, Michael Spinks vs Bob Foster and Larry Holmes (aged 30) against Muhammad Ali (also aged 30).

    Wondering how men who would have been well under the cruiserweight limit when Mike Tyson was heavyweight champion is completely daft and even more daft when wondering how they would do against the Klitschko brothers.

  65. Mike Schmidt 11:32am, 09/21/2013

    Can’t argue your points Eric because they are solid, valid, and persuasive. They do get to my other point—when you look at most of these Champs their definitive legacy type fights are somewhat narrow—possibly two or three guys on the hit list. Let’s take Dempsey or Marciano for instance—claim to fame—beating the hell out of Willard—and believe me as you no doubt see from my posts I love Dempsey’s clear ferocity and hitting power. And Marciano—probably beating hell out of two guys past the ticktock in Walcott and Charles. MAYBE ERIC, JUST MAYBE CHAMP ALI’S QUOTE IS BEST. WHEN ASKED HOW HE WOULD PLACE HIMSELF IN HEAVYWEIGHT LEGACY HE SIMPLY SAID ‘’ I WOULD LIKE TO BE REMMEBERED AS THE BEST OF MY ERA. I THINK THAT IS A FAIR THING.”  Hell, the rest is friendly banter with all you lads who clearly know your boxing big time. Which gets us back to FLUTE OF JETHRO—GET OFF YOUR STOOL AND COME BACK OUT PUNCHING—GIVE US YOUR TOP TEN HEAVY LIST PLEASE AND THANKS. GLENN THINKS HE IS GETTING BY WITH THE SHOULDER ROLL AND CLARENCE ... CLARENCE.. WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU CLARENCE—GET BACK IN THE RING HERE SIR. The only thing stopping the lovely Suzanna from forcing me out the door to a party with a bunch of Serbians roasting a big fucking pig on a stick is the chance to respond to you guys. Not that I don’t like my Serbian buddies or a nice slab of pig but it is raining up here—shitty day for a pig roast. Much rather see you guys roast each other!!!!

  66. Eric 11:22am, 09/21/2013

    All any fighter can do is face what is available at the time. I would certainly put the Klits competition up next to Dempseys, Marcianos, and Louises, but not Ali’s list of opponents. Seriously, I can’t in see the Klits having trouble at all with a Luis Firpo, a 175lb Tommy Gibbons or Georges Carpentier, or a bloated 205lb Don Cockell, a 184lb Roland LaStarza, or even a 212lb, 37 year old Joe Louis with a tumor visible on his shoulder. Speaking of Louis, can you imagine a 170lb Billy Conn being ahead after 13 rounds against Wlad? Hell, can you even imagine Conn being around after 13 rounds against Wlad? Jersey Joe knocked Lousi down four times in two fights and actually won the first. Some say Chilean Arturo Godoy might have deserved the nod in his first fight with Louis. There are no opponents that Dempsey, Marciano, or Louis beat that I don’t think the Klits wouldn’t beat also. And the only Ali opponents who would have a chance against either Lewis or the Klit brothers would be Liston and Foreman. Frazier was just simply too small, too predictable, and was tailor made for any of the three modern day heavies. Norton, Quarry, Lyle, Shavers, Young, Bonavena, Chuvalo, Ellis, Bugner, nope, they were a good bunch of fighters but I don’t see any of them beating Lewis or the Klits. Interestingly, I can see that list of Ali opponents fairing very well in the Dempsey, Louis, or Marciano era though. I’ve no doubt that Quarry would have been champ in either Dempsey, Louis, or Marciano’ s era if he fought the same competition.

  67. Mike Schmidt 10:51am, 09/21/2013

    Add on—most of these guys today don’t even work the jab—when a guy like Floyd starts pumping that jab from various angles or a guy like Mikey Garcia ramrods a guy with not one, not two, but three in a row with force—well hell you can’t help but smile because so many fighters today don’t even work there way in with the jab. I lament Sirs—adios for now.

  68. Mike Schmidt 10:47am, 09/21/2013

    Interesting lists from all. Eric your points are well taken. I would say or feel this though and fully agree with the quote C.G. gives from Doug: In no way are the majority of fighters today even remotely as skilled as those of the forties and fifties. There are the exceptions with the obvious being Floyd- are today-s group superior athletes, generally speaking, yes. Skills, hell half these guys do not either know how or just have not had enough steady fighting action to allow muscle memory to take over to: slip and roll, move the head, fire a punch to move the head where you want the second shot to go (something Floyd does exceptionally well), parry a punch, catch a jab and throw a jab back, work on the inside instead of looking at the ref like it is immediately time to break—hell I could go on and on. Interesting points you do make Eric—one thing as I look at most of the fighters—when you actually look at their records the actually definitive fights against top top grade guys is usually not that large in number. There are the exceptions like Ali and Robinson, Charles, Moore, etc etc who have a who’s who of Hall of Famers on their notches. Look at a guy like Larry Holmes who I personally think would be top flight competitive against any Heavy—what would be Larry’s big Hall of Fame, legacy type fights—probably Kenny Norton, Cooney, possibly Shavers. What about Ali—probably Frazier, Foreman and Liston. What names put the Iron Fisted brother ones on the top ten????

  69. Eric 10:17am, 09/21/2013

    I do agree that past fighters were mentally and physically tougher than today’s fighters and in SOME cases more skillful. But that can be debated also when you look at some of the past champs like Baer or Marciano, both of these fighters, particularly Baer would often look like rank novices. But as clumsy as a Baer, Marciano, or Foreman were, their power, or in Marciano’s case fitness allowed them to dominate their competition. Just as fitness, will or determination, or power is an attribute so then is physical size.  It is hard for me not to rank heavyweight fighters on how they would do in head to head matchups against each other. Good example, it is hard for me to rank Frazier above Foreman when Foreman completely dominated Joe in there two matchups, even though we all know that styles make fights. I would venture to say that either Klit or Lewis would’ve dominated the Dempsey era, the Louis era, the Marciano era, and maybe even the Ali era. The Klits and Lewis will be no different from the other fighters in that their reputations will grow and perhaps with nostalgia exceed their true skills with the passage of time. Go back and look at some of the articles written about say Marciano while he was champ and look at what was written about him 30 years after his retirement. Somehow Marciano’s reputation got better. Same thing will happen with the Klits.

  70. Clarence George 09:51am, 09/21/2013

    Eric:  Regarding your contention that modern-day athletes are superior…in some respects, that’s true, but as Doug Fischer recently said in response to just this issue, boxers of yore “had skills and the kind of poise and ring generalship that only comes from fighting often; they were tough as nails, they were conditioned (physically and mentally) to fight hard for 15 rounds, and they almost never quit.”

    I of course agree with him.  As a general rule, and in a host of ways, yesterday’s boxers were vastly superior to today’s.

  71. Eric 09:19am, 09/21/2013

    I find that fighters curiously often get better years after they retire. Marciano wasn’t thought that highly of while he was champion, and Louis’s “Bum of the Month Club” was somewhat warranted.  Modern large champions like Lewis and the Klit brothers would have held the title just as long as Louis had they faced the Brown Bomber’s list of title challengers. Louis probably gained a great deal of his reputation in his march towards the title defeating past their prime champs like Max Baer, Primo Carnera, and Jack Sharkey. Sorry, but I can’t see anyone of those opponents bothering any of the modern day champs at all. Baer was almost void of any scientific boxing skills at all, and those powerful wild haymakers he threw would have casually been avoided by most modern day heavyweights. While I will list Ali and Louis ahead of the modern day giants like Lewis, and the Klit brothers, I do so on overall fighting skills only, in head to head matchups I really would have a hard time picking either one them to beat Lewis or the Klit brothers. Just as some would rate Frazier a better overall fighter than Foreman, but we all saw what happened when they actually met in the ring. Unlike other weight classes where there is a weight limit, size does play a role in the heavyweight division. Look at the Primo Carnera vs Tommy Loughran bout. Now we all know how inept Carnera was but his sheer size and strength allowed him to best one of boxing’s more skilled fighters. A welterweight of 1947 is a welterweight of 2013 but what would have been a heavyweight of the same era would hardly even be a cruiserweight of today. So size must be taken into account. I remember when Ali and Holmes ruled the heavies and people would point out that fighters like Marciano and Dempsey were simply too small to compete against “modern” heavyweights. Well, now it is 2013 and heavyweights from the bygone 70’s and 80’s are small compared to the modern day fighters.

  72. Eric 09:00am, 09/21/2013

    Damn it Jim, I left off George Foreman, place Foreman. Place Foreman at #8 and move Marciano to #9, Frazier to #10, and Dempsey falls to #11.

  73. Matt McGrain 08:59am, 09/21/2013

    My problem with labelling the Klitschko brothers “dominant”, Eric, is that they never met the other great fighter of their time - one another.  In other words, the division has been ruled two-headed.  Vitali has sucked a lot of the o2 out of the division that would have allowed Wlad’s greatness to burn, and he can never reclaim it by meeting him for obvious reasons.

    So I would have to dispute the notion that either one is dominant.  Vitali’s resume *absolutely does not support this notion* and whilst Wlad’s is more like it, it is still missing “denied” challengers, and the #2 HW of his era.

  74. Eric 08:47am, 09/21/2013

    My top 10 would look like this

    1. Muhammad Ali
    2. Joe Louis
    3. Wlad Klitschko
    4. Lennox Lewis
    5. Vitali Klitschko
    6. Mike Tyson
    7. Sonny Liston
    8. Rocky Marciano
    9. Joe Frazier
    10. Jack Dempsey

    I know this list looks far fetched and quite different from the usual lists, but I try to think outsided the box. The most common top 10 lists always list Ali and Louis and as the top 2 which I will go along with, I can’t dispute Ali’s quality of opponents and Louis’s lengthy title reign, however, the Klit brothers have been dominant nearly as long as Louis. Nostalgia often clouds our judgements and opinions. My favorite heavyweight is Marciano and until recently I too would rank him top 5, but looking at it realistically, Marciano was lucky to come along at a time where the heavyweight division was quite lacking. His name opponents were all past their prime, and only Louis even weighed more than 200lbs. Marciano is one heavyweight who I find sometimes is underrated because of his small size and overrated because of his undefeated record. Jack Johnson, another heavweight who routinely falls in the top 5 on many lists, is IMO probably the most overrated of the usual top five lists which almost always include Ali, Louis, Marciano, Johnson, and Dempsey. I made a joke earlier about Babe Ruth not being able to hit a Nolan Ryan fastball, but there is probably a great deal of truth to that. Whether we wish to admit it or not, athletes do get better as time goes on. Those Green Bay Packers of the mid-Sixties probably would be lucky to win 2 or 3 games against todays more modern, bigger, faster, stronger teams.

  75. Matt McGrain 08:17am, 09/21/2013

    I think in recent years, his defences have been woeful, but he’s beaten good fighters.  When he adds Povetkin - and likely the lineal heavyweight title - in October, he’s beaten a huge swathe of top heavies.  Vitali will always elude him for obvious reasons, and Valuev would have been nice but he’s beaten a good range, and all of them big boys.  Mos def the best heavy post Lewis, a period of time approaching ten years.

  76. Clarence George 08:00am, 09/21/2013

    Yes, but a lot of them haven’t been too impressive, though I always liked Samuel Peter.

  77. Matt McGrain 06:50am, 09/21/2013

    Boy beat a lot of contenders…

  78. Clarence George 06:45am, 09/21/2013

    I think we discussed this once before, Matt—you have Charles just above Walcott, while my ranking is just the opposite.

    Sullivan would do more than just “nudge” Klitschko, let me tell youse!

    You couldn’t pay me to have Wlad on my list.  Well, you could, but it would cost you a pretty penny.  Or pence.  Or whatever it is you use over there.

  79. Mike Schmidt 06:37am, 09/21/2013

    Other note Fearless Editor. Tyson may be a Dickens Christmas Carol story in the ” I ended up okay” department but one only need look at the post fight card press conference of the recent Turning Stone Casino card and Champion Tyson’s comments of proudly telling the media he was clean and sober for a FEW DAYS to see that every day must be a challenge, which, again, in of itself makes Mike a very very interesting human being. He is flawed in many ways, he knows it, and he also is not ashamed to use it to his advantage perhaps, or in humility let everybody know- tough guy and tough guy to figure out. Tyson also gets great latitude where others would get roasted. His comment that the Turning Stone Casino had him as excited as a homosexuals first day in prison of course draws some nasty bias that all gay people would just love a first day in prison. His comments on Lance Armstrong—sorry but Lance did hurt people and not directly in the physical sense that Iron Mike alludes too but Lance devastated many many people and involved many many people in legal actions that were draining if not financially but mentally and physically. I want to eat your children etc etc- well it is no wonder we remember Mike—it is no wonder we follow his day to day, hopefully he remains “okay” for whatever “okay’ is for a guy like Champion Tyson. In terms of his being sober I could only think his AA group would cringe at the idea of putting him a Casino setting where booze and temptation is part of the preprogrammed action.

  80. Matt McGrain 06:33am, 09/21/2013

    I got Sam at #16.  Then Charles, above Walcott, then Jackson, above Corbett - Tunney below these.  I exclude Sullivan from my rankings, but if I did otherwise, I think he probably nudges Wlad out of the 15.

  81. Clarence George 06:27am, 09/21/2013

    Matt:  I’d have Jackson somewhere between 16 and 20.

    By the way, I used to have Tyson just below Tunney, at number 10, but replaced him with Langford about a year ago.

  82. Mike Schmidt 06:23am, 09/21/2013

    Mr. Bloom if you want a real CHARACTER, ALL TIME GREAT, RISE, FALL, RISE, FALL RISE AGAIN with a Hollywood movie coming out soon—ROBERTO DURAN. He is in great shape, wonderful to visit at his restaurant in Panama City, and if he shows for one of the huge fight cards at Roberto Duran Stadium in Panama well there is nothing like the electricity. There are oh so many boxing personalities…..Flute get back off your stool and give these guys your top ten. Come out hard—Glenn likes that shoulder roll….......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eric can we have your top ten??

  83. Matt McGrain 06:20am, 09/21/2013

    I guess of the guys you have above Tyson, GT is the guy who really sticks out.  I think Gene was undoubtedly a great fighter, no question, but I do not rank him as a great heavy. He simply does not have the depth of resume necessary to be considered such IMO.

    Corbett - if he is in your top 10, where would you put Jackson? I have those two close, somewhere around 20.

  84. Clarence George 06:13am, 09/21/2013

    With your permission, Matt, I have to go on record:  I completely, however respectfully, disagree with that list of yours.  My top 10, if I may be so bold:

    Joe Louis
    Muhammad Ali
    Jack Johnson
    Rocky Marciano
    Jack Dempsey
    John L. Sullivan
    James J. Corbett
    Joe Frazier
    Gene Tunney
    Sam Langford

    I’m not sure of the order of the following five, but it would include Mike Tyson, Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles, James J. Jeffries, and Sonny Liston.  The next level would include Tom Sharkey, Bob Fitzsimmons…

  85. Matt McGrain 05:56am, 09/21/2013

    I think Mike slots into the lower reaches of a top 10 at HW.  Something like:

    01 - Muhammad Ali
    02 - Joe Louis
    03 - Rocky Marciano
    04 - Lennox Lewis
    05 - Joe Frazier
    06 - Larry Holmes
    07 - MIKE TYSON
    08 - George Foreman
    09 - Evander Holyfield
    10 - Sonny LIston
    11 - Jim Jeffries
    12 - Jack Johnson
    13 - Harry Wills
    14 - Jack Dempsey
    15 - Wlad Klitschko

    I can’t see him lower than #10.  I think he must be ahead of Jeffries.

  86. Clarence George 05:45am, 09/21/2013

    Ha!  Well done, Glenn.

  87. GlennR 05:40am, 09/21/2013

    “delightfully pompous”, nicely put Clarence, i look forward to Mr Flutes response.

    Oh, for your information sparring went well today. I Mayweather shoulder rolled the young guys to death and they left in boredom.

    Win win for the 48yo!

  88. Clarence George 05:31am, 09/21/2013

    Well, Glenn, I always try, though not always successfully, to see the lighter side.  I mean, that whole “rules of boxing” business is so delightfully pompous.

  89. Clarence George 05:25am, 09/21/2013

    Mike:  What about a segment on boxers who suffered indignities and downright brutalities in their later years?  Jimmy Wilde, Jimmy Bivins, Sandy Saddler…not a short list, unfortunately.

    By the way, since you’re a lawyer and a Canadian…does Steven Truscott’s name still pop up on occasion?  Fascinating case.

  90. GlennR 05:20am, 09/21/2013

    Youre a kinder soul than me Clarence, i find him annoying and his belligerent tone even more so.

    By all means, have an opinion, but respect others as well

  91. Clarence George 05:17am, 09/21/2013

    I, too, find that perplexing, Glenn, but amusing.  It reminds me so very much of Glenway Wescott storming out of a literary get-together because his fellow writers couldn’t maintain “proper parlor decorum.”

  92. Mike Schmidt 05:17am, 09/21/2013

    Ya got me CG—and I am Canadian—I hope Joni is not mad—Judy also sang da song—but I think Joni wrote it. Now back to this Fox business—there are a litany of figures that come to mind that would be very very interesting—Michael Nunn—once considered the very best Middle in the world—ending up where he did—a shame. Oscar, in and out of rehab…. sad sad songs…and then of course there are the positives… George Chuvalo, all that loss in his life, and still rocking on the road doing his say no to drugs presentations to High School kids all over North America. The metaphor for much in life this boxing business—GO GET THAT BULLISH ON BOXING FOX/ MR. BLOOM. PUT ON COMPELLING FIGURES, COMPELLING FIGHTS AND IT IS STILL, STILL, STILL THE BEST SPORT IN THE WORLD.

  93. Clarence George 05:10am, 09/21/2013

    Again with the rules of boxing?  Anyway, I’m happy to concede that arithmetic was never my strong suit.

    Judy Collins.  Sorry, Mike, but…Yecch!  Anyway, I thought “Both Sides, Now” was Joni Mitchell.

  94. Mike Schmidt 05:10am, 09/21/2013

    Flute- I think part of this Fox show illuminates what we are all in agreement on and why we have so many back and forths on Tyson. It is hard to really decide where to place him in his greatness—so much wasted talent, so much squandered—as said before—if he had not been distracted, if he had stuck to the hardened discipline, long term, of focus and training of his craft as a professional fighter/boxer, well, Lord only knows where his legacy would now stand. I am interested Flute, and I am just throwing this out and not as an argument, as to what you would consider as your personal top ten Heavies of all time—would you give us your one through ten please.

  95. GlennR 05:10am, 09/21/2013

    What “rules of boxing” has anyone ignored here Jethro?

  96. Mike Schmidt 05:02am, 09/21/2013

    Other quick thought Mr. Editor. The last few lines of your article are exciting! Why? Well, Mr. Bloom in a few short words captures all that is of boxing; What’s more primal, what’s more exciting, what is more sweeter when done well technically, and “It’s so close, it’s so stripped down. It’s the real thing.” I do not know Mr. Bloom or of his background but man oh man that short little concise statement THAT IS BOXING. And that is what we, the fan, the paying patron of entertainment look for. LASTLY, WHEN A BUSINESS PERSON LIKE MR. BLOOM, IN HIS POSITION, STATES THAT HIS NETWORK IS BULLISH ON BOXING WELL THEN LADIES AND GENTS TURN ON YOUR TVs—ANY FRIEND OF BOXING…..Again Sir Robert—well done. Mr. Bloom your comments on boxing, and boxing as the entertainment business, to use your own words, up close, exciting…

  97. Jethro's Flute 05:00am, 09/21/2013

    “And am I right (despite my inability to count) that he thinks there’s only one boxer, Holyfield, who could beat Tyson, albeit merely on points?  But only in 1991, and assuming the moon had been in the seventh house.  That, too, is amusing”

    No, I said that young George Foreman would beat him and that a young Ali would probably beat him and that Holmes and Joe Louis could beat him.

    I also reckon that Lennox Lewis would be favourite over a prime Tyson and that Tyson would definitely struggle with both Klitschko brothers who both could beat him.

    Actually, I was going to log off this conversation anyway but people who ignore the rules of boxing deserve to have the rules pointed out them.

  98. Mike Schmidt 04:52am, 09/21/2013

    Yes, perfect, Sir Robert, Fearless Editor and totally agree. This Fox enterprise on Tyson reminds me of one of the all time acclaimed SPORTS books, “Once They Heard The Cheers” by W.C HEINZ where the author visits great athletes of a generation or so back—he visits them in their current environs to look back at their careers and where they are now. Beau Jack in the basement of the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami shining shoes, “The Primitive,” Asking for direction in a small town upstate New York to find Floyd Patterson’s home and visit his boxing gym a short walk from the house…Visiting Willie Pep who is teaching physical fitness classes to some young lads and having a back and forth on the phone with his wife about picking up a TV THE DIFFERENCE ON THIS FOX SHOW—Like the acclaimed Heinz book it does as mentioned above but Fox, in looking backward, is pointing us forward… Yes Fearless Editor Tyson is a Phoenix from the ashes, mythical, many times over. The question is if he will be Icarus much to close to the sun, having those wax wings burn to a crash at some point. Mr. Bloom hits it out of the ballpark on such a short thought on Tyson-“He is a fighter”—all the ups and downs in Tyson’s life, personal and professional, and here is, still working at being relevant, still being relevant, still engrossing and captivating us…and Mr. Bloom reminds us perhaps, in speaking of Tyson’s current outlook, of perhaps that old Judy Collins hit where she sings “I look at both sides now….”

  99. Clarence George 04:51am, 09/21/2013

    Am I the only one who finds Jethro (or Flute) leaving in such high dudgeon not only unwarranted but also amusing?  And am I right (despite my inability to count) that he thinks there’s only one boxer, Holyfield, who could beat Tyson, albeit merely on points?  But only in 1991, and assuming the moon had been in the seventh house.  That, too, is amusing.

  100. Jethro's Flute 04:18am, 09/21/2013

    “Liston fought cruiserweights? There was not even a cruiserweight division in those days.”

    No but the men he fought weighed under the cruiserweight limit. If Liston and Floyd Patterson were 20 years younger and fought in 1982 instead of 1962, it would have been quite a big heavyweight by 1982 standards against a cruiserweight.

    I’m off. I’m not wasting time with people who can’t count and refuse to think and ignore the rules of boxing.

  101. Jethro's Flute 04:11am, 09/21/2013

    Gene Tunney - yet another contender for greatest light-heavyweight.

    Such men have precisely no chance against Mike Tyson.

    “It’s not a World’s Strongest Man competition, Flute of Jethro.  If it were, we’d be focusing on Mark Henry.  There’s more to boxing than size and strength,  even at the heavyweight division.  And another thing:  Tyson never faced anyone who had the experience, savvy, and toughness of the guys of yesteryear, and that’s particularly true of Langford.”

    Yes, Tyson was also fast and accurate. Tyson never faced anyone under 190lbs, just like Sam Langford was. There is plenty of footage of Mike Tyson to watch and none of Sam Langford.

    What you are really saying is that boxing declined from before the first world and the mid to late 1980s. I make no further comment on that.

    “And did someone really say he would take out Ezzard Charles in one round?? Spinks was scared stiff and was no Ezzard Charles. And because Charles was knocked out by Walcott he had a bad chin? Bob Satterfield flattened him and he got up to win.”

    Yes, Tyson to beat Charles by one-punch knockout in the first round and faster than Michael Spinks who had never been on the canvas before facing Tyson. Charles was on the canvas many times at cruiserweight.

    What kind of divisions does boxing have again? Height divisions, reach divisions, age divisions?

    “Tyson does not beat the HW swarmers because Tyson could not fight on the inside.”

    Wrong. He couldn’t fight on the inside against bigger, heavier men who were strong enough to hold on. Marciano, Dempsey and the one-eyed Frazier were lighter than Tyson with nowhere near the strength to hold on and survive and that is all that Tucker, Smith and Green did. They still lost.

    Liston? Google this - “Sonny Liston the Eric Esch of the 60s’.

    Bigger men? Liston weighs about the same as Tyson and is only a couple of inches taller.

    Finally, I think Holyfield did have Tyson’s number and, if they had met in 1991 when originally scheduled, Holyfield would have won on points.

  102. Robert Ecksel 03:49am, 09/21/2013

    Schmidty—It is testimony to Tyson’s intrinsic star appeal and staying power that whatever “it” he possesses and/or how it is evoked, here we are many years after his championship boxing days arguing about his place in boxing history and having Fox detail his complexities as a human being.

  103. Clarence George 02:56am, 09/21/2013

    You really are a kindred spirit, Mike.  I love those two movies.  One of my favorite cinematic lines appears in the Abbot and Costello one, when Bela Lugosi says to Lou something like “Ah, you young people, making the most of life…while you can.”  Lou answers with a self-satisfied “Thank you”—as though it had somehow been a compliment!  By the way, do you watch “March of the Wooden Soldiers” on Thanksgiving Day?  I do, and I’m not ashamed to say so.

    I think it was you who pointed out what a pity it is that Tyson never reached his full potential.  I completely agree, and remember how dismayed I was when his life and career began to unravel.  It seemed so…unnecessary.  But I suppose we’re all ultimately as self-destructive as a Kirk Douglas character…Tyson just more so.

  104. Mike Schmidt 02:18am, 09/21/2013

    Went back in and read this again. Great read fearless Editor and exciting comments from Mr. Bloom. In the case of Champion Tyson it is, I think fair to say, that he is one of the most iconic figures, at least in boxing, of the past thirty years along with Manny, Floyd, Oscar and Leonard. Complex most certainly, manipulative most certainly, out of control on more occasions than one cares to remember-most certainly. Al Bernstein, when by happenstance early in Tyson’s career, had occasion to meet the very young Tyson in a restaurant commented: “He (Tyson) then launched into a rhapsodic description of some Joe Louis fights he had been watching….He extolled Joe’s virtues both inside and outside the ring and said one day he would like to be a Champion just like him. Was that Mike Tyson simply a creation of his own Machiavellian mind, constructed to ‘put one over’ on the people covering him in the media? Was it all just a well rehearsed act, orchestrated by his management team to maximize what was already amazingly positive news coverage? Or was Tyson at that time just a wide-eyed young man who was mesmerized by boxing history and thrilled that he was headed for that kind of center stage himself? The answer might be yes to all three of those questions-they could all have been operating simultaneously.” Now then again Al also makes comments in his memoirs by way of analogy: There was a character in the great old TV show chunk of Americana, The Andy Griffith show, Mayberry and all. In it was a character Ernest T. Bass who couldn’t resist tossing rocks at windows. Andy being Andy would take great pains to explain the behavior. Then good old Barney Fife ( and Al if you are ready this “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken along with Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein still are my favs for Halloween relaxation) would “just shake his head, look at Andy, and say ‘Andy, he’s a nut.” And to Al’s wind up on that: “And, so it is with Mike Tyson. After more than two decades of trying to explain his chaotic behavior, we are left with Barney’s simple explanation—he’s a nut….I have been asked to explain some aspect of Mike Tyson’s behavior. Since I can barely explain my behavior in life, explaining Tyson’s is a daunting task.”

  105. Eric 07:48pm, 09/20/2013

    The only heavyweight champs I see beating the ‘86-‘89 version of Mike Tyson would be all these heavyweights in their prime versions only and they would include Liston, Ali, Foreman, Lewis, and the Klit brothers. Nope, I didn’t leave out Louis, Louis had trouble with swarming,  crouching type fighters even in his prime years, and none of those fighters were even remotely in Tyson’s league. Even Lewis and the Klit could lose but given Tyson’s history with taller and larger fighters even in his prime years, it would be a tall order for him to defeat guys who stood between 7-9” taller and weighed at least 20-30lbs more in prime fighting condition. These guys are in a different world than the Mitch Greens,  Bonecrusher Smiths, and Tyrell Biggs etc., that Tyson faced. Sorry, but as great a boxer and tough as Gene Tunney was, he still was just no match for a man of Tyson’s size, speed, power, and explosiveness. Tunney gets kayoed early on.

  106. Mike Schmidt 06:59pm, 09/20/2013

    I don’t see Tyson even remotely beating the prime Liston, which in my opinion is pre-title when he bounced a very very dangerous young Cleveland Williams around like a rubber ball. Tyson sure was not going to beat Liston from the outside where that poll axe jab controlled things and he sure was not strong enough or even remotely good enough inside to have his way with Liston. I suspect Mike goes by by against a prime Liston very early on. Tyson, as clearly evident when fighting bigger men, was not much of an inside fighter at all. His answer in those fights was to enjoin in a clutch and grab affair with little attempt to use a free hand to fight inside.

  107. GlennR 06:52pm, 09/20/2013

    Good call on Tunney, i think he beats Mike.
    But Dempsey? no.
    Marcianio, 50/50
    Joe F, no.

    Ali, Foreman (prime), Lennox, Holyfield all yes (Evander had his number)

    Im not so sure on Liston and i think mentioning David Tua was worthwhile, he gives Mike big headaches at his prime.

  108. Eric 06:30pm, 09/20/2013

    Michael Spinks is no small man. Spinks stands a half inch over 6’2” and would “walk around” at about 200lbs in between fights when he was a light heavyweight. Spinks would sometimes weigh pretty light for some of his title bouts, I believe he only weighed about 170 and change against David Sears, and I believe that was his last title defense before beating Holmes for the heavyweight title. Spinks at 6’2 1/2” 200-208lbs was every bit as large as Max Baer when gauging height, weight, and reach. Now granted Spinks wasn’t built like Baer but he certainly wasn’t “vastly undersized.” Matter of fact, Michael Spinks was more or less the same size as not only Baer, but Joe Louis also. At 6’ 2 1/2” the only champions taller than Spinks prior to his winning the title were Willard, Carnera, Ali, Foreman, *Norton, Holmes, and those 80’s pretenders like Pinklon Thomas and Tim Witherspoon. And if Spinks routinely “walked around” at 200lbs between light heavy fights, it is safe to say that even before his venture into “bulking up” for Holmes, he could have easily been in fighting shape at about 184-188lbs which is just as “heavy” as the Dempseys, Tunneys,  or Marcianos were.

  109. Eric 06:03pm, 09/20/2013

    I would give PRIME Liston an excellent chance of beating Tyson, and prime Liston would’ve probably been a few years before he won the title. Liston over Tyson, sure, but I just can’t see Tyson losing to Marciano, Dempsey, or Frazier. That’s alright though, Babe Ruth probably couldn’t have hit Nolan Ryan’s fastball either. teehee. Just kidding. Prime Foreman while not as skillful or talented as Liston was every bit as powerful and larger, so I could easily see PRIME Foreman do the same thing as Liston. I’m not so sure the older Foreman would’ve have had a chance at a ‘86-‘88 version of Tyson, that was vintage Tyson and I feel he was damn near unbeatable at that stage of his career. Tyson truly was on his way to being the GOAT.

  110. Jim Crue 05:56pm, 09/20/2013

    I agree Clarence!!

  111. Clarence George 05:20pm, 09/20/2013

    Mike: Tyson completely outclassed by Tunney.

  112. Mike Schmidt 04:04pm, 09/20/2013

    Well, Jim, and C.G. let me throw another one out at you. Does he beat the superb boxing master Gene Tunney, a guy who stood taller than Tyson at an even six feet, had superb use of his wheels, a great jab, and in 68 fights never kissed a ten count canvas. Does he beat that…..by the by,  Jim on the Jake LaMotta thing—who is kidding who, Jake, very unlike Canelo would not have hung out on the inside, JAKE WAS A KILLER AND TO THIS DAY HE STILL HAS THAT ATTITUDE—he would have kicked the living shit out of Floyd in a middle contest—no contest ditto on Floyd fighting Hearns or Leonard—If you think getting tagged by old fighters like Mosley, Oscar or Cotto was problematic—well I hate to think what a prime Hearns or Leonard would have done, same deal for a fight with Hawk Pryor—Floyd gets tuned. Not even a GOAT at Welter….

  113. Clarence George 03:20pm, 09/20/2013

    Hey, Jim, I like the way you snuck in that dig against Mayweather.  And while it’s one fantasy match-up that never occurred to me…I agree with you. LaMotta was clever and very patient—skills that served him well time and again.

  114. Jim Crue 02:48pm, 09/20/2013

    Tyson does not beat the HW swarmers because Tyson could not fight on the inside. Look at the films of his fights. He never progressed when he left Kevin Rooney. He almost always tried to tie up and hold. When did you ever see the other swarmers hold and tie up. Not Dempsey, not Frazier, not Marciano. Tyson had one punch power and intimidation. Those guys would not have been scared of him. Dempsey not fast?? Look again.
    And did someone really say he would take out Ezzard Charles in one round?? Spinks was scared stiff and was no Ezzard Charles. And because Charles was knocked out by Walcott he had a bad chin? Bob Satterfield flattened him and he got up to win.
    Liston fought cruiserweights? There was not even a cruiserweight division in those days. Fighters were smaller then but to say Liston would not have a chance against Tyson is silly. He had a jab like a phone pole and could fight on the inside.
    I am neutral on Tyson as a person and a fighter but some of the comments made are not sound.
    We are fortunate to have this site to discuss this stuff.
    And in a 15 round fight with 6 ounce gloves. which were used then, LaMotta busts up Floyd beyond recognition

  115. Clarence George 01:39pm, 09/20/2013

    It’s not a World’s Strongest Man competition, Flute of Jethro.  If it were, we’d be focusing on Mark Henry.  There’s more to boxing than size and strength,  even at the heavyweight division.  And another thing:  Tyson never faced anyone who had the experience, savvy, and toughness of the guys of yesteryear, and that’s particularly true of Langford.

    Mike:  Tyson much too limited to beat Johnson.

  116. Eric 01:36pm, 09/20/2013

    Of the top heavyweight “swarmers” which include Tyson, Dempsey, Marciano, and Frazier, I say Tyson beats them all. Tyson is much faster, more explosive, and better defensively at least in his prime. Tyson isn’t as wild or cuts as easily as Marciano, and is much bigger and faster than Dempsey. Tyson, unlike Frazier isn’t a one-armed fighter, and in his prime was much, much, harder to hit than Joe. Tyson has about 30lbs on Marciano and Dempsey, which is a significant amount of weight to give up to someone with Tyson’s skills and power. If anything David Tua, another “swarmer” would have had a better shot at beating Tyson than Marciano, Dempsey, or Frazier. Sorry, Marciano and Frazier are two of my all time favorite fighters and I admire Jack Dempsey a great deal, but a PRIME Tyson is just too quick, too explosive, too skilled, and quite simply too big for either one of his “swarmer” predecessors. Prime Tua vs Tyson would have been a different story, and I would’ve given Tua an excellent shot at beating even a prime Tyson. Does Tua’s name belong beside names like Marciano, Dempsey, and Frazier? Probably not, but realistically he would’ve had a better chance of beating Tyson.

  117. Jethro's Flute 01:31pm, 09/20/2013

    Jack Johnson?

    Can’t really tell. Johnson was a defensive master but the available footage of him gives no indication of how he would do against a modern era fighter.

  118. Jethro's Flute 01:28pm, 09/20/2013

    “Dempsey, as much as the Flute is beating hell on me- 50-50- who hits who first. Johnson, Jack?????? There is a guy who was a big strong technician- what say you on that???”

    To beat Tyson, Dempsey would have to give him a one-sided gubbing over the course of several rounds. That is what the 3 men who beat Tyson in title matches did.

    Tyson is quite capable of flattening Dempsey with a single shot. Dempsey is not capable of doing the same back to him.

  119. Mike Schmidt 01:25pm, 09/20/2013

    The great mystery of Mike Tyson. All that squandered talent at such a young age. Lord only knows how we would be talking about him if he continued to develop—he ended up more of a straight up single punch throwing guy—regressed as a fighter—he will remain, and still is the great enigma. Well Clarence—I think Larry, in his prime, beats Tyson. I think Joe Louis beats Tyson, I think the first version of Ali beats Tyson, Charles and Jersey Joe (who I simply love to watch—what skill) lose, but not easy for Tyson—both guys just too small and not enough juice to keep Tyson from coming in the end result.  Dempsey, as much as the Flute is beating hell on me—50-50—who hits who first. Johnson, Jack?????? There is a guy who was a big strong technician—what say you on that???

  120. Jethro's Flute 01:23pm, 09/20/2013

    Tyson to beat Charles by one punch knockout in the first round and much faster than he beat Spinks.

    Charles cannot possibly hurt Tyson with his punches and no light-heavyweight king is going to tickle Tyson.

    Also, Charles did not have much of a chin and was knocked out with one punch by Walcott. Tyson - Charles is the kind of match-up that would make me fear for the health of the lighter man. Charles would have been a cruiserweight after 1979, just like Tunney, Dempsey and Marciano.

    Anyone who thinks that Charles has a hope in hell of beating Tyson isn’t using their eyes or thinking with their brain.

    Walcott was also the victim of a one-punch KO by a man who was much smaller and less accurate a puncher than Tyson.

  121. Jethro's Flute 01:16pm, 09/20/2013

    Sam Langford ahead of Mike Tyson?

    What footage is there of Langford to compare him with any heavyweight?

  122. Jethro's Flute 01:14pm, 09/20/2013

    “Dempsey beats Tyson, as do Louis, Marciano, Frazier, and Ali.”

    Marciano and Dempsey would not have been allowed to fight Tyson in his heyday as they were under 190lbs.

    Tyson would beat them in the first round.

    Frazier fought his entire career blind in one eye. He wouldn’t be allowed to fight and, if he did, he’d be standing right in front of a big puncher who makes a much better start than he does.

    I think Joe Louis would beat Tyson, probably late in the fight and I think a peak Ali would win a dull match on points against Tyson. However, Tyson would have won the fight of the century by brutal knockout as Ali didn’t take that match nearly seriously enough.

    “Now back to Dempsey…what actually was Tyson’s signature career win. The vastly undersized Spinks?”

    Dempsey is still only a cruiserweight while Spinks walked around at cruiserweight when he was light-heavyweight champ.

    Also, just tell me how many fighters have ever had Spinks on the canvas?

    “Does he beat the Sweet Science of Ezzard or Jersey Joe. What about the Larry who got off the canvas against Earnie Shavers- does he beat a prime Larry?”

    Former light-heavyweight king vs Mike Tyson? I wonder how that’s going to end, given that Charles’ chin is nowhere near as hard as Mike Spink’s was.

    Walcott? Early stoppage win for Tyson.

    A prime Holmes vs Tyson? 50/50 fight. If Holmes won, he would praise Tyson to the heavens for being strong and able to take a punch. If Tyson won, Holmes would still be bitching about it to this day.

    BTW Earnie Shavers was a seriously rubbish finisher, that’s why so many opponents got off the deck to beat him.

    Liston? What exactly qualifies Liston to be considered capable of squashing Tyson, exactly?

    One final thing about lists of heavyweights is that many champs of previous decades could not have fought for the title after 1979 as they would have been cruiserweights.

    It’s only meaningful to compare fighters who fought under the same rules, for example Marciano vs Dempsey. (I’d pick the much faster starting Dempsey to cut up the Rock’s features before he could get going.)

  123. Clarence George 01:14pm, 09/20/2013

    Excellent match-ups, Mike.  Hmmm…50-50 on Holmes, I give a slight edge to Tyson over Walcott (and it pains me to do so, because I love Jersey Joe), and I see him losing to Charles.  You?

  124. Mike Schmidt 01:00pm, 09/20/2013

    Does he beat the Sweet Science of Ezzard or Jersey Joe. What about the Larry who got off the canvas against Earnie Shavers—does he beat a prime Larry?

  125. Clarence George 12:55pm, 09/20/2013

    Dempsey beats Tyson, as do Louis, Marciano, Frazier, and Ali.  I’m not sure where I come down on Liston and Foreman, except that they’d be wars.  Lewis is another one that’s pretty much 50-50.

    I actually rank Tyson pretty high.  I used to have him in 10th place, since replaced by Sam Langford.  Maybe 11th; anyway, top 15.

  126. Mike Schmidt 12:00pm, 09/20/2013

    Annnd having said all that- let’s not mistake one thing—Tyson was somebody everybody wanted to watch—clear and present danger style and punching power and a personality ready, able and willing to explode.

  127. Mike Schmidt 11:54am, 09/20/2013

    The aura of Tyson was secured early on and nurtured in his teen knockouts, fast and furious, of opponents lined up. From there Tillis, Tubbs, Williams, Biggs, Tucker, Bonecrusher….The only three Hall of Famers unfortunately he fought already past his prime- Holmes, Lennox and Holyfield. Flute—where would you rate Tyson in a list of all time great Heavyweights—and I am asking because I am not really sure where he places- I don’t see him beating Liston, Foreman, or Ali. I think, in his prime, roll the dice with Lennox—a host of pre 60’s heavies he beats given his size, speed and power against guys really weighing in too small etc etc

  128. Mike Schmidt 11:46am, 09/20/2013

    Ahhh that is what the cheque was for. The Tyson that fought Holyfield was certainly not the Tyson of prime. I find it hard to fathom how Iron Mike would have been anything but stretched KTFO against either of Liston or Foreman and outboxed by the first version of Ali. Now back to Dempsey…what actually was Tyson’s signature career win. The vastly undersized Spinks? Trevor? Razor? Out of shape, out of prime Larry? Pinklon? Bigger men, even in his victories made Mike a very boring fighter to watch- he certainly did not know how to handle the bigger guys on the inside.

  129. Jethro's Flute 11:22am, 09/20/2013

    Dempsey tore into big Jess Willard?

    So what?

    Tyson isn’t Jess Willard who wasn’t very good anyway, was 37 and hadn’t fought in 3 years before fighting Dempsey.

    Willard was the same size as a Klitschko brother but that’s about it.

    Using that kind of argument is like saying anyone who beat Mark Breland or Milt McCrory at welterweight would also beat Tommy Hearns. It just doesn’t make sense.

    As it is, nearly all Tyson’s struggles and defeats came against men who were much taller than him - Green, Smith, Tucker, Douglas, Ruddock, Lewis etc. That rules out 6 foot tall, 187 pound Jack Dempsey, for a start. Tyson can take a punch as well, it took Douglas 10 rounds of punching to wear him down, 11 for Holyfield (still bigger than Dempsey) and 8 for Lewis.

    Single shot power is not the key to beating Mike Tyson. If it was, Razor Ruddock would have beaten him.

    Also, let’s nail a myth here:


    “As it turned out, all the judges voted for Tyson: Dalby Shirley and Art Lurie both scored the bout 114-108, and Chuck Giampa gave Tyson a 113-109 advantage. There was no controversy. Only Tyson, in the spirit of the moment, mentioned another rematch. His promoter, Don King, had a different agenda in mind.

    As the crowd dispersed, George Foreman’s brother, Roy, went into the lobby of the Mirage, checked his messages at the front desk and was handed a $1 million check from King. It was the down payment for a Tyson-Foreman fight. America’s favorite boxer since his courageous loss to heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield in April, the 42-year-old Foreman has emerged as a valuable bargaining chip in the war between King and Dan Duva, Holyfield’s promoter. King has negotiated fruitlessly with Duva for a title fight with Holyfield. Each promoter blames the other for the breakdown in the talks. Now, say both King and Duva, Foreman is the man their fighter will meet. King and Duva have both offered Foreman $10 million.

    But with his $1 million check, King may have damaged his cause. “Don forgot something important,” said George from his home in Houston last Saturday night. “He forgot that to me a friend is more valuable than money.”“

    “Ron Weathers, a close friend of Foreman’s and his adviser, negotiates all of Foreman’s bouts, and King has ignored him. “I have to get the O.K. from Ron, period,” said Foreman. “I don’t want to get involved in all of King’s colloquialisms: brother this and brother that. Ron and I started together, and I am not about to tell him goodbye, that King is knocking on my door and I don’t need him anymore. It’s O.K. to cross the finish line, but you got to make sure you are holding hands with your friends when you do it.”“

    Sports Illustrated from 1991 reports that, after beating Razor Ruddock, Tyson’s team made an approach to fight Big George.

  130. Mike Schmidt 10:52am, 09/20/2013

    Interesting Flute- I gotta say that the Dempsey that tore into Big Jess—that beast of mayhem I would not rule out against anybody—sheer animal. Tyson vs Dempsey—short and sweet—who hits who first and clean!!!!!!!!

  131. Mike Schmidt 10:47am, 09/20/2013

    I am not sure how one judges “compelling” but this much I can mention. Ringside at Rios vs Alvarado the crowd went absolutely crazy when Mike Tyson came in and sat ringside. It was amazing. I have been to many fights in Vegas, ringside, and never saw such a reaction. The security had to post all around the corner where Mike was sitting for the entire time he was there, There was a surge of people trying to talk to him—it was crazy. I might add that when JMM came in the crowd gave a massive ovation to El Grand Campeon. The Iron Mike obviously still has huge star appeal.

  132. kid vegas 10:21am, 09/20/2013

    I am getting a little tired of reading about Tyson. Unlike Mayweather. He is not that compelling.

  133. Mike Schmidt 10:12am, 09/20/2013

    Pardon the spelling- I am on the fly

  134. Mike Schmidt 10:11am, 09/20/2013

    Well this much we know Flute—the second coming of Big George, from as early on in the comeback from Anchorage, Alaska and “Hitch’n Post” wanted a fight with Tyson badly—he was calling him out early on when he was still massive—no reply at all on that one—no reply at all—I suspect the baddest man on the planet did not want any part of Big George—it would be of interest to hear Champion Tyson’s thoughts on why no fight with Big George and for that matter comments from Big George.

  135. Jethro's Flute 10:06am, 09/20/2013

    “With that bob and weave speed and power—how does he fare with Frazier, Marciano, Dempsey—I wonder also what Mike thinks, in his direct thoughts, how he does with these guys—not perhaps asking win or lose but—how does he rate them, in terms of his fighting style, as”.

    He probably beats the 3 smaller men in very quick time.

    Would Foreman beat him? I thought so, the first time I watched Foreman’s 70s fights.

    Would Sonny Liston beat him? Liston was good at picking on cruiserweights and beating men he outweighed. He doesn’t outweigh Tyson and Tyson had genuine power to hurt Liston with. Tyson isn’t a slow-starting Joe Frazier either.

    However, both men were notorious bullies and I wouldn’t like to pick either man out as being superior mentally.

  136. Mike Schmidt 07:06am, 09/20/2013

    I am in a holding pattern Sneak. I will have two good Iron Mike stories to comment later—1) Ringside at Alvarado vs Rios II with Celestino Caballero and Jeff Mayweather sitting with me and 2) Lennox Lewis amateur sparring in Catskills with Lennox original amateur coach Arnie Boehm. FOR THE MOMENT—I often wonder where one places Champion Tyson in the pantheon of Heavies—in his Prime- -whatever that is! The Spinks fight? The Berbick destruction?? As you know, my buddy Frank “The Bear” has both a prime Liston and Foreman “squashing Mike like a bug” In his prime, with that bob and weave speed and power—how does he fare with Frazier, Marciano, Dempsey—I wonder also what Mike thinks, in his direct thoughts, how he does with these guys—not perhaps asking win or lose but—how does he rate them, in terms of his fighting style, as to who would be the most challenging down the line.

  137. Pete The Sneak 06:50am, 09/20/2013

    Schmiddy, be careful that when you ‘Voir dire’ the prospective Jurors you don’t inadvertently ask one of them: “Have you ever bit anyone in the ear?”...lol…
    Thanks for the heads up Mr. Ecksel. I was not aware this was even in the works. Love or hate (I choose ‘Like’) Iron Mike, he is always fascinating in that his unpredictability, honesty in his being unable to control his demons, and all around knowledge of Boxing and life in general should make for very interesting and I’m sure at times captivating TV watching. Kudos to FOX Sports….Peace.

  138. Mike Schmidt 06:05am, 09/20/2013

    Superb fearless Editor—simply superb. In terms of Mike I suppose Dickens works—“The best of times, the worst of times…” The Champion Tyson’s life is that of a runaway rollercoaster—but still on the tracks and still rolling. I will add further comment later Sir Robert—I am just off to pick a jury for a trial—apt perhaps!!!!!