Mike Tyson’s Best Knockouts

There have seldom been more intimidating men in boxing than Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn powerhouse became famous in the 80s and 90s for his devastating punching power and lightning speed, earning the moniker of the ‘baddest man on the planet’. Iron Mike landed 44 career knockouts in his 50 wins from 58 fights, and everybody in the world was scared of him at one time. He returned to the ring last November for an exhibition bout with Roy Jones Jr, which ended in a controversial draw. However, fans loved the show and the event broke PPV records and is in the top 8 highest selling events of all time. He is expected to renew his heated rivalry with Evander Holyfield later this year in Florida, with a third bout being touted by the pair in the media and online. NetBet will be offering odds on the fight, as well as a host of others over on the NetBet Boxing page. In honour of his return to the ring, we’ve taken a look at some of Tyson’s most iconic knockouts during his legendary career.

Michael Spinks – Round 1 – June 27th 1988

This was one of the most highly anticipated bouts of all time, with Tyson putting his three world heavyweight title belts on the line against Spinks in front of a gigantic crowd at Donald’s Trump convention hall in Atlantic City. At the time, it was the richest bout in boxing history, grossing over $70 million between ticket sales, pay-per-view buys and advertising. Neither man had taken a loss yet, with Spinks holding the title of lineal heavyweight champion and Tyson holding the WBC, WBA and IBF belts. Experts such as Muhammed Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard were picking Spinks to win, while Larry Holmes was backing Tyson. The Brownsville native fired out of the traps landing hard early, and forcing Spinks to the canvas within the first minute. It was just the second time he had been down, and just moments later he was on the canvas again, this time in such a way that he couldn’t rise. It was a truly iconic moment that cemented Tyson’s position as the greatest of the era.

Henry Tillman – Round 1 – June 16th 1990

Olympic gold medallist Tillman and Tyson had previous, and it showed. The bigger and rangier amateur standout had beaten Mike in the unpaid ranks twice, stopping him from reaching the 1984 games. But that was all about to change when the pair squared up again, with Tillman going down early to a barrage from the technically less gifted Tyson. There were just 26 seconds left in the round when a big right hand put Tillman down for the count. The big man has since graduated to the coaching ranks, taking care of many top fighters from his base in California.

Larry Holmes – Round 4 – January 22nd 1988

Holmes was one of the best ever, but by the time he fought Mike Tyson he was out of his prime, which is why this isn’t higher in the list. Larry, a former champ in his own right, was brash in the build-up, and insisted that he could keep up with Tyson. He fancied becoming one of the few heavyweight title holders to come back and win their title after losing it, following in the footsteps of Muhammed Ali and others. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be the case and he struggled with the pace set by the much younger and hard-hitting champion. In the fourth round, Tyson knocked Holmes down three times before referee Joe Cortez had to wave the bout off and award him a TKO win with six seconds left before the bell.

Francois Botha – Round 5 – January 16th 1999

After 19 months of suspension for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear, Tyson returned to the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in January of 1999 to see if the old magic was still there. South African former IBF Champion Francois Botha was the carefully selected dance partner, but he didn’t stick to the script in the opening rounds. The 39-1 Pretoria native outboxed Tyson throughout the first four rounds, frustrating the former champion and causing him to incessantly foul his opponent, earning a third round point deduction. Botha was so confident that he even taunted Tyson in the fourth, beckoning him to land, but that cockiness would come back to bite him in the fifth when with twelve seconds to go he was caught with a short right hand from which he couldn’t recover. Botha ended up fighting until just 2014.

Trevor Berbick – Round 2 – November 22nd 1986

It’s not the cleanest KO Iron Mike ever landed, but this is arguably his most visually memorable. In this WBC Heavyweight title showdown branded ‘Judgement Day’, Tyson was at his absolute best, dominating the weaker Berbick and finishing him handily in round 2. Not unusual, but what really makes this finish special is the way Berbick attempted to get up after being put down. The shot that finished it didn’t seem to be one of Tyson’s hardest, but as Berbick tried to stand up, he wobbled around with absolutely no control of his legs, which were like jelly. He got up, fell down, got up again and finally the bout was waved off by veteran referee Mills Lane. It was Mike Tyson’s coming out party on the world stage, and a massive moment in boxing history. Berbick never fought for the title again, and retired in 2000.