This 1986 HBO PreFight Special was aired on May 20, 1986 live from Madison Square Garden in NYC….which was in advance of the 10 round heavyweight bout between Iron Mike Tyson verses Mitch Blood Green….who were both basically New York City fighters. Mike Tyson entered the ring having KO’d 19 of 20 fighters he had faced in his first year of professional boxing at the young age of 19 years old.
Mitch Green was a former street gang leader who turned to boxing…. who after having roughly 180 amateur fights (his “official” record was 64-7, 51 KOs)….and winning the New York Daily News Golden Gloves four times…..he was ready to make a run for the gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games….but lost to Marvis Frazier in the trials. He was one of NBC’s “Tomorrow’s Champions” and was 15-0-1 when he lost to future WBC champ Trevor Berbick in a bid for the USBA Heavyweight title….then Green signed to face the undefeated Mike Tyson, who was knocking out everyone in his path….for when he signed to fight Tyson he was promised a $50,000 payday….but on the day of the weigh-in Green found out he was to receive only $30,000…. to which he was furious….as the condition escalated after he found out that Tyson was going to receive $650,000 for the bout. Blood was ranked #7 by the WBC at the time of the fight….so, feeling the difference in pay was unfair….Green said that he was not going to show up for the fight….that’s when NYSAC Commissioner Jose Torres told Green that if he didn’t show up his boxing license would be revoked….so, Green felt he had no choice but to go through with it….to which Green was lethargic in the fight and lost a unanimous decision.
Two years later Green and Tyson would meet again….only this time on the street in front of Dapper Dan’s, an all night clothing boutique in Harlem….as Green had heard that Tyson was in the area and went to track him down in hopes of securing a rematch. A scuffle ensued and Tyson threw a right hand that closed Green’s eye….as Tyson broke his hand in the incident. In 1997 Green sued Tyson for $25 million for damages sustained in the 1988 street fight. He was awarded $45,000.
Needless to say, the PreFight to this bout was as contentious and out of sorts as there had ever been for an impending heavyweight bout…but the crew at HBO of Barry Tompkins, Sugar Ray Leonard and Larry Merchant did their best to bring excitement to this fight before the combatants squared off in the ring….as their personal profiles of each fighter was insightful and professional….which makes this video well worth watching by any boxing fan.