Mike Tyson intimidated fighters with his strength, combined with outstanding hand speed, accuracy, coordination and timing….plus he also possessed notable defensive abilities while holding his hands high in the Peek-a-Boo style taught by his mentor Cus D’Amato, in order to slip under and weave around his opponent’s punches while timing his own. One of Tyson’s trademark moves was a right hook to his opponent’s body followed by a right uppercut to his opponent’s chin….for very few boxers could remain standing if caught by this combination….evidenced by Lorenzo Boyd, Jesse Ferguson and Jose Ribalta….who were each knocked down by this combination. As seen in this fight herewith, Mike Tyson knocked Jose Ribalta down three times before stopping him in the tenth and final round. Tyson floored Ribalta with a right hook to the body, massive right uppercut combination in the second and a left hook drove Ribalta halfway through the ropes and down in the eighth….then again early in the 10th….Iron Mike dropped Ribalta with a left hook…to which after Ribalta rose at the count of four….Tyson unleashed a flurry of clean hooks to the head that prompted Rudy Battle to stop the fight.
It was August 17th, 1986 at the Trump Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ that heavyweight sensation “Iron” Mike Tyson entered the ring looking for win number twenty six….as the exciting Tyson had just turned 20 yrs. old…..and appears a sure-fire certainty to become the next heavyweight champion of the world…..after his wrecking-ball fists had destroyed 20 men who failed to complete 3 full rounds against Iron Mike leading into this fight.
Amazingly, the tough Cuban met Tyson head on and fought in close as hard as he could. He would fall in the second from a heavy left uppercut but bravely battled back to give Tyson something to think about. By the later rounds Tyson was ahead but was still in a fight against a game opponent….as Ribalta would taste the canvas again in the eighth…. but rode out the storm once more and amazingly fought back hard again to the delight of the crowd. In the tenth though a big Tyson hook dumped the fading Cuban once more but he rose to utter those famous words when asked by the ref if he wanted to continue, Ribalta replied “yeah hell yeah” before wading into action again….but the fight was halted moments later with Tyson teeing off as Ribalta became trapped on the ropes….though Jose has always maintained he could have negated the final 83 seconds of the round and heard the final bell.
A wonderful post-script to this fight was how touched “El Nino” Ribalta was when Mike Tyson said in his biography that this fight he had with “El Nino” was one of the toughest of his career….as Ribalta was heard to say….“I was very proud he said that and I’m pleased he spoke highly of me and said our fight was one of his toughest….as I always said I wanted to be a true warrior and fight anybody, anywhere, any time.”