Going into this fight….Mike Tyson was the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world….holding the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles. Despite the several controversies that marked Tyson’s profile at the time….such as his “fiery” relationship with Robin Givens….added to the contractual battles with longtime manager Bill Cayton….whom Tyson didn’t care for…..especially after the death of father-like Jim Jacobs….and then there was promoter Don King….and when all that was coupled with Tyson’s departure from longtime trainer Kevin Rooney….so, to this lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile….Tyson was “a prime target” for the impending upset. Tyson was still dominant in the ring….scoring a 93-second knockout against Carl “The Truth” Williams in his previous fight.
Most considered this fight to be a warm-up bout for Tyson before meeting up with then-undefeated # 1 heavyweight contender Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield….who was ringside for this fight). Tyson was viewed as such a dominant heavyweight that he was not only viewed as the world’s top heavyweight…. but often as the # one fighter in the world pound-for-pound….which is a rarity for heavyweights.
Buster Douglas was ranked as the #7 heavyweight by Ring Magazine….and had met with mixed success in his professional boxing career up to that point. His previous title fight was against Tony Tucker in 1987 ….in which he was TKO’d in the 10th round….however, a string of six consecutive wins gave him the opportunity to fight Tyson….but In the time leading up to the fight….Douglas faced a number of setbacks including the death of his mother just 23 days before the fight…..which actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise for James Buster Douglas. Additionally, the mother of his son was facing a severe kidney ailment, and he had contracted the flu on the day before the fight.
HBO makes some really good points about the possibility of a long count in this fight…..but throughout the history of boxing….the “long count” has shown it head on many occasions….so, you be the judge!?!