During the golden age of boxing….HBO was famous for carrying many of the major match-ups for championship fights….especially in the heavyweight division….and what became SOP (standard operating procedure) for HBO when any of the fights that they carried on their network had any type of controversy….was to replay the entire fight the following week during prime time….and bring the combatants into the studio with their lead boxing analyst Larry Merchant….who would delve into the fight and the controversy.
In this famous fight between Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas…..the controversy was surrounding the referee…and his 8-count after Douglas knocked Tyson down in the 9th round. Because this fight is considered the biggest upset in heavyweight boxing history….the HBO studio was full of boxing affectionardos including Angelo Dundee and Gil Clancy….talk about two guys that know what they are talking about….along with Tyson and Douglas….plus the HBO boxing team of Larry Merchant, Sugar Ray Leonard and Jim Lampley….which makes this video worth watching just because of “all the players in the play”.
If you are a fan of Mike Tyson….and you have seen as many of his fights of his fights as I have….and I think you will agree with this lil ole Chiweenie Sportsphile….that on this night….for whatever the reason….Iron Mike was a zombie in the ring….and he had never entered the ring in his entire career up to the time of this fight with less heart…less aggressiveness…less ferociousness….less energy….than what he brought to the ring on February 10, 1990.
After Tyson went down for the count…Larry Merchant says.”this makes Cinderella seem like a sad story”…as Buster Douglas became the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world by knocking out Iron Mike Tyson. There is a comment by HBO’s Jim Lampley in the middle of the fight….which posed the question…”Can you imagine saying world champion Buster Douglas!?! To my knowledge, I believe that this may have been the only time in modern day boxing history….especially during the golden age from 1964 – 1994….that Las Vegas would not let you bet on the recognized heavyweight title fight….you could only bet on the over/under of the fight lasting 5 rounds…..cuz Tyson was obviously the prohibitive favorite. Now folks, I’m talking Las Vegas….the place that prides itself in taking a bet on ANY world heavyweight championship fight.
I said all of that to say this….why I love sports so much….is largely because of all the many opinions and elements that the opinions of “experts in their field”…and how so often those pundits are wrong….because they failed to take into their thought process about the possibility of saying World Champion Buster Douglas….that they didn’t factor into the equation….the power of an athlete fighting for their Mother that just passed away the week before the fight….for when Buster Douglas took his Mom into the ring that day….allowed him to use more of his potential than he would ever muster-up again in his career in the ring….for on the day of fighting for his Mom….Buster Douglas became the best Buster Douglas he could ever become….he simply max’d-out. I do not know this….but I do believe that Buster was never again as good as he was that day.
I’m a Sportsphile…..and if you read this and like it….you just might be a Sportsphile too!