PERHAPS more than any other sport, boxing loves to feed off of its anniversaries and this week it celebrates - if that's the appropriate word - the bizarre happening in Tokyo 25 years ago when Iron Mike Tyson went into meltdown. This certainly whets the appetite of fans and fighters alike.

Mike Tyson

The sight of the self-styled baddest man on the planet suffering one of the most ignominious defeats in boxing history at the hands of James 'Buster' Douglas, who was handpicked as an easy-touch and quoted by the only casino in Las Vegas willing to accept bets at 42-1 against, remains arguably the biggest upset the sport has known.

When, in the tenth round, a belaboured, bewildered and crushed Tyson was sent crashing to his knees, pawing the canvas in search of his gum shield like a drunken man scrabbling for a lost cigarette butt, it was the moment his career went into terminal decline. Big Buster, the hapless no-hoper, had punched a hole through his supposed invincibility.

The sight of a stricken Tyson with the mouthpiece hanging crookedly from his lips would become an enduring image from the fight.

A floored genius indeed, with the world left to wonder in the years that followed whether his epitaph would be that of a legend or a lout. In my book, a bit of both.

Tyson was a bully and like all bullies it was inevitable that he would become unstuck. Significantly all his defeats came against opponents he couldn't mentally intimidate.

Usually he put the frighteners on them before a punch was thrown, scaring some of them stiff, as he appeared to do with Michael Spinks and Frank Bruno. Douglas turned out to be one who wasn't fazed by his fearsome reputation.

Four other men went on to beat Tyson after that debacle in the Tokyo Dome. One was Britain's Danny Williams, who I then managed. Before they fought in Louisville, Kentucky, in July 2004 I told Williams; "you will be a massive, massive underdog - but take him past two rounds and he'll blow up. He'll be dead on his arse."
I knew he was shot, and that's how it turned out. He threw everything at Williams for a torrid round-and-a-half and blew himself out. Danny them did a job on him, stopping him in four rounds.

I'll be honest. I'd had my own well-documented issues with Tyson and seeing my man do a number on him did my old heart good.
Tyson was an enigma. I wouldn't go so far as to say he was a schizophrenic but there was certainly a deeply disturbing element of the Jekyll and Hyde about him.

He could be the most charming, engaging bloke in the world one day and the next he was a total arsehole.

He liked to play mind games with everybody. OK, so he seems to have turned his life around in his later years but some of his behaviour along the way has been unspeakable.

He's had more chances and earned more money than anyone I know in boxing. Yet he seems to have become a professional victim.

While I'm certainly not his greatest fan as a man I acknowledge that in his heyday as the world's youngest heavyweight champion he was the most exciting fighter the division has seen. He could box, jab, slip punches, seek and destroy. But the boozing, the drugging and the womanising were his downfall. By all accounts he was at it big-time before the Douglas fight.

I also question his desire against those who didn't scare easily.  I still believe that chewing a lump out of Evander Holyfield's ear was the easy way out as he knew he was in for a hiding. So he got himself disqualified rather than go out on his shield.

By the time he fought Lennox Lewis he was a shell of the fighter he once was. After turning cannibal again by gnawing at Lewis's leg and threatening to eat his kids, once the bell sounded all he seemed to want to do was touch gloves all the time. The one-time Tiger was just a pussycat.

Mike Tyson Lennox Lewis

As we know, at 48 the rapist has become a raconteur; re-inventing himself as a one-man show and part-time promoter. As for his nemesis, after holding the title for eight months and two weeks, a bloated Buster lost to Holyfield by a third round KO, for which he was paid $24.6m and apparently did not train a lick. Why bother seemed to be his philosophy. He'd already hit the jackpot when he connected with Tyson's chin.

These days, aged 55, he's back in the relative obscurity of his home town, Columbus, Ohio, coaching young fighters. But forever he'll be known as the fight game's equivalent of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.


While traditionally it is boxing's heavyweights who hog the headlines here in Britain the lightweights are coming on strong.

The 9st 6lb division has rarely been healthier or busier with a fistful of likely lads who are all classy contenders for world titles.
Tonight in a final eliminator for the WBO belt is Manchester's unbeaten Terry Flanagan, 25.

They call him 'Turbo' because of his supercharged, full-throttle style. The English champion and Prizefighter winner challenges Dubliner Stephen Ormond for the WBO European Lightweight title at Wolverhampton Civic Hall, topping a BoxNation-televised bill. Believe me, this could be the fight of the year.

Terry Flanagan

America's reigning world champion Terence Crawford is expected to vacate the belt and move up to junior welterweight, so Ormond or Flanagan will face Diaz for the vacant title.


New WBC Heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder has again publicly declared that he fancies Tyson Fury as his next opponent. Instead of calling him out Wilder should get his people to call me and we'd make this fight in a heartbeat once Fury has dealt with Christian Hammer at the O2 on February 28.

As that great American referee Mills Lane (he's the man who ejected the other Tyson after he spat out Holyfield's shell-like by the way), used to say, "let's get it on!"

Tyson Fury

Subscribe to BoxNation to watch Stephen Ormond v Terry Flanagan LIVE tonight at 7pm.