I won’t lie to you; I was not alive 30 years ago. I’ll go one further, I’m not much of a boxing fan either. If Tyson v. Douglas happened today, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t tune in to watch. Maybe the decrease in popularity since the Tyson era can be attributed to my lack of interest overall. From my perspective, the two most dominant and entertaining boxers were Ali and Tyson. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t around to see either of them. The extent of my interest in boxing goes as far as if a fight is on and it’s the biggest fight in five years and if I’m at a bar that isn’t forcing a $20 cover charge to watch the fight. In all likelihood, I wouldn’t pay it much interest anyway.
It’s upsetting. As a sports fan, there should be no reason why boxing doesn’t captivate me in a big way. Boxing is an exciting sport, a primal sport. Yet today, all I can say is meh. Sure you have your big names like… uhh... give me a second on this one. I know McGregor! Does he count? He competed in a boxing match -- once. I told you I wasn’t going to lie to you; boxing today just isn’t for me.
Boxing when it featured names like Tyson and Ali; however, provided some of the most engaging sporting events. Fans themselves would feel exhausted as opponents tried unsuccessfully to land a string of punches on the elusive Ali; fans would clench their jaws in anticipation as they watched Tyson land one of his more damaging uppercuts.
Ali and Tyson. That’s the list. The only two guys who dominated as did Gretzky or Ruth did in their respective sports.
Tyson vs. Douglas was a real David vs. Goliath. To this day sports fans look back on the fight as the biggest upset in boxing, MMA, or whatever style of fighting is available to watch. I may not be able to name any current boxers off the top of my head, but I could still tell you how many consider this fight as one of the greatest fights, and ultimately the greatest upset.
Compare boxing of eras past to the Floyd Mayweather era. Floyd is not just a trash talker, he’s not a good person. He wasn’t entertaining. His ego was huge and it didn’t make for what entertaining boxing should be. Not just a force people could easily root against, he was simply a villain. He provided nothing extra any other boxer could have provided themselves.
The Tyson v Douglas fight was a spectacle. The lasting image of Douglas with eyes wide open with his fist held victoriously in the air -- etched permanently into all of our memories.
Now when it comes to the discussion of greatest upset in all of sports, the argument could be made for Douglas vs. Tyson as the greatest upset in the last 30 years. It becomes a different conversation if you were to expand the statute of limitations to 40 years. Many will tell you almost exactly 10 years to the day before Douglas vs. Tyson, Team USA vs. the USSR “The Miracle on Ice” is the greatest upset in all of sports.
Whichever of the two upsets you consider the greater feat, for Douglas v Tyson to be mentioned in the same sentence as the “Miracle on Ice” is a testament in of itself.