ByJosh Molina, writer at
Covers mixed martial arts and professional wrestling and the convergence of the two industries.
Josh Molina

Mike Tyson is a household name who helped revive boxing in the mid-1980s. While there were fighters with more longevity, like the late-great Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes, and some who were more well-rounded, like Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, none were as powerful and intimidating as "Iron Mike."

After a tumultuous marriage, serving a prison sentence, and much personal hardship, Tyson has reinvented himself as a sympathetic character, a relevant ex-boxer and a pop-culture icon. Tyson is still knocking us out, even into his 40s.

But there was a time when Mike Tyson scared the living you-know-what out of fighters. He was a monster who usually had his opponents defeated before they stepped inside the ring. Here's a look back at some of Tyson's greatest fight moments (we're leaving out some of his notorious fights, like when he bit off part of Evander Holyfield's ear or his low-blow battle with Andrew Golota).

These are Tysons greatest moments, when he was "The Baddest Man on The Planet."

6. Mike Tyson vs. Carl "The Truth" Williams, July 21, 1989

This fight was so predictable that the announcers called it like it were a WWE match. Larry Merchant, HBO boxing analyst, spent the first minute of the fight talking about how Williams was vulnerable to a left hook and guess what happened 93 seconds into the fight? Tyson finished him with a wicked left hook.

Williams got up, but was out of it, and the referee stopped the fight. This was vintage Tyson -- fast, mean and aggressive. Williams never saw the punch coming and Tyson continued his run of greatness.

5. Mike Tyson vs. Cliff Etienne, Feb. 22, 2003

I love this clip not for the knockout, but because of the embrace afterward. Tyson was nearing the end of his career by the time this fight came along, but he looked impressive as ever, knocking Etienne out with a right hand. It looked like Etienne rolled his ankle as he fell.

After the back of his head hit the canvas, Etienne took his mouthpiece out and didn't even try to get up. A first-round knockout. Afterward, Tyson picked Etienne up off the mat and hugged him.

4. Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks, June 27, 1988

When you talk about mega-fights in the 1980s you are talking about Michael Spinks vs. Mike Tyson. Spinks defeated Larry Holmes for the world championship and was regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights ever. An Olympic gold medalist, he was thought to be the first guy who could possibly beat Tyson.

They were wrong. They were very wrong.

Tyson destroyed Spinks in 91 seconds. Unlike other opponents, at least Spinks chose to not to get up the second time he was knocked down. Spinks never fought again. Also notable about his fight were the special celebrity introductions before the fight, Donald Trump and Muhammad Ali.

3. Mike Tyson vs. Larry Holmes, Jan. 22, 1988

Give Holmes credit for surviving four rounds with Tyson. Holmes tried to use his old tricks to win the fight. He jabbed through the right hand, fought side-to-side and used his legs to dance around the ring. But it wasn't good enough on this night.

Holmes had already lost the title to Michael Spinks and was vying to win the title back. He was on the wrong side of history, however, being 38 years old and time had passed him by. Even though he had a 10-inch reach advantage, Holmes could not handle the power. Tyson knocked him out in Round 4, beating one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time.

2. Mike Tyson vs. Marvis Frazier, July 22, 1986

This was brutal, utter destruction. The son of the great Joe Frazier, unfortunately, would not be a chip off the old block. Although Frazier was groomed for greatness, he was much too small to fight at heavyweight. He should have fought at light heavyweight, or maybe even middleweight. He stood no chance.

Tyson destroyed Frazier like he was a guy off the street. In just 30 seconds, Tyson mauled the son of one of boxing's greats. The fight took place on ABC's Wide World of Sports, which means the whole world saw it.

1. Mike Tyson vs. Trevor Berbick, Nov. 22, 1986

A human ping pong ball. That's what Tyson turned Trevor Berbick into when the two fought for the heavyweight championship of the world.

It was Tyson's title show and he made the most of it. Tyson decked Berbick three times, and each time Berbick tried to get up he wobbled across the ring, dazed and confused. This was Tyson's greatest moment. He won the heavyweight championship of the world, dethroning Berbick, the man who beat an aged Muhammad Ali in his final fight.

This was the passing of the torch, so to speak, the guy who beat the guy who beat the guy. No one lost any sleep over Berbick's loss and the Tyson era had begun.


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