With thick plates of muscle and hands as lethal as any heavyweight in the business, Mike Tyson was becoming the monster that boxing fans had been craving. In just his first year of fighting, Tyson had amassed 15 wins, all in dominant fashion. In 1986, his second year as a pro, Tyson pummeled Trevor Burbick to win the WBC heavyweight championship. By 1987, Tyson had all the gold at just 20 years of age: the WBC, WBA, and IBF world championships were in his possession and many boxing pundits wondered what could derail the freight train of terror that he was inflicting in the squared circle. 1988 saw Tyson face his toughest test in the disputed lineal champion Michael Spinks. Within 91 seconds, Tyson dispatched of Spinks and was crowned the universally recognized undisputed heavyweight champion. No one could beat Tyson but Tyson himself, but by 1990, that prophetic statement would come to fruition.
With his marriage to Robin Givens disintegrating, and a drug problem — specifically with cocaine — beginning to emerge, Tyson started to unravel. It didn’t help that Cus D’Amato, Tyson’s trainer and father figure, had died several years earlier and many attribute his loss to Tyson losing sight of his career, goals, and responsibilities. In 1990, Tyson faced the underdog Buster Douglas, who many pegged to lose within the first round as many of Tyson’s opponents did. The fight, held in Tokyo, produced one of the biggest upsets of all-time. Although Tyson knocked Douglas to the canvas in the eighth round, Douglas fought back and propelled a brutal combination of strikes to Tyson’s head in the 10th — Tyson didn’t answer the count.
Tyson’s personal life had caught up to him in he ring and he had lost the undisputed championship amidst reports that he had undertrained for the bout and was physically and mentally unprepared to defend his crown.