Heavyweight boxing legend, Mike Tyson, is remembered as one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport, with many experts arguing that he was unbeatable when at his best.
‘Iron’ Mike’s rise through the ranks was unprecedented, and he has now revealed what goal was driving him to pursue such success.
Tyson won his first thirty-seven fights, accumulating thirty-three knockouts and becoming the youngest heavyweight world champion in history at just twenty-years and four-months-old.
During this time, the hard-hitting superstar also became undisputed champion, defeating Tony Tucker in 1987 – but it was the second defence of his undisputed crown which meant more than any fight to ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’.
In an interview with History Bites with Solomon, Tyson explained why his title defence against Larry Holmes was so important to him – because he was tasked with avenging his idol.
“We went to watch him [Holmes] fight Muhammad Ali, October 2nd, 1980. I’m there with Cus [D’Amato], we watch the fight, everyone knows Ali lost, bad. We come home, thirty minute drive, thirty miles to Catskill, no music, quiet car. We get out the car, we all goes to our rooms, nobody says goodnight or nothing, it is like a funeral.”
“Next morning, we come down and work out, go downstairs and [Cus says], “Your job now is to avenge Muhammad Ali. That is your job. That is your goal, right now, to avenge Muhammad Ali”, and that was my goal. Can you believe that Cus put all that pressure on me? He never treated me like a kid, I was just fourteen and my job was to avenge Muhammad Ali. I took that to heart, that was my goal in my career, to avenge Muhammad Ali.”
It is fair to say that the now 56-year-old achieved that goal, avenging the only losses of Ali’s career which he didn’t avenge himself, Holmes and Trevor Berbick.