On February 11, 1990, the greatest upset in boxing history took place when “Iron Mike” Tyson who was regarded as an undefeatable opponent was knocked out by solid but seldom heralded as anything more than a good boxer, Buster Douglas. Tyson was the undisputed heavyweight champion and this fight was viewed merely as a precursor to a Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield title fight. From the opening bell, it was obvious that Douglas, the 42-1 underdog, was there to fight. Besides being in the best shape of his career, he was loose and agile. Douglas was catching the slightest openings and taking full advantage letting loose with hard controlled punches. A large part of Douglas’ strategy was to keep Tyson from getting inside where he would have been his most effective. To keep him out he used his strong jab like a jackhammer and if Tyson did get close to the inside Douglas would squirm out of the way or tie him up effectively. Tyson was a great fighter so obviously he showed small signs of promise here and there landing a strong uppercut or two but Douglas was too in control of the fight for anything to truly throw him off his game. Tyson’s left eye was swollen and everything was going Douglas’ way until the eighth round. During the 8th round, things got exciting when Tyson, who was backed against the ropes, hit Bowe with an uppercut that dropped him to the canvas. Douglas got up at 9. Tyson smelled blood and went for the kill in round 9 but Douglas didn’t back down. They traded punches and eventually Douglas landed a four punch combination that staggered Tyson badly. With Tyson against the ropes, Douglas continued the punishment until the end of the round. By round 10 Tyson was seriously hurt. Douglas continued his onslaught with the jab and nailed Tyson with a vicious uppercut. Tyson was hurt badly and Douglas took advantage landing four hard punches to the head and putting Tyson on the canvas, the first time he had ever been knocked down. He was dazed on the canvas looking for his mouthpiece and was counted out. Buster Douglas was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Like with any great upset, Douglas’ victory was marred by excuses and false accusations. Many said it was a fluke and that Douglas was simply lucky. Others credited the loss to the fact that Tyson didn’t take the fight seriously enough. Don King even went as far as to say that the count was too long when Douglas was knocked down. If anybody was at a disadvantage, it was Buster Douglas who was reeling from the recent death of his mother, his son’s mother facing a serious illness, and he himself coming down with the flu the night before the fight. Douglas fought a perfectly executed fight in terms of strategy. He trained right and he wanted it. Unfortunately for Douglas, his heart, desire, and physical conditioning came and went. Had he been able to maintain these qualities consistently, Buster Douglas would have gone down as one of the all-time greats.
Article By: Jon DaBove