Today is the 21st anniversary of one of the most infamous knockouts in boxing history. On February 11th, 1990, Mike Tyson was knocked out by James “Buster” Douglass with 1:22 remaining in the 10th round. The KO marked the first time anyone had defeated Tyson and sparked a series of events that led to the downfall of “The Baddest Man on the Planet”.
Leading up to this legendary knockout, Tyson was 37-0 and was coming off a victory in which he knocked out Carl Williams in 1:33. On the other side of the spectrum, Douglas was a respectable 29-4-1, but was regarded as a lazy, underachieving fighter to date. “Iron Mike” was a 42/1 favorite for the fight. If the oddsmakers had watched the training habits of both fighters however, the odds might not have been so lopsided. After his July, 1989 victory over Carl Williams, Tyson became lackadaisical with his workout routine and seemed to be losing motivation to fight. On the flip side, Douglas turned the tragic loss of his mother into motivation for re-energizing his workout regimen. When the fighters stepped into the ring, it was clear that Douglas was in peak physical conditioning and Tyson was anything but.
Douglas dominated the score card from the bell and used his wingspan advantage (Douglas had a 12 inch advantage over Tyson with his reach) to keep Tyson out in front of him. After 9 full rounds of back and forth (in which Tyson actually knocked Douglas to the mat), Douglas took final control in the 10th and finished one of the most remarkable victories in sports history. Douglas would go on to lose his first title defense against Evander Holyfield 6 months later in October of 1990.
Here is a clip of the last 2 rounds for your entertainment…