Mike Tyson vs. Alfonzo Ratliff

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1986-09-06 : Mike Tyson 221½ lbs beat Alfonzo Ratliff 201 lbs by TKO at 1:41 in round 2 of 10


  • Attendance: 9,000
  • Gate: $1.1 million

Tyson chased Ratliff the entire first round before connecting early in the second with a vicious left uppercut that put Ratliff on the canvas. Ratliff managed to get to his feet at the count of nine, but Tyson swarmed over him again, throwing flurries of punches while Ratliff tried to escape along the ropes. A right hook shook Ratliff again and Tyson followed with a series of punches, the last a left hook that put Ratliff down again. Ratliff went down to all fours and referee Davey Pearl stopped the fight without beginning a count.


  • Mike Tyson 26-0 (24 KOs) vs. Alfonzo Ratliff 21-3 (16 KOs)
  • Fight was on the undercard of Michael Spinks vs. Steffen Tangstad.
  • Tyson entered ranked as the # 1 heavyweight contender by the WBA and # 2 by the WBC. Ratliff was ranked # 20 by the WBC.
  • The fight was part of HBO's heavyweight title unification tournament and, with a win, Tyson was already scheduled to meet Trevor Berbick in November.
  • This was Tyson's first fight against a former world champion as Ratliff, who had a 14-inch reach advantage, won and lost the WBC Cruiserweight Title in 1985.
  • At 221.5 pounds, Tyson was fighting at the heaviest of his professional career to date. He did not exceed this weight until his first fight with Evander Holyfield over ten years later.
  • It was Tyson's Las Vegas debut as a professional and only the second time he had fought outside of the New York/New Jersey area as a pro. His last fight in Las Vegas was as an amateur when he was outpointed by Henry Tillman.
  • Tyson earned $50,000, although it was believed he had a side deal with HBO increased his take "tremendously." Ratliff made $75,000 for the fight.
  • It was the third knockout loss of Ratliff's professional career. He fought nine more times following this bout, with a record of (4-5).


Mike Tyson vs. Alfonzo Ratliff . Fasan.jpg
  • "I took it very personally when he called me a little kid." - Mike Tyson
  • "Tyson punched harder than a mule can kick." - Alonzo Ratliff
  • Tyson had predicted that Ratliff would be stopped, "the first time he gets hit correctly" and added after the win that the fight, "was almost like slow motion. I thought he was trying to fight extremely cautious."
  • "Cus predicted that Mike would fight for the title before the end of 1986. And he anticipated the problems. Our contracts with ABC and HBO called for Tyson to meet rated fighters after a specific time. He fought three and beat them, and that made him the number one contender. He has no choice but to fight for the title now. Cus said the only way to prepare Mike for this was to give him a speed education by a multiple of four. So there has been no R and R for Mike. There couldn't be. And he has held up under it all beautifully." - Jim Jacobs


  • Putnam, Pat. "He's Right On Target" (1986, Sept. 15) Sports Illustrated Article
  • "Tyson stops Ratliff, looks to Berbick" (1986, Sept. 7) Observer-Reporter p. C-6. Article
  • Banks, Lacy J. "Boxing Notes" (1986, Sept. 7)Chicago Sun-Times Article