Mike Tyson vs. Frank Bruno (1st meeting)

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Tyson lands a right against Bruno.

1989-02-25 : Mike Tyson 218 lbs beat Frank Bruno 228 lbs by TKO at 2:55 in round 5 of 12

Notes

  • Tyson vs. Bruno was originally scheduled for September 3, 1988, at Wembley Stadium in London, England. However, all plans were up in the air after Tyson sued to break his contract with manager Bill Cayton, who was served with papers on June 27, the night Tyson knocked out Michael Spinks. Tyson and Cayton settled out of court on July 26, after which Tyson said he wanted "six to eight weeks off." The fight was put off until October 8. After Tyson broke his right hand in a street fight with Mitch Green on August 23, the bout was pushed back to October 22. Then, on September 4, Tyson was knocked unconscious when he drove his BMW into a tree. Due to the injuries he suffered, the match was rescheduled for December 17. As Tyson dealt with divorce proceedings—his wife, Robin Givens, filed for divorce on October 7, and Tyson countersued on October 14—the bout was delayed again. Also, because of Tyson's need to stay close to his lawyers, the fight was moved from England to the United States. January 14 became the new date, but that was changed because of another dispute between Tyson and Cayton. Tyson signed a promotional contract with Don King on October 26, but Cayton refused to allow it. He called it "despicable" and "career suicide." On November 23, Tyson again sued to break Cayton's managerial contract, which caused another postponement. Finally, the fight was set for February 25.
  • The fight aired live on HBO.
  • This was Tyson's first fight in eight months. Prior to this bout, he had never been out of the ring for more than three and a half months as a professional.
  • This was Tyson's first professional fight without trainer Kevin Rooney, who was fired in December 1988 for publicly commenting on Tyson's failed marriage. Rooney was replaced by Aaron Snowell and Jay Bright.
  • Bruno was the No. 1 heavyweight contender of the WBA and WBC.
  • Tyson was a 7½ to 1 favorite.
  • Tyson's purse was $7 million, and Bruno's was $3.6 million.
  • There was an announced crowd of 9,860.
  • The average ticket price was $700.
  • The Las Vegas Hilton paid $7 million to host the fight, but sold only $4.3 million in tickets. "The demand for tickets was very disappointing," said John Giovenco, president of Hilton Nevada Corporation. "The boxing public doesn't appear ready to pay the price that is necessary for us to cover the site fee being charged for the fight." The $2.7 million loss on ticket sales was compounded by the hundreds of thousands of dollars the resort spend for promotion and hosting the fight.
  • At the end of the first round, HBO commentator Larry Merchant said, "One man down, the another man wobbled, I'll take it!"
  • Earl Gustkey of the Los Angeles Times reported:
Tyson was not sensational Saturday night, merely very good. He came out, as always, looking for the quick knockout. And for a few seconds it appeared as if he might break the all-time record for the fastest knockout in heavyweight title fight history, the 55-second KO James Jeffries pinned on Jack Finnegan in 1900. The champion, fighting for the first time since his first-round knockout of Michael Spinks last June 27, had Bruno on the deck almost before the timekeeper had put down his hammer to start the first round. In Tyson's corner, Bruno caught a short right hand on the jaw and went down. He took a standing-8 count from Steele and arose clear-headed. He promptly stung Tyson with a left hook. Tyson, obviously in quest of a quicker victory than his 91-second knockout of Spinks, tore into Bruno. But after the knockdown, he appeared to revert to his old ways. He threw leaping left hooks and missed wildly, twice almost losing his feet. With one miss, he spun himself completely around on the ropes and wound up facing the spectators. At that instant, Bruno hit him on the back of the head, and Steele deducted a point for the foul. Then, late in the round, came Bruno's moment, a moment they'll be talking about in London pubs for a generation or so. He hit Tyson with a workmanlike right hand that for an instant immobilized the champion, then followed it with a left hook that caught Tyson squarely. The champion's knees buckled and he backed up. Although the Englishmen in the audience were roaring him on, Bruno could not follow up, and the round ended soon after. It was his last opportunity. After the fight, Tyson praised his challenger's efforts. "It was harder than the punch (a right uppercut) that (Tony) Tucker got me with," he said, referring to a punch Tucker landed in 1987, when Tyson unified the heavyweight championship. Bruno's punch, and the fact that he took Tyson's best shots to the head and body for more than four rounds, may have taken at least a little of the glitter off Tyson's victory. "Frank tried hard and it wound up just as we thought it would, but I think Frank gave hope to a lot of heavyweights tonight--that Mike Tyson is not the monster a lot of people think he is," said one British reporter, Ken Jones. Indeed, for parts of the second, third and fourth rounds Tyson reverted to the Mike Tyson of the 1984 Olympic team trials, when he was an out-of-control amateur, missing and losing his footing with wild, leaping left hooks. Unfortunately for the 6-foot 4-inch, 228-pound Bruno (32-3), he wasn't mobile or quick enough to take advantage of the numerous opportunities Tyson presented. Bruno was successful, however, at tying up Tyson when he missed with right hands, creating a Greco-Roman wrestling match for much of the time. He was also successful at holding the shorter (5-11) Tyson by the back of the neck in the clinches. One of Tyson's new cornermen, Aaron Snowell, chased Steele across the ring after the third round to complain. In the end, Bruno was overwhelmed. Early in the fifth, Tyson landed a couple of short, hard uppercuts inside, and Bruno's nose began to bleed. Bruno landed punches twice to Tyson's ribs, but seconds later the countdown started. First came a thumping left hook to the jaw that sent Bruno into the ropes near Tyson's corner, and the champion was all over his challenger, measuring his helpless opponent and hitting him like a man chopping a tree with an ax. After Bruno had taken four or five powerful blows to the head, Steele stepped in at 2:55, just as Bruno's trainer, Terry Lawless, was coming through the ropes.

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