James (Buster) Douglas

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James (Buster) Douglas

Name: James Douglas
Alias: Buster
Born: 1960-04-07
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, USA
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 6′ 3½″   /   192cm
Reach: 83″   /   211cm
Boxing Record: click

Trainers: Bill Douglas, Richie Giachetti, JD McCauley
Manager: John Johnson
Cutman: Eddie Aliano
James (Buster) Douglas Photo Gallery

Career Overview

James (Buster) Douglas is the son of hard-punching Bill Douglas and brother of Billy Douglas.

In his first title shot, Douglas fought Tony Tucker for the vacant IBF Heavyweight Championship on May 30, 1987 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Douglas was stopped in ten rounds. He was ahead by a point on one scorecard, behind by a point on another, and even on the third.

Douglas fought Mike Tyson for the Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship on February 11, 1990 in Tokyo, Japan. Douglas, a 42-1 underdog, was inspired by the recent death of his mother and fought the fight of his life. He was dominating the fight when he was dropped by a right uppercut in the final seconds of the eighth round. Douglas got up at the count of nine and that was the end of the round. Douglas regained control in the ninth round and wobbled Tyson with a left. In the tenth round, Douglas hurt Tyson with a right uppercut, then followed up with a combination, finishing with a left that put Tyson down for the first time in his career. Tyson put his knocked-out mouthpiece in backwards and tried to get up, but his legs were too wobbly. Referee Octavio Meyran waved the fight over and wrapped his arms around the rubbery-legged Tyson.

After the fight, promoter Don King attempted to have the result voided, claiming the referee had given Douglas a "long count" when he was down in the eighth round. King said video replays showed Douglas was down for more than 10 seconds. The IBF recognized Douglas as champion, but the WBC and WBA withheld recognition of Douglas' victory pending a review. WBC president Jose Sulaiman said his organization would hold a hearing on February 18, and WBA president Gilberto Mendoza said his group would meet within ten days. There was a tremendous backlash against the WBC and WBA, and on February 13, the two sanctioning bodies announced that they would recognize Douglas as champion. It was later learned that the British Boxing Board of Control and several state commissions in the U.S. had threatened to withdraw from the WBC if the organization failed to recognize Douglas' victory.

On February 21, 1990, Douglas filed a lawsuit to break his promotional contract with King and signed a conditional contract to make his first title defense at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Douglas claimed that King breached their contract when he tried to have Douglas' win against Tyson overturned. An out of court settlement gave King the right to promote a Douglas-Tyson rematch, but Douglas would first defend against Evander Holyfield on October 25, 1990 at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada, a promotion in which King would have no direct pecuniary interest.

Douglas put on a lot of weight after defeating Tyson and entered training camp very heavy. Steve Wynn, owner of The Mirage, was so concerned about Douglas' weight that he offered the champion private use of a hotel sauna. Wynn wasn't very happy when he discovered that Douglas called room service from the sauna on one occasion and ordered $98 worth of food.

At the official weigh-in, Douglas weighed 246 lbs, 14½ more than his weight for the Tyson fight. "Roll him in and carry him out," said Lou Duva, co-trainer of Holyfield, who came in at a svelte 208. Mirage oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said there was a mad rush to the sports book after the weigh-in. "Over $150,000 was bet in one hour, and 90 percent of it was bet on Holyfield," he said. Holyfield had been as much as a 12-5 favorite. The odds went down to 7-5, but after the weigh-in, went up to 9-5.

Holyfield easily controlled the first two rounds. He landed 66 of 100 punches, while Douglas landed 20 of 69. In the third round, Holyfield feinted with a left and Douglas threw a right uppercut lead. Holyfield stepped back and threw a right cross, catching Douglas on the chin. Douglas went down, landing hard on his left side. He showed no inclination to rise. He wiped his face with his gloves, checking for blood, then rolled over onto his back and took the referee's count of ten.

Douglas, who made $24,075,000 (the largest purse ever at that time), retired after the fight. Away from boxing, his weight ballooned to roughly 400 lbs. In 1994, with a blood-sugar count of 800, Douglas went into a diabetic coma. When he got out of the hospital, he started working out in the gym to lose weight. He lost about 150 lbs and decided to make a comeback. He won six consecutive fights before being stopped in one round by Lou Savarese on June 25, 1998. He fought two more times, winning both, then retired for good.


Preceded by:
Mike Tyson
IBF Heavyweight Champion
WBA Heavyweight Champion
WBC Heavyweight Champion

1990 Feb 11 – 1990 Oct 25
Succeeded by:
Evander Holyfield