Mike Tyson vs. James (Bonecrusher) Smith

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1987-03-07 : Mike Tyson 219 lbs beat James Smith 233 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12

Mike Tyson, his punching power negated by a survival-minded opponent, landed some heavy single punches and outworked James Smith to capture his second heavyweight championship. Smith's main objective appeared to be to last the distance. He held onto Tyson throughout the fight, and Referee Mills Lane took a point away from Smith in the second round and again in the eighth for excessive holding. Tyson hit Smith was a jab well after the bell to end the opening round and a cut opened on the outside of Smith's left eye in Round 2. Smith's best moment came in the final seconds when he opened up and caught Tyson with a right hand.


  • Mike Tyson 28-0 (26 KOs) vs. James Smith 19-5 (14 KOs)
  • It was the first bout in which Tyson was announced as "Iron" Mike Tyson.
  • Smith, a 7 to 1 betting underdog, was 13 years older than Tyson and held a ten-inch reach advantage and a five and a half inch height advantage.
  • Fight was part of the HBO heavyweight unification tournament, with the winner supposed to meet Michael Spinks for the IBF Heavyweight Title. Spinks, however, dropped out of the tournament and elected to fight Gerry Cooney. Spinks was subsequently stripped of his title. The title then went up for grabs in May of 1987 in Tony Tucker vs. James Douglas.


  • "Mike Tyson was impressive against Trevor Berbick, but Berbick isn't the puncher I am. When Tyson fight me, it's going to be a great fight. A bang-bang fight." - James Smith
  • When I was trying to put the punches together he grabbed. This hurts boxing. This is show business. People expect a performance. I won every round and it was an easy fight. In the last round, he hit me with a good shot, but it didn't hurt me. it just took my legs away." - Mike Tyson


  • "Smith a novelty in boxing circles" (1986, Dec 14) Houston Chronicle. p. 11. Article
  • "Tyson fails to catch Smith but wins title" (1987, Mar. 9) The Glasgow Herald p. 10. Article