Mike Tyson vs. James (Buster) Douglas

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1990-02-11 : Mike Tyson 220½ lbs lost to James Douglas 231½ lbs by KO at 1:22 in round 10 of 12


Notes

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  • The Ring Magazine named Tyson vs. Douglas Upset of the Year for 1990.
  • Tyson made over $6 million and Douglas got $1.3 million.
  • Douglas entered the fight as a 42-to-1 underdog.
  • Douglas' mother suffered a stroke and died 23 days before the fight. Those around Douglas sensed a new resolve when he went back into training after his mother's funeral. He was dedicated like never before.
  • Douglas controlled the fight from the beginning, working behind a strong jab on the outside and tying up Tyson when he got inside. This was Tyson's third fight without Kevin Rooney, his long-time trainer, and the incompetence of his new trainers, Aaron Snowell and Jay Bright, was never more evident. Tyson's left eye started to swell by the fifth round, but Tyson's corner didn't have an enswell, a standard piece of equipment for any corner, so Snowell filled a latex glove with ice and put that on Tyson's eye between rounds. Teddy Atlas, Tyson's former amateur trainer, said, "Those two guys couldn’t train a fish to swim.” With six seconds left in the eighth round, Tyson dropped Douglas with a right uppercut. 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.
  • 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 at The Mirage, a promotion in which King would have no direct pecuniary interest.