Mike Tyson vs. James (Bonecrusher) Smith

From BoxRec
Tyson lands a right against Smith.

Mike Tyson 219 lbs beat James Smith 233 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12


  • Mike Tyson 28-0 (26 KOs) vs. James (Bonecrusher) Smith 19-5 (14 KOs)
  • Tyson was 20 years old and Smith was 33.
  • Smith had an 11-inch reach advantage and a six-inch height advantage.
  • This was the first bout in which Tyson was announced as "Iron" Mike Tyson.
  • Tyson was a 7 to 1 favorite.
  • Tyson's purse was $1.5 million and Smith's was $1 million.
  • There was a crowd of 13,851.
  • Referee Mills Lane deducted points from Smith for excessive holding in rounds two and eight.
  • According to CompuBox, Smith landed only 51 of the 233 he threw, while Tyson connected on 191 of 317.
  • This fight was part of the HBO heavyweight unification tournament. The winner would fight the IBF heavyweight champion later in the year for the unified championship. One week before Tyson faced Smith, IBF champion Michael Spinks was stripped of the title for refusing to fight Tony Tucker, the sanctioning body's No. 1 contender. Spinks, who was also the lineal champion, chose to fight Gerry Cooney instead for a much larger purse. Tucker ended up fighting James (Buster) Douglas for the vacant IBF belt.
  • The following is from the March 8, 1987, edition of South Florida's Sun Sentinel:
Instead of bombing away, Smith held to the point of drawing two one-point penalties from referee Mills Lane in the heavyweight title unification bout. . . . Tyson became so frustrated with his opponent's tactics that he engaged in several shoving matches with Smith between rounds. The intensity Tyson displayed during those skirmishes, however, was rarely seen during the actual fight. . . . With everyone from Muhammad Ali to Vanna White looking on and temperatures dipping into the lower 50s, Tyson came out at the opening bell with two lefts that missed. Smith's first punch, also a left, also missed. The whiffs were omens of what was to come. The best action in the first round came midway through the round on a three-punch combination by Tyson. However, with Smith tying Tyson up instead of punching, the expected first-round fireworks never arrived. There were some sparks, though, at the closing bell as Smith starred at Tyson, drawing a Tyson left well after the bell. Tyson's opened a cut above Smith's left eye at the start of Round 2 with a head butt. The trouble continued for Smith one minute later when Lane penalized Smith one point for continual holding. The lack of action drew boos at the close of the round. And once again the two taunted each after the bell had sounded. Again in Round 3 there was more holding from Smith and more frustration from Tyson, who was unable to land a combination. And yes, more taunting after the bell. Smith began retreating in Round 4, with a Tyson right to the head the only punch of consequence. After the search for pillows began during Rounds 5 and 6, the crowd finally had a chance to cheer in Round 7 when Tyson went down. On a slip. In Round 8, Lane took away a second point from Smith for holding. . . . Tyson continued to look for the big shot -- something Smith wasn't willing to offer. . . . The booing continued. As did the boredom. Smith landed one solid blow, in the final round, but he had little left to follow up with. The misery ended with the bell after Round 12. It could have been worse. It could have been scheduled for 15.


  • "Mike Tyson was impressive against Trevor Berbick, but Berbick isn't the puncher I am. When Tyson fights me, it's going to be a great fight. A bang-bang fight." - James (Bonecrusher) Smith before the fight
  • Everyone says they're going to come out and take it to me, until the bout starts. I'm one who doesn't intimidate or shake easy." - Mike Tyson before the fight
  • "I wanted to break his concentration. I did the best I could. He can punch. He has a devastating left hook, but he couldn't knock out the Bonecrusher." - James (Bonecrusher) Smith after the fight
  • "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 after the fight
  • "I nailed him in the last round, finally caught him. I buckled his knees, but the fight was nearly over by then." - James (Bonecrusher) Smith after the fight
  • "He didn't want to fight. He didn't want to win." - Mike Tyson after the fight

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