Mike Tyson has been prominently in the news in recent days for his proposed “come back” exhibition fight with Roy Jones Jr. in September. However, we prefer to remember the menacing fighter of the mid-to-late 80s. And, on this day 34 years ago, he was at his most devastating best, immediately, against the son of a heavyweight legend.
July 26th, 1986, at the Civic Center in Glen Falls, New York, where a sky-rocketing Tyson stepped into the ring that day at 24 – 0, 22 KOs and with boxing fans and media everywhere buzzing with anticipation of another devastating performance.
ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” was there to televise that Saturday afternoon all over the country, as “Iron Mike” was fighting incredibly, for the 4th time in 43 days ( 3 previous KOs).
Standing in front of him was Marvis Frazier, the son of former heavyweight champ “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier. And, while his last name gave him credibility to be on a main event bill on network TV, we would quickly see, he had no business being in the ring with the big punching tornado that the just turned 20-year old, Tyson had become.
The elder Frazier was in Marvis’ corner that afternoon, and his son actually had a 24 – 1 record coming in. But, most of his competition had been suspect.
Plus, his lone loss had come, when he previously fought Larry Holmes in just his 11th pro fight in a bid for the Heavyweight crown in 1983. Holmes dispatched him easily in the opening frame with a thunderous right hand for a KO.
Well, if Marvis thought that evening and one round was tough with “the Easton Assassin,” it had nothing on what was about to happen to him that afternoon in Upstate New York.
Tyson entered clad in his soon-to-be a trademark, all-black shorts with no socks and little black amateur wrestling shoes. And from the first bell, charged at Frazier firing hooks and body shots right away. After Frazier drifted along the ropes to the left of his corner in the first 10 seconds, Tyson swarmed him landing a punch to the body but missing a right uppercut.
Still, he backed Frazier into the corner and the end was about to come quicker than you could spell “I-r-o-n M-i-k-e.”
Tyson missed a left hook but he followed with big right uppercut that caught Frazier on the chin stunning him for a split second. Tyson feigned, and then launched another right uppercut “missile” that connected solidly, and Frazier’s head and body recoiled into the air.
He appeared to already be kayoed in mid-air, heading to the ground, when Tyson caught him again with a quick, short right and left hook, 1-2 combo on the way down.
And, Frazier ended slumped unconscious in a seated position, not unlike Jersey Joe Walcott when former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano knocked him out sitting upright in their heavyweight bout in 1953.
Hall of Fame Referee, Joe Cortez, stopped his count at 5, when he saw Frazier unconscious and immediately, waved the fight over and in the doctors at the:30 second mark of round one.
Re-live the call with Jim Lampley and Allex Wallu:
The aftermath of the fight was, as you would expect, with Tyson’s people demanding a title shot with him having come in, as the number two WBC contender.
His then-trainer, Kevin Rooney old Wide World of Sports “We’re ready right now, to fight anybody in the world.”
And he was right, as Tyson won two more fights by KO in August and September, got a deal with WBC champion Trevor Berbick for November in Las Vegas. He proceeded to wipe him out in just two rounds to become at that time, the youngest Heavyweight Champion (20 years 4 months) ever.
We’ve written many times that there was no more devastating Heavyweight champion ever than what Tyson was for three and half years, and ten title victories in the late 80s. That is, until “Buster” Douglas finally derailed him in February of 1990 in Japan.
But, as we saw on that July day, now, three and half decades ago, the up-and-coming contender in Glen Falls New York, showed the world (at Marvis Frazier’s expense) he was a young, dynamic, force to be reckoned with, and you better be ready, quick.
Many others before and after, would testify to that and feel the power of “Iron Mike.”