Editorial By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
While Iron Mike Tyson carries on today with his one man show in Las Vegas, the memory of Tyson the boxer is slowly but surely fading into oblivion in the millennial generation. With four different world heavyweight champions today-Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and Lucas Browne all claiming a part of the world title-one question emerges. How would these men have fared against Iron Mike Tyson in his prime?
This editorial is not a fantasy fight reflection. Rather, it is an accurate comparison and analysis of Mike Tyson and Deontay Wilder at 37-0, whichis WIdler is right now. In this retrospective, Tyson is seen in his prime versus Deontay Wilder Today. Fury, Joshua and Browne need to have more heavyweight fights under their belt before they can be neutrally evaluated versus the champions of the past. Wilder, however, has five World Boxing Council World Heavyweight title bouts under his belt, and has an impressive 37-0 record with 36 knockouts.
Tyson reached 37-0 with 33 knockouts in his prime by the summer of 1989 after he knocked out Carl ‘The Truth’ Williams. All factors considered, this version of Tyson already had 10 world title bouts of experience, five more world title bouts than Wilder did at the time the records of both fighters matched.
Tyson being the aggressive fighter he was, would have gotten inside on Wilder with pressure. Against Tyson, Wilder would find his height to be of no advantage. Tyson would have nailed Wilder with some power shots. Wilder would try to land some jabs and stay out of range, but Tyson would have finished him within five rounds before he could settle down with a game plan.
The key to Iron Mike’s success had to deal with blunt force power. In his prime, there simply was no way to trade with Iron Mike. The earlier version of Mike with Kevin Rooney had better head movement and ring generalship. Even where was as a fighter after getting rid of Rooney, Mike still knew how to sum up his opponent in terms of ability and weaknesses rapidly. Mike was a considerable boxing historian with an encyclopedic memory of knowledge of heavyweight fights of the past.
Wilder, where he is right now, has the capacity for greatness, but remains untested. He has had trouble with various opponents at different times, though, like Rocky Marciano, Wilder has always found a way to win. Tyson, like Marciano, was a smaller frame heavyweight, but overcame the size disadvantage with power and great defense. Mike was hard to hit, and hard to stop once he was in the mode of moving forward on his opponents.
Wilder is an extraordinary gifted and disciplined fighter. Tyson had power, and fits in one particular category-his knockout power. If Tyson succeeded in dropping Wilder at any point in their fight, Tyson knew how to close the show. Mike would still have need tall sparring partners for Wilder, given the 5’10” to 6’7” nine inch height differentiation.
Like Doug Flutie in football, size became an irrelevant for Tyson the boxer once Tyson proved his speed and power could overcome any purported advantage his opponents claimed. The bigger they came, the harder they fell. Wilder has yet to fight Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury or Wladimir Klitschko, the other three big boys.
The key edge factor had to no with experience as a fighter in world title bouts. Tyson would have stopped or knocked out Wilder for this reason. If and when Wilder had more experience, than the later version of Wilder, which we have yet to see, will look more like Lennox Lewis versus Tyson. Wilder does not have the hard work ethic of an Evander Holyfield to the extent Holyfield worked harder than the rest, but with sufficient experience Wilder may yet take out the best heavyweights in the game.
Wilder will have to improve greatly as a fighter. He has yet to bring his ‘A’ game to the table, though he is on the way up. Wilder is hungry, as Tyson was in the prime of his career. He might go the distance with Tyson, like Tony Tucker did with Tyson, if he tied Tyson up significantly. Given the mean nature of Tyson in his early bouts and in his prime, Wilder would find that premise difficult at this point in his career.
If Wilder could stay out of Tyson’s range and move significantly, his chances would be improved. However, Wilder is not sharp enough where he is now to avoid making mistakes, which Iron Mike would have been certain to capitalize on. Wilder might fight Luis Ortiz next. If so, Wilder might be running into the same Mike Tyson style type of power in Ortiz like Tyson had. For Wilder’s career to continue from where it is, Wilder will have to take his game up one notch. His opponents are getting hungrier and hungrier trying to win.