February 11th 1990, inside the Tokyo Dome Sports Arena, Japan.
Undisputed world heavyweight boxing champion ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, the self acclaimed ‘baddest man on the planet’, was flattened by unheralded outsider Buster Douglas. Tyson, a human wrecking ball with finely tuned old-school skills, had hitherto proved unbeatable. He’d terrorised the heavyweight division with a five-year run of highlight reel knockouts, and transcended his genre to become a household name worldwide.
‘Iron’ Mike became the most popular heavyweight boxer since ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali. His squat, muscular, tree trunk physique and ice-cold glare often overwhelmed opponents before a single punch had been thrown. Didn’t scare Buster though – well if it did, he certainly didn’t let it show. Douglas’s mother Lula passed away just two weeks before the fight, and he’d somehow managed to extract motivation from abject grief. Come fight night he was well and truly ready to rumble.
Tyson, for whatever reason, didn’t perform with his usual manic intensity. However, he still managed to drill Buster to the deck with a savage right uppercut in the eighth round. More frustrated than hurt, Buster slammed the canvas with his gloved fist, got up and steamed straight back in.
It’s called determination in the face of extreme adversity. Two frenetic rounds later, he pulled off the biggest upset in the history of professional boxing. With about a minute to go in the tenth round, he landed a hellacious right uppercut of his own, and Iron Mike’s knees melted. Seizing the moment, Buster unloaded a ferocious barrage of punches to seal the incredible deal.
The Tokyo crowd was stunned into an eerie silence as the disorientated fallen champ made a pitiful attempt to rise before the referee’s count of ten. No chance. Game, and world title reign over.
Call it a sequel, the Biblical version involved a sling and a stone.