ONCE known universally as “The Baddest Man on the Planet”, Mike Tyson captured the imagination of sports fans around the world when he burst onto the scene in the mid-late 1980s.
A troubled youth, saved from the streets by a caring mentor – his trainer and manager Cus D’Amato – Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history at the age of 20, when he numbed Trevor Berbick with a stunning left hook in Las Vegas in November 1986.
It was an astonishing achievement and as he terrorised the remainder of the division he instilled fear into just about every heavyweight he faced. Whether it was Frank Bruno crossing himself umpteen times on his way in the ring, Michael Spinks freezing like a deer in the headlights or Larry Holmes trying to be too tough for his own good, no one could match Tyson in his prime. It was not about who he was beating but how he was decimating them. As a result many Tyson fans think the fighter who was so devastating then would have matched up favourably to the best heavyweights in history.