History

On This Day: Mike Tyson chases the terrified Alfonzo Ratliff in a warm-up for his first world title shot

Mike Tyson
A peak Mike Tyson blitzes Alfonzo Ratliff in two rounds

MIKE TYSON w rsf 2 ALFONZO RATLIFF
September 6, 1986; Las Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas, NV
WITH a November shot at the WBC heavyweight title in the offing, Mike Tyson was showcased on the undercard of IBF boss Michael Spinks’ mismatch/defence against Steffen Tangstad. Tyson’s opponent was former cruiserweight belt-holder, Alfonzo Ratliff, in a bout considered such a foregone conclusion that bookmakers would only take bets on whether the fight would last five rounds or not, as opposed to who would actually win. Ratliff came only to survive, running laps of the ring perimeter in the first round before Tyson caught up with him in the second. Worth watching just to witness the genuine terror that 20-year-old Mike instilled in his opponents at that time.

DID YOU KNOW? The talk at ringside was that Trevor Berbick – the WBC champ – was trying to get out of his contract to fight Tyson. Don King was considering bringing in former champion, Pinklon Thomas, to instead take on “Iron” Mike for the vacant title.

WATCH OUT FOR: Tyson, hands by his sides, standing completely still and staring at Ratliff in the neutral corner after the first knockdown. Little wonder Ratliff was terrified.

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