THEY are the most famous 91-seconds in all of boxing, and they took place on this day, a Monday, in June of 1988. 31 years ago this very day, a peak and seemingly unbeatable Mike Tyson took on the man that, in the opinion of a handful of good judges, was the only fighter left who was capable of testing him; maybe even beating him.
Dubbed “Once and For All,” the fight took place at the glitzy hotel owned by a certain Donald Trump, The Trump Plaza. Everyone who was anyone was there – Muhammad Ali, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Sylvester Stallone and Madonna to name just a handful of the celebrities in attendance – and the fight was the biggest money-spinner in the sport’s history at the time. Unfortunately, anyone who was expecting a great fight was to be disappointed.
The two unbeaten fighters, both of whom had a legitimate claim to the heavyweight throne – Tyson having captured the WBC/WBA and IBF belts, Spinks having won the lineal title with his 1985 upset of Larry Holmes – at last faced one another. Tyson, aged just 21 (he would turn 22 three days after the fight) was sporting a 34-0 (30) record, while Spinks, aged 31, was perfect at 31-0 (21). Despite these respective credentials, the fight proved to be a massive mismatch/anticlimax.