History | Premium | Jun 28 2019

On This Day: Mike Tyson loses his menace

Mike Tyson's victory over Razor Ruddock was not enough to cover flaws, said the esteemed Harry Mullan from ringside in Las Vegas back in 1991
Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson battles Donovan Ruddock during their heavyweight fight at The Mirage  |  MPS/USA Today Sports

THE fight which was designed to underline Mike Tyson’s status as uncrowned heavyweight champion of the world served only to emphasise the extent of his deterioration, and to raise, perhaps for the first time, the possibility that he will not now be good enough to regain the title he held for more than three years.

His 12-rounds points win over Razor Ruddock looked impressive on the score sheets; judges Dalby Shirley and Art Lurie each had him ahead by 114-108, while Chuck Giampa made it 113-109, which was how I scored it. But the statistics do not even hint at the sudden and dramatic erosion of Tyson’s talent. This was a shabby, formless victory, and had Ruddock realised before the halfway stage how little he had in front of him, it could so easily have been a defeat.

There were some in the near-capacity crowd in the Las Vegas Mirage hotel’s outdoor arena who felt that Ruddock’s work in the second half of the fight, during which he rocked Tyson (15st 6lbs) repeatedly with wide left hooks and right uppercuts, had been enough to earn him victory. But few, if any, serious observers could support that view.