On Saturday night in Saudi Arabia, Anthony Joshua will attempt to regain his Unified Heavyweight Title belts from Andy Ruiz, who stunned him six months ago in New York City. And, when he steps through the ropes in a bid to erase the worst moment of his pro career, he will differ from one of the all-time great heavyweight champions, who never got his rematch with the man that handed him his first loss.
It is arguably the most anticipated heavyweight title rematch in over 20 years of the sport, as Joshua tries to get revenge on the Mexican-American who shocked him and the boxing world with a 7th Round TKO.
However, nearly 30 years ago, one of the great heavyweight champions of all time, “Iron” Mike Tyson had been more significantly stunned by 42-1 Underdog, James “Buster” Douglas in Tokyo, Japan on a 10th KO. But, unlike Joshua, Tyson watched months of legal wrangling in 1990 about the rematch clauses go by and eventually, Douglas won his legal temporary freedom in the U.S. Courts.
Buster and his team chose to fight Evander Holyfield instead of the obligated Tyson rematch and he was, by his own admission later, badly out of shape that October and was kayoed by one Holyfield punch in the 3rd round.
Gone were Douglas’ titles.
And, gone too, was Tyson’s chance at revenge. Not just immediately, but forever.
Tyson would be arrested in Indiana the next year and charged with raping a beauty pageant contestant. He was convicted, ironically, on the night of the two year anniversary of his Douglas defeat in 1992 and would serve three years in prison.
By then, Douglas was long gone off the heavyweight world stage. Holyfield had been upset by Michael Moorer and the belts fragmented to several others or went vacant.
Tyson, eventually got them back with individual wins over Bruce Seldon, Frank Bruno and others. He then, was upset for the second time of career, when Holyfield beat him on an 11th round TKO in November of 1996.
Tyson got that rematch, but it ended with the most famous DQ in Heavyweight Title history. This as, Tyson bit part of Holyfield’s one ear off, and then did it again in the following round forcing referee Mills Lane to end the fight in the 3rd round.
Gone for good, this time, were Tyson’s titles.
And we were left to wonder, forever, if things would have been totally different had there been a quick rematch with Douglas like Joshua is getting Saturday?
Would Tyson have destroyed Buster in a second fight? Probably.
Does he ever end up in Indianapolis at the beauty pageant the following year, if he’s the champ defending his titles? That, is great question.
Would he have done something equally self-destructive like the Indianapolis rape, or the Holyfield biting DQ, no matter what? Very likely.
All we do know is: Tyson never did get the chance to erase his humiliating/humbling KO to Douglas
The chance Joshua has, now.