"Is there any way in your mind that you can see you losing this fight?"
"No way. Perhaps if I chop off both of my arms."
* * * * *
25 years ago today, on November 22, 1986, "Iron" Mike Tyson faced WBC heavyweight titleholder Trevor Berbick at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. On that night, Tyson mauled Berbick over two rounds to become the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history, at 20 years, 4 months, and 22 days.
Tyson, who had been largely obliterating his opposition up to that point, had become a young phenom and was considered already one of the most fearsome men in the sport. Berbick, at 32, was a pretty good fighter but far from great, gaining most of his fame for being the man to permanently retire a very aged Muhammad Ali in December 1981, seven months after Berbick fell short in his first shot at a world title, losing over 15 rounds to Larry Holmes.
Berbick had claimed the WBC belt in March 1986, defeating Pinklon Thomas on scores of 115-114, 115-113, and 115-113.
But Tyson was the story. While Berbick sat for the eight months following his win over Thomas, look at the absurd schedule Tyson kept in '86:
- January 11: vs David Jaco (TKO-1)
- January 24: vs Mike Jameson (TKO-5)
- February 16: vs Jesse Ferguson (TKO-6)
- March 10: vs Steve Zouski (KO-3)
- May 3: vs James Tillis (UD-10)
- May 20: vs Mitch Green (UD-10)
- June 13: vs Reggie Gross (TKO-1)
- June 28: vs William Hosea (KO-1)
- July 11: vs Lorenzo Boyd (KO-2)
- July 26: vs Marvis Frazier (KO-1)
- August 17: vs Jose Ribalta (TKO-10)
- September 6: vs Alonzo Ratliff (TKO-2)
Tyson vs Berbick is after the jump.
Berbick was never really a contender again following the devastating loss to Tyson, though he did box until 2000, fighting for the last time just over two months shy of his 46th birthday. Berbick retired with a career record of 49-11-1, with 33 knockout victories. The only man to ever knock Berbick out besides Mike Tyson was Colombian Bernardo Mercado in Nova Scotia, back in 1979.
In 2006, Berbick was murdered by his nephew in Jamaica over a land dispute.
Tyson, of course, would reach heights in boxing only a select few will ever see for themselves. He became one of the most popular and well-known figures on the planet, athlete or otherwise, and to this day we hear many bemoaning the lack of "a Mike Tyson" type figure in the heavyweight division. Earlier this year, Tyson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.