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Mike Tyson was boxing’s Michael Jordan – that good for one night

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Mike Tyson was boxing’s version of Michael Jordan for one night only, his career-defining effort against Michael Spinks.

“The Baddest Man on the Planet” has again been compared to any of the greats in any sport for his performance on one fateful night in 1988.

Teddy Atlas, who trained Tyson in his early days before the pair had a falling out, had lauded Tyson for his victory over Spinks.

In a recent episode of his ‘The Fight With’ podcast, Atlas reiterated those words and elaborated considerably.

Mike Tyson

He said: That night, he was as good as any heavyweight in the sport’s history. That night, he was calm, controlled, and supremely confident.

“Tyson was like Michael Jordan in basketball. You can’t beat me. I control the universe.

“When you’re at that level, even in a chaotic place, you see sense. You’re calm in an uncalm place, and that was Tyson.

“That night, Mike Tyson had it all. Calmness, speed, and power. I don’t think anyone could beat him that night.

“Tyson knew that he wanted to convey a feeling to Spinks, so he came out hot and fast but calculating. He wanted the guy to be on the back foot and be set for that right hand.

“He was sending a message. When he backs him into the ropes in the first round, he hits him with a left uppercut, goes over, and finds the body boom!

“The first knockdown. Clean and brilliant. No one gives credit for that. Then Spinks gets up. He gets the count he’s ready.

“Tyson starts coming in casually like he’s going to get his kid ice cream, but he knows what he’s doing. He is completely in control of his moment. He knows the guy is desperate.

Tyson vs Spinks

“He’s gonna throw his signature punch, the ‘Spinks Jinx.’ He (Tyson) moves and makes him miss. In a millisecond, he counters back with his own right hand.

“Spinks never saw the punch. It was perfect. Spinks fell threw the ropes, trying to get up.

“That night, he was Jack Dempsey, Joe Lewis, and Mohammad Ali. You pick any guy. He was all of them. He was that good.

“Maybe I should have said this a while ago, but Tyson was as good as any heavyweight that night,” he added.

Mike Tyson’s greatest achievement will always be becoming the youngest heavyweight champion of all time. But the Spinks performance was his greatest victory – bar none.

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