Skip to content
Home » Mike Tyson left 31-0 ‘dead man walking, waiting for the guillotine’

Mike Tyson left 31-0 ‘dead man walking, waiting for the guillotine’

  • by
  • Featured
  • 4 min read

Mike Tyson had his opponent waiting to be beaten and walking to the ring defeated when he became the undisputed champion of the world.

Former two-weight world and Olympic champion Michael Spinks had no chance, no matter how he felt against Tyson in 1988.

That’s the view of Tyson’s former trainer Teddy Atlas.

Firstly, Spinks went down in 91 seconds against Tyson in an undisputed heavyweight title clash, three years after moving up from 175 pounds.

During his spell at the lower weight, the one-time super-middleweight claimed all the belts on offer. Spinks was widely recognized as one of the best light heavyweights of his generation.

Back-to-back underdog wins over the great Larry Holmes cemented him as a fully-fledged top-division operator.

Mike Tyson Jinx

But it was the Tyson fight where question marks hung over ‘Jinx’ as the then 31-0 star was bludgeoned in just over a minute and a half.

Many thought Spinks had already lost on his way to the ring as he looked petrified at what was to come. Others just thought that mentally Spinks was spent due to the fight’s significance.

As the Convention Hall in Atlantic City held its breath, Tyson enhanced his legacy with an unbelievable performance.

The trainer that night, Kevin Rooney, had replaced Teddy Atlas a few years prior. But Atlas followed the career of Mike Tyson closely over the next two decades.

Atlas took time out during one of his recent podcasts to shield Spinks from unwarranted criticism.

“People thought (Michael Spinks) was a dead man walking. That’s the problem,” pointed out Atlas. “They dismissed everything, and I get people are people.

“They said that he was intimidated. He was scared to death and pooping his pants. In addition, it was that he was frozen like a deer in headlights.

“He was a guy waiting to go to the guillotine. To put his head on the block and let’s get it over with.

“First of all, that’s not fair because nobody is in his mind and in his body that could verify that – number one.

Michael Spinks win

“Number two – looking at it from the point I am, I’m the guy who has been as critical as anyone about Tyson and his shortcomings. But at the same time, I have pointed out that he’s one of the great punchers in the history of the sport and could punch with either hand.

“So I give him his due. I point out the things that I believe in my position should be pointed out when that’s what people are asking me to do.

“They’re not asking me to do a show based on being liked. It’s not about being liked. It’s not about giving your opinion on how you see the facts eliminating everything else. So I give him all his credit.

“Now having said that, I will say again, when you touch down with Spinks, a lot of people just dismissed the fight like the guy didn’t show up like there was nobody in the ring with him (Tyson). He was like it was a hologram. He was a ghost. There was nobody there.

“That’s what everyone assumes. One guy says it, and everybody follows. They forget that the guy was an Olympic gold medalist on the most outstanding Olympic Team of all time in 1976.

“He’s one of the greatest unified light heavyweight champions of all time too.

“I am going to make a correlation here, okay? I am not trying to defend anybody. I’m not trying to attack anyone. Furthermore, I’m just trying to make a case (for Spinks),” he added.

Watch all episodes of ‘The Fight With Teddy Atlas on YouTube HERE.