Labeling anything as “the greatest” is a dangerous pastime, and when considering the long history of professional boxing, I think we all know who “the greatest” is. I was careful not to title this article as “the greatest moment in boxing history” as that might be disputed. But in terms of the all-time greatest few seconds, I really don’t think I am wrong on this…
And the crazy thing is – you probably haven’t seen it.
Plenty of compilations and documentaries have been produced on “Iron” Mike Tyson. Some are better than others, but inexplicably, they consistently leave out the greatest few seconds of Tyson’s career, and in my opinion, the greatest few seconds of boxing history.
I’ll go ahead and reveal my bias – from 1985-1988, I think Tyson was the greatest boxer of all time. And by that I mean, I don’t think he was capable of being defeated. Success, money, relationships, and his young age led to his eventual downfall, but during the years of 85-88 when he was the most feared man on the planet, I think you can place any boxer from any era in the ring with Tyson and they will not be standing for long.
Tyson is best known for his punching power, intimidation factor, and agility. But the guy really had it all, and the few seconds I about to describe demonstrates this best. Here’s what happened:
On June 13, 1986, Tyson was fighting an American boxer named Reggie Gross. Tyson dominated from the opening bell and Gross would eventually fall twice in the first round, giving Tyson the victory by a TKO in 2 minutes, 36 seconds. The few seconds just prior to the first devastating hook by Tyson are the most jaw-dropping thing I have ever seen in a boxing ring.
Here is what I think happened. Gross quickly determines that he is completely outmatched in the fight. He has his guard up and is in total defense mode. Then, I think something snapped and Gross basically said to himself, “I’m never going to win this unless something crazy happens, so I’m just going to quickly and randomly go crazy on Tyson, throwing every punch I have at him in a matter of seconds.”
And that’s exactly what he does. Out of nowhere, Gross starts heaving punch after punch after punch at Tyson, any one of which could have been deadly if they had connected. Boxing strategy went completely out of the window – if one of these punches didn’t land, then Gross was toast. Well, none of the punches landed because…
Tyson demonstrates how great he really was. I’m not kidding here people, if you did not know this was a real-life boxing match, you would think this was staged. You would think this was a Rocky film with Sylvester Stallone directing the fight. It’s just unreal to watch Tyson dodge the flurry of desperate punches by Gross. Tyson is balanced, calculated, fast, and absolutely inspirational in these few seconds of the fight. And, as if his defense were not enough to win the greatest few seconds of boxing history award, he finishes it with one punch. One punch. I mean, seriously? You truly could not write this stuff any better.
I have watched this moment in Tyson’s fight with Reggie Gross more times than I can count. Something about it is so artistic; I keep coming back for more. Obviously, Muhammad Ali has many moments of incredible dancing like a butterfly, but in my book, these few seconds of Tyson’s fight are unbeatable.
So, see if you agree with me. I have cued the clip below to begin at Reggie Gross’ defensive posture. He will suddenly break into a series of wild punches, and then watch what happens…
…the greatest few seconds in boxing history.