• July 25, 2024

In a haunting premonition for Roy Jones Jr., Mike Tyson’s relentless victory over Larry Holmes served as a ruthless annihilation in honor of Muhammad Ali.

On that fateful night in 1980, as Mike Tyson made the drive from Albany to the Catskill mountains, a journey that usually takes about an hour, it must have felt much longer.

At the age of 14, Tyson accompanied his mentor, Cus D’Amato, to witness the legendary bout between Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on October 2.

Holmes, holding the WBC heavyweight crown and having sparred extensively with Ali, was seen as a formidable opponent. Promoted as ‘The Last Hurrah’ by Don King, the fight proved to be a fitting title.

Despite Ali’s concerning frailties observed during his pre-fight neurological exam, he was permitted to enter the ring. However, Holmes dominated him for ten rounds until trainer Angelo Dundee finally called an end to the proceedings.

Fergie Pacheco, Ali’s former doctor, denounced the fight as “an abomination” and insisted on the arrest of all those involved due to Ali’s evident deterioration.


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The one-sided mauling was witnessed by a record two billion people worldwide, with Tyson and D’Amato watching on their small closed circuit set in Albany.

Filled with rage, the teenager’s thirst for immediate retribution grew, and Tyson, in an ESPN interview, vividly recounted how he and his mentor started devising a plan right then and there.

“Cus was desperate for me to defeat him. I was deeply offended by the extent of Ali’s beating,” Tyson revealed.

“As we drove back to Catskill, not a single word was uttered in the car; we were all overwhelmed with disappointment. The next morning, Cus was on the phone with Muhammad Ali, having endured that shellacking from Holmes.

“He said to Ali, ‘I have this young black kid who will become the heavyweight champion someday, and I want you to talk to him.'”

Despite having the opportunity to converse with his idol, one of the most celebrated sports icons in history, Tyson’s mind remained fixated on one thing – vengeance.


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“When I reach adulthood, I will confront Holmes and avenge you,” he declared.

The teenager proceeded to embark on one of the most savage and brutal rampages ever witnessed in the heavyweight division. He achieved gold medals in the 1981 and 1982 Junior Olympic Games before making his debut in Albany at the age of 18.

With an impressive record of 26 wins, 24 of which came by way of knockout or technical knockout, Tyson earned a reputation for ending fights within the first three minutes. The world was soon engulfed in ‘Tyson-Mania’ following his victory over Trevor Berbick, which made him the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history.

Tyson accomplished a remarkable feat in 1988 by becoming the first heavyweight to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles. However, the moment of retribution finally arrived.

In a highly anticipated event dubbed ‘Heavyweight History,’ a 38-year-old Holmes was enticed out of retirement with a $3 million offer from Don King to face the ferocious Tyson.

Muhammad Ali graced the ringside as a guest, parading in front of the crowd, basking in their adulation before assuming a solemn expression and whispering something into Tyson’s ear.


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“Remember your words – avenge him through me.”

In a mere four rounds, Tyson demonstrated his superior speed, strength, and lethal prowess against the former heavyweight champion. Holmes found himself knocked down twice before the fight was ultimately halted, marking the first knockout defeat of his extensive 75-fight career.

The determined champion had fulfilled the promise he made eight years earlier, swiftly dismantling Holmes to seek retribution for the relentless punishment inflicted upon his idol, Ali, at Caesars Palace.

This Saturday night, ‘Iron Mike’ will make his highly anticipated return to the ring after a 15-year absence, facing off against Roy Jones Junior at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

While the event may be labeled as an ‘exhibition,’ as Larry Holmes can testify, the New Yorker holds little regard for legacies or records, harboring a profound and ferocious nature within him.

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