WOW! World’s Greatest Knockout!

On November 22, 1986, a 20-year-old boxing revelation in Mike Tyson stepped into the ring aiming to make history against Trevor Berbick. Tyson had the opportunity to become the youngest fighter to win a world heavyweight title in the history of boxing, a feat which had previously been set by Floyd Patterson at the age of 21.

Both men had been trained by Cus D’Amato, although the legendary trainer wouldn’t live to see his protege crowned champion in ’86 after passing just over a year before the fight took place. Nevertheless, he had developed Tyson into the fighter that many would go on to regard as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, with the Catskill native heading into the bout against his vastly experienced rival with a 27-0 record with 25 KOs.

Despite the fear of potentially being overawed by the occasion, the 20-year-old walked to the ring with no music, a cut-out towel covering his upper body and with the black trunks that had earned him a $5,000 fine given that the challenger had traditionally had to choose a different colour to the champion. With the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Muhammad Ali ringside, the opening bell sounded and Tyson immediately came out the aggressor as he landed several hurtful shots to his opponent to ensure that his intentions were clear.

As the first round drew to a close, the challenger landed a four-punch combination that left Berbick scrambling across the ring, although the champion was able to stay on his feet and survive the first three minutes.

However, it wasn’t long before his fate was sealed. While some will have interpreted his effort as spirited as he continued to try and take the attack to Tyson, others would argue that it was the worst possible mentality to have against such a dangerous opponent. With his rival continuing to land heavy-handed shots that rocked him and left him disorientated, it seemed inevitable that the champion would fall.

At the 2 minute and 35 second mark in the second round, Tyson landed with a shuddering right to the body followed by a left hook to the temple that dropped Berbick for the second time in the fight. While his mind was urging him to get up, those infamous clips of the 32-year-old collapsing to the canvas twice as his body failed to respond saw referee Mills Lane step in and call an end to the bout and signal a new era in heavyweight boxing.

“Every punch I threw [was] with bad intentions to a vital area. I aimed for his ear, I wanted to bust his eardrum. Every punch had bad intentions. My record will last for immortality, It’ll never be broken. I want to live forever, I refuse to lose, I would have to be carried out dead to lose. I was coming to destroy and win the heavyweight championship of the world, which I done.”