In 2016, Hall of Fame wrestler Kevin Nash told Sports Illustrated that shortly before he left the WWE, Vince McMahon asked him to fight Mike Tyson in Central Park. “I asked him, ‘How much am I going to get paid?'” Nash recalled. “Vince said it was for charity, and I said, ‘F*ck. I ain’t fighting Mike Tyson and getting knocked the f*ck out for charity.'” That’s not why Nash left, but if was, could you blame him?
Even the legendary George Foreman, who packed “one of the most powerful right hands in boxing history,” according to Sports Illustrated, had zero desire to have Mike Tyson all up in his grill after winning the world heavyweight title at age 45. Speaking with ESPN’s Max Kellerman, Foreman said, “I call him Mike ‘Nightmare’ Tyson … If he missed you with his left, then missed you with his right, he’d bite you. I didn’t want to have anything to do with that guy.”
Despite the biting remark, Foreman admired the nightmare and marveled at the boxer Tyson was in his prime. “There was nothing like him,” he declared. According to Foreman, had prime Mike Tyson competed another four years, he could have become the second greatest fighter of all time behind Joe Louis. That’s remarkably high praise from someone who went toe to toe with Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Across his career, Foreman withstood punishment from some of the hardest hitters in history, so it’s hard not to wonder where he might have ranked Tyson in that department if they had fought. How powerful was Iron Mike’s punch?
Tyson's hits lifted an opponent off the ground
If you’ve watched any of the many YouTube compilations of Mike Tyson knockouts, then you’ve seen his hits wither people like flowers in a drought. Seeing is believing, but feeling is regretting. Unfortunately for boxer Julius Francis, he did both. Per Bleacher Report, in 2000, Tyson flew to England to face the British boxer. Before the bout, Francis projected confidence. As for the contest itself, well, let’s just say it’s amazing that he didn’t project vomit. Tyson knocked him down five times in two rounds. There was no Round Three.
In a 2004 interview, Francis recalled being “shocked by the speed and power of the punches.” Tyson punched him so hard that gravity threw in the towel: “He was hitting me with all sorts of body and head shots; he even lifted me off the ground with some of them and I weighed 17 stone (238 pounds)!” Though much of the fight was “a blur,” one thing remained clear for Francis: “I won’t forget the pain in a hurry.” Remember, that was about four years after the fight. Now that’s power.
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