Mike Tyson was in a hurry to destroy Michael Spinks, 32 years ago today – and with good reason as his trainer told Iron Mike about pre-fight he would bet $ 22 million on a first round KO.
“My coach told me before I left [for the ring] that he was betting on both of our bags that I would have eliminated him in the first round, “Tyson said after the fight, when asked about the extreme urgency that saw him demolish the unbeaten Spink in 91 seconds.
If a place is crazy enough to make a bet of that size, Atlantic City, New Jersey might be the place.
“Before leaving my penthouse, my coach said to me: ‘I have some news to tell you: it’s good or bad – it’s up to you. I took the money for both of our bags and I bet you would have knocked him out in the first round . ‘
“And I didn’t know if he was making fun of it or not! Because I know he likes to gamble – and I’m saying, did he really do it?
“At the end of the fight, I said, ‘Where’s the $ 45 million?’ He said, ‘I was just kidding.’ “
Coach Kevin Rooney laughs shyly alongside the animated 21-year-old, while Tyson tells the story following what is widely considered to be the biggest win of his career.
Tyson had collected all the belts of alphabetic titles in 1988, but Spinks was the linear champion, so their clash declared “Once And For All” was seen as the choice of the best heavyweights on the planet.
Spinks was guaranteed $ 13.5 million, while Tyson’s purse was declared $ 22 million – that Rooney managed to convince his fighter that he would bet, as a whole, on a first round KO (with imaginary odds) by about even, if Tyson believed the bet he was returning $ 45 million).
In fact, Spinks’ team shot spectacularly in the foot before this race. They deliberately engineered pre-fight delays, including questioning Iron Mike’s windings in an attempt to get on his head, until Tyson overflowed with barely contained anger.
“You know I’m going to hurt this guy,” Tyson told Rooney before leaving for the ring.
Spinks, despite his veteran status, was actually the one who felt intimidated by the delays, especially when he could hear Tyson knocking holes in their joined walls. People close to him later claimed that Spinks was terrified of facing Tyson and didn’t want to leave his dressing room when the moment of the fight finally came.
The 31-year-old certainly boxed like a man without tactical control, while standing in front of Tyson instead of trying to frustrate him. He only took eight punches in total, but Tyson’s devastating mix of hooks and uprights left Spinks with glazed eyes on the canvas and counted.
It was Tyson’s 16th knockout round and the most impressive so far. Although he “only” earned the champion his $ 22 million bag rather than the $ 45 million that his coach Rooney almost convinced he would do.