Mike Tyson was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in 1988, but there was one man who challenged his claim: Michael Spinks. Spinks was the former light heavyweight champion who had moved up to the heavyweight division and defeated Larry Holmes twice to become the Ring and lineal champion. Spinks was undefeated in 31 fights, and many considered him the best boxer in the world.
On June 27, 1988, Tyson and Spinks met in a fight that was billed as “Once and For All”, to determine the true heavyweight champion. The fight took place at the Atlantic City Convention Hall, in front of a crowd of 21,785 and a pay-per-view audience of 1.5 million. Tyson was the overwhelming favorite, with odds of 5-1 in his favor. Spinks was paid $13.5 million, while Tyson received $22 million, the highest purse in boxing history at the time.
The fight was a massacre. Tyson came out aggressively, throwing powerful punches at Spinks, who tried to keep his distance and use his jab. Tyson knocked down Spinks with a left hook to the body in the first minute of the fight, but Spinks managed to get up. Tyson continued to pressure Spinks, who looked nervous and overwhelmed. Tyson landed a devastating right to the body and a left uppercut to the head that sent Spinks crashing to the canvas, unconscious and motionless. The referee counted to 10 and waved off the fight. The official time was 1:31 of the first round.
Tyson proved his dominance and ferocity with this knockout, which is considered one of the fastest and most brutal in heavyweight history. He unified the WBA, WBC, IBF, Ring and lineal titles, and became the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Leon Spinks in 1978. He also improved his record to 35-0, with 31 knockouts, 16 of them in the first round. Spinks never fought again, and retired with a record of 31-1, with 21 knockouts.
The Tyson-Spinks fight was a historic event that showcased the power and skill of Mike Tyson, who was at the peak of his career and popularity. It was also a brutal display of the violence and danger of boxing, as one punch can end a fight and a career in an instant.🥊