By Ken Hissner: Marciano at 49-0 and Mayweather at 50-0 would be the winners if it was based on their records, but….is it?
All four have had their controversial wins.
In March of 1950, at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Marciano, 25-0, out of Brockton, Massachusettes, won a split decision over Roland LaStarza, 37-0, from the Bronx in New York. Each fighter got a 5-4 decision, with the referee Jack Watson having it 5-5 in rounds but 9-6 on points for Marciano, who lost the eighth round due to a low blow.
It wasn’t until some four years later, when Marciano was the world champion 44-0, at the New York Polo Grounds after ten rounds, the scores being 7-3 and 6-4 Marciano and 5-5 even did Marciano end it in the eleventh round stopping LaStarza 53-3, in his second defense.
For those that said Marciano beat his cousins, which was never proven, or so what if he did? Or he, age 29, beat old men like in winning the title from champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott, 49-18-1, age 38, though behind after twelve rounds 5-7, 4-7, and 4-8 breaking his cheekbone.
Then, in June of 1954, at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York, Marciano defeated Ezzard Charles, age 32, 85-10-1, by scores of 8-5, 9-5, and 8-6 in their first encounter. Then three months later, at the same site with his nose split down the middle, Marciano, up 5-1 and 6-1, twice knocked out Charles in the eighth round, improving his record to 47-0.
In Marciano’s final fight, he came off the canvas in the second round, taking a “2” count. In the sixth round, Marciano dropped light heavyweight champion Archie “Old Mongoose” Moore, 149-19-8, twice and once in the eighth round.
In the ninth round, Marciano dropped Moore for the fourth time, ending the fight by knockout, ending his career at 49-0 with 43 knockouts and six defenses.
For a puncher, Marciano was smart enough to beat on his opponent’s arms to the point they couldn’t defend themselves.
Now let’s take a look at his opponent, “Iron” Mike Tyson, fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, as an amateur before eventually moving to Henderson, Nevada.
Tyson lost in the Olympic trials to Henry Tillman twice, the second by split decision in July of 1984. He turned pro in March of 1985, winning his first fifteen fights by stoppage when I got a call asking about David Jaco, 19-5, in January of 1986.
I told him not to worry about him, and he stopped Jaco in the first round. Four stoppages later, he won a decision over James “Quick” Tillis, 31-8, in May of 1986, having Tillis down in the fourth round at the Glenn Falls Civic Center. In his next fight, he won a decision over Mitch Green, 16-1-1, at Madison Square Garden. He went on to win his next six fights by stoppage.
Tyson’s peek-a-boo style and quick hands filled with plenty of punching power made him the most feared fighter in the division. In his twenty-eighth fight, he won the WBC World heavyweight title, stopping Trevor Berbick, 31-4-1, in two rounds at the Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada.
In Tyson’s next fight, he added the WBA title, stopping James “Bonecrusher” Smith, 19-5, winning all but one round. Then he stopped former WBC champ Pinklon “Pink” Thomas, 29-1-1, in six rounds.
In August 1987, Tyson added the IBF title, stopping Tony “TNT” Tucker, 34-0, over twelve rounds. In October, he stopped 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Tyrell Biggs, 15-0, in seven rounds in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In January of 1988, at the Convention Center in Atlantic City, with future US President Donald J. Trump sitting next to former champion Muhammad “The Greatest” Ali, who was introduced into the ring. Ali touched gloves with former champion Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes, 48-2. Ali then went to the corner of Tyson and whispered something in his ear.
Tyson next stopped former WBA champ Tony “TNT” Tubbs, 24-1, in two rounds in Tokyo, Japan. Next, he destroyed former IBF champion Michael Spinks 31-0, improving his record to 35-0.
In July of 1989, Tyson dropped Carl “The Truth” Williams, 22-2, in the first round when the referee immediately stopped it without a count.
With a 37-0 record, Tyson traveled to Japan again, and his career would start to fall apart when he had James “Buster” Douglas, 28-4-1, on the canvas in the eighth round but let him off the hook.
After nine rounds, the scores were 87-86, 82-88, and 86-86 even. In the tenth round, Douglas dropped Tyson, who scrambled for his mouthpiece instead of letting the referee get it as the count reached ten and out. Tyson lost for the first time in thirty-eight fights.
Four months later, Tyson returned to the ring, knocking out Henry Tillman, 20-4, who defeated him in the Olympic trials. Seven more wins would follow before it wasn’t the same Tyson when he lost to former champion Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, 32-3, in eleven rounds.
In June of 2002, Tyson was knocked out by champion Lennox “The Lion” Lewis, 39-2-1, in 8 rounds. He would bounce back with a win, then dropped his last two fights by stoppage. His final record was 50-6, with 44 knockouts in June of 2008.
In comparison, Marciano and Tyson both had knockout power, and Marciano had a better chin. Tyson, out of the peek-a-boo stance, would have had Marciano beating on his arms. Tyson, being quicker, would have countered him in a war won by Marciano!
In comparing six-division world champion “Sugar” Ray Leonard to five-division world champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr.
I thought about how Mayweather would do against the opponents Leonard had, like Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran, Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, Wilfred Benitez, and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler. I wonder if he would defeat any of them besides Benitez.
On the other hand, would Leonard defeat some of Mayweather’s toughest opponents like Oscar “Golden Boy” De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Jose Luis Castillo, Shane Mosley, Manny Pacquiao, and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez?
Leonard was a great offensive boxer, and Mayweather was a great defensive boxer. I believe Leonard had too much speed, hand and foot speed for Mayweather.