After his 91-second destruction of Michael Spinks, the only viable opponents left for Mike Tyson to fight are those in the record books.
Tyson says he is retired following his victory over Spinks Monday night, and his legal battle with manager Bill Cayton may prevent him from fighting for the rest of the year. Tyson is trying to break his contract with his manager, in case he changes his mind about retirement.Few people believe Tyson can walk away from millions of dollars per fight at the age of 22. If he does retire, his career will end on the verge of becoming one of the best heavyweight champions in boxing history.
At 8-0, Tyson holds the record for most victories in heavyweight championship bouts without a loss. He is also in the record book as the youngest heavyweight champion in history, winning the title as a 20-year-old.
Tyson is ready to move among the division's leaders in several other categories:
- He is two victories away from tying Joe Frazier for fifth on the list of most heavyweight championship fights won, and three away from fourth-place Tommy Burns.
- Tyson needs three more triumphs to tie Muhammad Ali for third place in most consecutive championship bouts won.
- His six championship knockouts put him two behind Floyd Patterson in fifth and three behind fourth-place Burns.
- His .886 knockout percentage is second among heavyweight champions to George Foreman.
There are no heavyweight championship records safe from the 22-year-old Tyson. He is 14 straight victories from matching Rocky Marciano's 49-0 mark. He is 18 triumphs shy of Joe Louis' record of 26 championship victories and 16 knockouts short of Louis' record of 22. Fighting just three times a year, Tyson could approach Marciano's record at the age of 27 and Louis' marks the following year.
His pride of a champion and sense of boxing history may convince him to change his mind about retiring and go for those other records.
Before his mismatch against Spinks, Tyson talked like a man who intended to rule the heavyweight division for a long time. When told his eventual successor is probably some 15-year-old who will catch Tyson going downhill in about 10 years, he said: "He's going to be in for a very serious education."
Tyson claimed contenders will appear, although there seems to be a dearth of serious threats to his title.
"You can't find him, but look around, he's there," Tyson said. "You couldn't find me either."