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Mike Tyson Knocked Out by Buster Douglas – February 11, 1990

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This one didn’t end the way it was supposed to, although for at least 10 seconds, most of the fans at ringside in Tokyo, Japan thought it was going to. That’s when undefeated heavyweight champ Mike Tyson caught Buster Douglas with an uppercut that knocked him on his rear end. The knockdown came three seconds before the bell to end the round, but the rules that night called for no “saving-by-the-bell.”

Douglas got up when referee Octavio Moran got to a count of nine. There was nothing like a delayed long count a-la the infamous Dempsey-Tunney fight. On the other hand, video replays definitively showed that Moran just counted kind of the slow. Also Moran never picked up the count from the official time keeper as he was supposed to, but that wasn’t Douglas’s fault. It’s the knocked down fighter’s responsibility to rise to his feet before the referee gets to a count of 10, and there’s no disputing that Douglas met his obligation.

Two rounds later it was Mike Tyson who was knocked down and not getting up by the count of 10, and even if he had, the fight should have been stopped because Iron Mike was in no shape to continue.

Promoter Don King was not happy with the results. He had Tyson booked to fight Evander Holyfield in June, for a much bigger payday than a Douglas-Holyfield fight could bring. So King protested the results. At first WBC and WBA both suspended recognition of Douglas as the new champion. The next day, Tyson was telling the press that he was still champion. One day later though, King withdrew the protest and Douglas was rightfully and officially declared the Heavyweight Champion of the World.


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