By Joe Torcello.
1990 – 1999
Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas
February 11, 1990
The “Baddest Man on the Planet” was undefeated with 37 professional fights, 33 coming by way of knockout. Tyson had cleaned out the division on his way to the top and had already made 9 successful title defenses. His fight against Buster Douglas was moved to the Tokyo Dome in Japan because it was considered to be such a mismatch, no one in the US wanted to host the event!
Douglas had already been stopped in a previous title try against Tony Tucker three years earlier. He was a 20-1 underdog against the undefeated Tyson.
With the recent death of his mother, Douglas managed to channel his focus, energy and determination as never before. When he stepped into the ring in early 1990, he stepped in at his all-time best. What followed was the greatest upset in the history of the division. Ringside commentator Jim Lampley may have put it the best when he said about midway through the fight, “Can you imagine… Buster Douglas, Heavyweight Champion of the world? It boggles the mind!”
Douglas’ reign was a short one, but for one magical night, he was the “Baddest Man on the Planet.”
2000 – 2009
Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo I
May 7, 2005
In what could be called a boxing purists dream come true, Diego Corrales arose from two knockdowns in the 10th round to stop Jose Luis Castillo after being a “breath” away from being kayoed himself.
On the line was the WBC and WBO Lightweight titles. Scenes of the 10th round of this fight were replayed on sports telecasts throughout the world for months afterward. It was truly one of the most exciting, dramatic finishes of all time.
Thanks to the drama of Corrales vs. Castillo, even the “non-boxing crowd” were talking the thrilling 10th round finish days, weeks and even months afterward. During a decade which saw an overall decline in the popularity of boxing in United States, the sport shined as bright as ever on May 7, 2005!