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Mike Tyson’s historic fight against Buster Douglas deserves a deep rewind

A 42 to 1 underdog story

On February 11, 1990, Mike Tyson fought James “Buster” Douglas in Tokyo, Japan for the heavyweight title. It was the tenth title defense for Mike Tyson, who entered the fight unbeatable in the eyes of many boxing fans. This fight wasn’t meant to change anyone’s mind either. It was a tune up fight for Tyson leading to a match up against the number one contender, Evander Holyfield.

The fight was so lopsided that American fans wouldn’t pay to see it, so it was shipped overseas to Japan. Casinos wouldn’t even take bets on the fight. The only legal sportsbook to take wagers was The Mirage who had to raise the odds all the way to 42 to 1 in order to finally get bets placed on Douglas. No one expected Buster to make it out of the first couple rounds but he held his own into the 10th in one of the most memorable boxing matches in history.

To appreciate why, we need to rewind. For more episodes of Rewinder please visit