Mike Tyson vs. Tony Tucker
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|Date||August 1, 1987|
|Location||Las Vegas Hilton in Paradise, Nevada|
|Title(s) on the line||WBA/WBC/IBF Heavyweight Championships|
|Mike Tyson vs. Tony Tucker|
|Tale of the tape|
|Catskill, New York, US||From||Houston, Texas, US|
|221 lb (100 kg)||Weight||221 lb (100 kg)|
HBO had organized a unification tournament in an effort to find the next Undisputed Champion. Mike Tyson was able to defeat Trevor Berbick and James Smith to capture the WBC and WBA Heavyweight titles during the series. Meanwhile, Tucker was scheduled to challenge Michael Spinks for the IBF title with the winner to meet Tyson for right to become the Undisputed Champion. Spinks, however, withdrew from his planned fight with Tucker, instead choosing to face Gerry Cooney. The IBF subsequently stripped Spinks of their title. The IBF, WBA and WBC organized a double main event on May 30, 1987 that would determine who would meet for the Undisputed Championship. Tucker would meet James "Buster" Douglas to determine the IBF champion, a match Tucker would win by 10th round technical knockout. Afterwards, Tyson and Pinklon Thomas would meet for the WBA and WBC championships with Tyson earning the victory by 6th round technical knockout, setting up the Tyson–Tucker match. The two men would have a relatively short amount of time between their fights, only 64 days
Tyson had been met with little resistance from Berbick, Smith and Thomas, however, Tucker would arguably become one of the toughest opponents Tyson would face during the early portion of his career. Tucker came out strong in round 1, hitting Tyson on the side of the head with a short left hook. Tucker would continue to fight Tyson aggressively in the early rounds and actually won rounds 1 and 3 on the scorecards. However, as the fight went on, Tyson began to find his rhythm and dominated Tucker during the middle rounds, landing several power punches on Tucker during rounds 4 through 7, leading to Tucker throwing less punches and either grappling Tyson or avoiding him entirely in an effort to reduce Tyson's effectiveness with his punches. During the final two rounds, Tucker began taunting Tyson by winding up his right glove, shuffling his feet and finally dropping his hands and beckoning Tyson to hit him on the chin. In the end, though, Tyson was named the winner via unanimous decision, winning all three judges scorecards by the scores of 119–111, 118–113 and 116–112. With his victory Tyson would become the first Undisputed Heavyweight Champion since Leon Spinks in 1978.
After Tyson's victory, speculation began over whether or not Tyson would next face undefeated Lineal Heavyweight champion Michael Spinks, who had attended the Tyson–Tucker fight to entertain the thought of facing Tyson should he defeat Tucker. Tyson would knockout his next three opponents (Tyrell Biggs, Larry Holmes and Tony Tubbs) before reaching an agreement in April 1988 to face Spinks. Tyson would defeat Spinks in 91 seconds to add the Lineal championship to his resume.
Tucker would follow up the first loss of his professional career by racking up 14 consecutive victories, landing him another shot at the WBC Heavyweight championship against Lennox Lewis, though he would ultimately lose via unanimous decision.
Tucker later stated that he broke his right hand early in the fight, after damaging it in pre-fight sparring. Tucker stated: "I hit him with a right uppercut early and my hand just shattered. It was the worst pain ever. I still went on though, that’s why I did all those antics and everything."