Who would win in a boxing match between Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson?

Obviously you can never count Joe Frazier out, especially not the one that fought Ali in the Garden in 1971, but Frazier has a few tendencies that I believe would give him some problems against Mike Tyson. For one, his biggest strength his tenacity, can turn into his biggest weakness against Tyson, we saw that against George Foreman where he kept on getting up but he kept on getting knocked down because he didn’t give himself time to recover. I also think that Frazier’s prodding footwork, although effective against an outboxer like Ali, isn’t gonna help him either. Tyson had some of the most efficient footwork in heavyweight history. He rarely wasted his movements, he reached his target quickly, and he was extremely explosive. Another factor that I think no one has considered or at least someone that I’ve heard of say is the officiating, if it happened in the 70s and Joe got knocked down 2 or 3 times early, then the referee would most likely let it continue but if something like that happened today, then the referee would most likely step in and stop it. But just for the sake of the fighters and our entertainment, we’ll say that the fight would’ve happened around the late 1970s with both fighters at the peak of their abilities. However though, another strength that could work against Frazier is his famous left hook. Tyson is known for having power in both hands and while Frazier had immense power in his left hook, he wasn’t known for his right hand either. And that was also one of the main factors that contributed to his 2 losses against Ali, just the pure fact that he couldn’t take advantage of Ali constantly circling to his left because he didn’t have that same type of fight-ending power in his right hand.

That being said, it’s not like Tyson was just some sort of invincible wrecking ball either, just like any other fighter and human being on this planet, he had his weaknesses. For one, because of the fact that Mike became champion at such a young age and didn’t really have to face much adversity to do it, he wasn’t used to having to go the distance or even have his opponents put up much of a fight. And as I mentioned before, while Frazier’s lack of power in his right hand would be a big disadvantage for him, he could seriously hurt Mike with his left hook if it landed clean so it just about evens out. You also have the fact that Mike tended to get a bit wild sometimes and although Frazier wasn’t known as a big counterpuncher, he could use his superior boxing knowledge to take advantage of the openings that Tyson would create. Another thing that I might add is that Tyson didn’t have much experience fighting against a fighter like Joe on the inside, which to be fair to Mike, there never has been or ever will be another fight like Joe, so that would be another thing that he’d have to deal with. I’d also add that last and foremost, Mike although being the most explosive and arguably one of the fastest heavyweights of all time, he’s still human. If Joe could at least take Mike past 3 rounds, he could possibly tire Mike out and even start dominating young Mike a little bit and really put him in trouble as the fight would go on.

Now who do I think would’ve won? It really is a tough fight to call, especially when you have two such high level fighters and obviously when they’re both from different eras, it doesn’t really help much, but that’s what makes it such a great fight because we’ll never know who would’ve won but at least it can lead to some pretty fun debates. Although I think that there’s some fair points for either man taking it, I’d have to go with Mike Tyson winning it via an early stoppage. Reason being that even though both fighters knew absolutely nothing about boxing on the backfoot, and both fighters loved to fight their opponents on the inside and up close, I do believe that Joe would’ve gotten the worst of it. I think that Mike would’ve been able to find Joe in the early rounds, knock him down, and Joe wouldn’t be able to recover. Joe being the true figter that he is would keep coming forward, but because of the fact that he wouldn’t give himself enough time to recover, he’d go down again. We have to remember that we’re talking about the versions of the fighters that were present and fighting in the ring at the time, so we’re disregarding all the future experience that their future versions would’ve acquired. And at the point in tine when Frazier fought Ali the first time, he hadn’t met a fighter or a power puncher like George Foreman. But we could also say the same about Mike at 20, who hadn’t even won his first world title yet and was still seen as an up and coming contender. But in the end, I do believe that if you put the 1986 Mike and the 1971 Frazier in the same ring together then Mike would take the win in the early rounds.

Dream Fights by the numbers: Mike Tyson vs. Joe Frazier - The Ring

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