Mike Tyson at his best had a cast-iron jaw that stood up to the most powerful of fists. He also owned quicker hands, flashier head movement and better combination punching.
Joe Frazier had arguably history’s greatest left hook, his right hand was ordinary by comparison. Conversely, not only was Tyson a genuine two-fisted puncher, he also could deliver his power from both the orthodox and southpaw stances.
While Frazier twice fell to Foreman, Foreman possessed a tremendous size advantage to go with his gargantuan punch. However, against bombers closer to his own size – like Quarry, Chuvalo and Bonavena – Frazier was able to overcome early storms, find his groove and come out the winner in each one of their five meetings. Although Tyson will carry more weight and will sport a chiseled physique, he’s not the giant that Foreman was, so one can surmise that Frazier has a decent chance of shaking off Tyson’s jet-fueled, Round 1 attack.
Tyson will be the one who will come out smokin’, and he may even register an early knockdown, because Frazier may be shocked by the speed and force of “Iron Mike’s” fists. But Frazier, fortified by his extraordinary toughness and his ferocious competitive drive, will shake off the early punishment and become what he has always been: boxing’s ultimate heart monitor.
As he acclimates to Tyson’s quick and powerful combinations, Frazier will do a better job of avoiding the fire with his bob-and-weave tactics and then, after sufficiently warming up, will begin to unload his own thunder. Round after round, Frazier will methodically work over Tyson’s ribs while mixing in a heavy dose of hooks to the jaw. Slowly but surely, the effects of Frazier’s work will sap Tyson’s gas tank – and perhaps his will to carry on – and once Frazier spots that “give” in Tyson, it will be game over.