Originally Posted by Duodenum
At his peak, Holmes was virtually as impervious as any heavyweight champion in history. A rusty, badly mis-timed and out of shape version of Holmes showed just enough against peak Tyson to prove that Mike would not have been able to compete with the premium vintage Easton Assassin. With Mike's speed, he might have been able to pull off a flash knockdown, but if so, that would be his only moment of the match. Peak versus peak, Holmes/Tyson is a man against a boy, even moreso because of Tyson's overhyped reputation.
If Tyson is facing the version of Larry who shutout Shavers over 12, Berbick and Cobb over 15, and carried Cooney 11 rounds beyond a second round knockdown (to try selling Gerry to the public as a viable challenger for an easy and lucrative rematch), instead of the mothballed and eyesight compromised variety, there would quickly be little doubt of the outcome. Having the "puncher's chance" believed going for him would keep Tyson's spectators in their seats until the end. But peak Tyson would have had far less of a chance at taking out peak Holmes than he did the vastly inferior Mitch Green, Quick Tillis, Bonecrusher Smith and Tony Tucker. Tall, tough, mobile and physically strong opposition who could take a punch gave him all kinds of problems. At his very best, Larry was better than Smith, Tucker, Green and Tillis put together.
With Larry's jab not misfiring but on-target, he'd easily outmanuever and hold Mike at bay from outside, and utterly smother him like a wet blanket over a conflagration in close. Going into the championship rounds, Larry would already have an insurmontable lead (especially with Futch in his corner). I don't see Mike getting beyond 13 rounds with Holmes (especially since Tyson barely made it to the end of 12 with Smith).
Peak Tyson needed over 45 seconds to finally put Holmes away after the second knockdown, far more than enough time for a battle ready and fully conditioned youthful Holmes to recover fully. (He was lucky to finish the job with five seconds to spare in the fourth, although I'm sure Mike would have gotten him in a following round.) Larry simply wasn't prepared to compete on that date, yet he still got through nearly four complete rounds against one of the fastest starting heavyweights in history, while only collecting a paycheck.
No way, Jose.
I suggest you analyze Tyson's tour de force as of his dismantling of Berbick.
Old Holmes survived as "long" as he did against Mike only because he avoided engaging Tyson for three rounds. When he decided to go to battle, he was duly clobbered and knocked out.
Young Holmes was nothing if not offense-minded. Tyson excelled at coming in, around and under jabs, slamming his foe from unexpected angles with tremendous power. Holmes would get hit early and go into his take-no-prisoners mode and be stopped as befell him as an old man.
Holmes was a great technician and could hold off crude sluggers like Shavers and Weaver, but at the same time was quite hittable and vulnerable after the first big shot got in. Tyson, a great finisher, would complete the job.
What's all this about Tyson laboring mightily to kayo Holmes? In less than half a round, Mike dropped the very resilient Holmes three times, the third for a 45-second-count knockout. If Larry hadn't moved around like he did after falling the second time, it would have ended even earlier. If this fight hadn't happened, the theorists would ridicule the notion that Mike could beat Larry, but the evidence of their actual fight must not be ignored, again, considering how well Larry did later on in his career.
And what's this about Mike "struggling" with runners like Tillis and Green? Mike was so good that people used a different standard in his fights. He was not merely expected to win but to knock out every man he faced. If an opponent decided to run and/or hold for dear life, it was a disappointing affair if Mike did not nail the kayo.
Tyson was light years ahead of guys like an old Norton, a one-dimensional Shavers, and a "Hercules" Weaver, who, as bangers, gave Larry all he could handle.
Seeing Larry go into his drunken dance as soon as he is hit solidly in his prime, I see nothing to tell me Mike Tyson would not clobber him before any other factor could come into play.