Why did Mike Tyson fail to KO James Tillis in ‘86?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by mark ant, Sep 4, 2020.

  1. mark ant

    mark ant Canelo was never athletic Full Member

    May 4, 2017
    I feel Tyson was still improving and by the time of the Spinks fight wouldn`t have been caught by as many shots as Tillis caught him with in `86, but ws there more to this fight than that?
  2. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 26, 2009
    Tillis was a dime-store Buster Douglas and Tyson wasn’t fully developed as a pro yet. This fight was a big step forward for Mike against true, professional opposition.
  3. William Walker

    William Walker Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Apr 9, 2020
    Tyson's inability to finish off Tillis could have been the result of any one of these things, or maybe a combination:
    1) Tyson had never gone more than a few rounds, so going 10, he was clearly at a disadvantage
    2) Tillis was his first big name test, and was far more experienced than Tyson
    3) Tyson was trying to prove he could go the distance(unlikely)
    4) Tillis was a tough guy, contrary to what some think, and may have geniunely been difficult for Tyson to floor and stop
  4. Toney F*** U

    Toney F*** U Boxing junkie Full Member

    Oct 16, 2019
    Tyson said in his book he had to force himself not to take a knee because of the body shots
    Kamikaze and Stiches Yarn like this.
  5. Saad54

    Saad54 Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Dec 10, 2014
    Yes Tyson was still improving and Tillis was in great condition and highly motivated. It was a good test for Tyson
    He needed tough learning fights. He had 3 fights in 86 that went 10 or almost 10.
  6. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven VIP Member banned Full Member

    Nov 24, 2005
    Tillis was in great shape for that fight and boxed well.
  7. Eddie Ezzard

    Eddie Ezzard Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    Interesting you should say that. Have a look at this at about the 0:51 mark. Tyson jumps up a little bit when the hook to the body lands.

    Unlike Foreman allegedly lifting Frazier off his feet, this actually happens at the moment of impact as you would expect.

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  8. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo VIP Member Full Member

    Jan 3, 2007
    I think it was a rare case where Tillis fought one of the best fights of his career against a prospect who was still developing... sort of like Meldrick Taylor vs Howard David Jr
  9. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra H2H Burger King Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    Tillis fought his ass off with a great game plan. A blind man can see that fighters like Douglas and Lewis used this fight as a blue print for their own matches with Tyson but fanboys will tell you that there is no connection (even though Douglas literally said he watched this fight). I guess people have a hard time accepting that even a prime version of Tyson had stylistic weaknesses because they want him to be the perfect #1 h2h heavyweight. The reality is, he wasn't and there just wasn't a heavyweight around who had the skills to really capitalize on those weaknesses.

    I believe Lewis always would have won their fight. Prime Ali gives him head aches. Liston would batter him.
  10. Toney F*** U

    Toney F*** U Boxing junkie Full Member

    Oct 16, 2019
    Yes it’s really annoying that Tyson fans think he’s invincible with Rooney, I got into a debate of why Holyfield accomplished more than Tyson and why he would beat any version of him, and this guy came up with some pretty bad arguments and left convinced that Tyson was still invincible
  11. BCS8

    BCS8 VIP Member Full Member

    Aug 21, 2012
    It's simple. Tillis was a combination of styles that Tyson really didn't do well against. He moved around the ring well and jabbed well. He hit and then tied up Tyson smothering his offense. Botha did the same thing and frustrated Tyson. Tyson didn't like guys with a good jab, he didn't like guys that had good feet and he didn't like being tied up.

    I like how the Tyson fanboys have always got an excuse ready for him when he struggled.

    "He was past prime"
    "He was still learning"
    "He wasn't focused"

    Fact is there are some stylistic elements that Tyson had difficulty in dealing with and it's as clear as day what those were. Granted, he still managed to mostly overcome those shortcomings anyway, because he WAS a great fighter, but he is in no way invincible, and Tillis showed it.
  12. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra H2H Burger King Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    Holyfield definitely had the better resume. Its not even close. Tyson's best opponents were an old Holmes, light heavy Spinks who had a very thin resume at heavyweight, and the "lost generation" of 80's heavies who were primarily drug addicts, underachievers, dealing with injuries/inactivity, and overweight.

    The only prime able bodies heavies he fought were Ruddock, Berbick, Seldon, Bruno, Williams, and Douglas. Seldon quite clearly took a dive and had no heart at all. Tyson should have been disqualified in the 2nd Ruddock fight for all the low blows since people like to bring up Holyfield's head butts. Douglas beat his ass and was a 42-1 underdog. Williams wasn't exactly a durable guy and had been dropped badly by 3 different opponents before the Tyson fight and would go on to get stopped an additional 6x. It was also a premature stoppage ironically and Larry Merchant disagreed with it. Tyson himself didn't even think Williams was hurt that bad.

    Holyfield fought everybody and left no stone unturned. Somehow Tyson missed Mercer, Bowe (whom Holy fought 3x), Lewis 2x (Tyson paid him step aside money), George Foreman (plenty of rumors and speculation Tyson didn't fancy his chances with that one and didn't think it would be worth it), Dokes (who was active during Tyson's prime), and Chris Byrd.

    Holyfield was a 4x champion and has better names on his resume. He had more losses but he had far less losses to guys whom he had no business losing to (Tyson should have annihilated Douglas on paper, as well as the aging shopworn version of Holyfield). Holyfield was far more effective at an advanced age and held his own with competitive bouts with Lewis, Ruiz, Moorer, etc while Tyson was getting demolished by Kevin McBride and Danny ****ing Williams.

    Holyfield was MUCH more versatile than Tyson who only had 2 gears (blitz a guy and take him out with blazing speed, head movement and powerful combos, or fight at mid range and pick a guy apart with counters, body shots, and ring generalship). Holyfield had 5 gears: box, slug, counter, stick and move, in-fight. He had way better stamina, better chin, better ring IQ, tons of heart, and a wider punch selection (much better jab, could throw every punch with good form).

    Plus Holyfield beat Tyson despite being 4 years older, more shopworn, was less talented, having less power and speed, and he didn't have a legendary trainer or all of the media behind him.

    There really is no comparison other than Tyson achieving more at a younger age and having more natural talent. Holyfield owns Tyson's soul and he knows it.
  13. Toney F*** U

    Toney F*** U Boxing junkie Full Member

    Oct 16, 2019
    Exactly, and I think it’s funny that Tyson fans really think it’s up for debate, in terms of all time greatness Tyson’s a lot closer to someone like Tommy Morrison than he is to Holyfield
  14. RulesMakeItInteresting

    RulesMakeItInteresting Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Mar 23, 2019
    Inexperience, plus the fact that Tillis might have given the performance of his entire career. He certainly didn't look that good against Weaver.

    Mike wasn't quite at his peak, but this fight helped hone/refine him more. Not long before he became the absolute, ferocious king of the division.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
  15. he grant

    he grant Historian/Film Maker Full Member

    Jul 15, 2008
    Tyson was 19, a brand new pro and learning ... Tillis was still a contender, had fought and gone the distance fighting for the title, far more experienced and came into the bout in terrific condition and unafraid .. Tillis had a ton of experience .. he fought Mike Weaver, Pinklon Thomas, Greg Page, Tyrell Briggs, Shavers, Williams and other really tough guys .. It was a step up in class and all things considered Tyson handled it well .. it was a competitive fight for sure but ZI don't remember any moments where it seemed Mike was in danger of losing ..