Sometimes there are questions that just need answering. Who’s the better cowboy, Clint Eastwood or John Wayne? What’s the best videogame franchise of all time, Zelda or Mario? Why does the small-block Chevy kick so much ass? There’s one question though, one question above all others, that just begs to be answered. Who is the greatest boxer of our generation, Mike Tyson or Rocky Balboa?
If you are a child of the late 70’s or early 80’s like I am, then you can remember when these guys were in their prime, battling Russians and Olympic Gold Medalists. Mike Tyson was vicious in his beatdowns and Rocky just refused to give up, preferring to wear down his opponents punches with his face. Mike Tyson has become a bit of a train wreck in his later years, but that’s about par for the course when brain damage is your modus operandi. I won’t judge him for that. Our criteria will be based on four things; Overall Record, Notable Matches, Famous Quotes, and Video Games.
Rocky Balboa – Before his 2005 comeback fight against Mason “The Line” Dixon, Rocky Balboa’s professional record was 57 wins 23 losses and 1 draw.
Mike Tyson – Even considering all the crap fights Tyson has had over the last couple of years, Tyson’s professional record is 50 wins 6 losses 0 draws and 2 no contests
Winner – Mike Tyson by a landslide. Rocky is a good bit older than Tyson, so we can attribute the extra matches to that. We should pause to point out that back in Rocky’s earlier days, boxers fought more often and matches were scheduled for 15 rounds rather than today’s 12. So, Rocky gets some extra badass points for that.
Score: 10-9 for Tyson
Rocky Balboa – Uh, where do you even start? The two matches with Apollo Creed were freakin epic. The rematch with Clubber Lang is the single greatest testosterone fueled beatdown ever witnessed. And then he effectively ended the Cold War with his fight against Ivan Drago. Then, in a stunning act of humility gave credit to Ronald Reagan. The best thing you could do at this juncture in your life is watch this…
Mike Tyson – Tyson had several notable fights. The one with Trevor Berbick where he won his first title was pretty legendary. That one where he beat every bit of vertical out of Michael Spinks was awesome. I remember watching that as a kid on Pay-Per-View with my dad. Bask in this bit of glory…
Winner – Although Tyson had some legendary matches, you’ve gotta give this one to Rocky just because he saved the world from tyranny by the Ruskies. Bonus points to Tyson for giving the world an endless supply of jokes by attempting to bite Evander Holyfield’s ear off, not once but twice.
Score: 10-8 for Rocky
Rocky: Do you like having a good time? Then you need a good watch!
Rocky: Condominiums? I never use the things…
Employment Manager: Can I be honest? No one’s going to offer you an office job. There’s too much competition. Why don’t you fight? I read somewhere you’re a very good fighter.
Rocky Balboa: Yeah, well. Was ya ever punched in the face 500 times a night? It stings after a while, ya know.
Tyson: He called me a rapist and a recluse. I’m not a recluse…
Tyson: Lennox Lewis, I’m coming for you man. My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!
Tyson: You’re sweet. I’m going to make sure you kiss me good with those big lips. I’m gonna make you my girlfriend. (Talking about Razor Ruddock)
Winner- Pretty obviously Tyson on this one. The guy is so off kilter, you can’t help but be entertained by any word he speaks. It’s like a 3 legged goat. It just never gets old.
Score: 10-8 Tyson
Is there any question who is gonna win this one? Mike Tyson had his name on what is quite possibly the most entertaining (and pants-shittingly difficult) boxing game of all, Mike Tyson’s Punch-out. To this very day, the soundtrack to my nightmares is provided by Mr. Sandman’s laugh. It pierces the soul with it’s 8-bit melancholy. On a semi-sour note, his name and likeness was unceremoniously removed from the game when he decided to rape a woman. That’s typically frowned upon.
Though few people are probably aware of it, Rocky did have a couple of pretty decent games with his name on it. Most recently the 2002 game Rocky. I had it for the Gamecube and I loved it, but it pales in comparison to the hours of fun I’ve had with Punch-out over the years.
Winner: Mike Tyson by a landslide
Score: 10-8 Tyson
Hmmm. It would appear that Mike Tyson is kicking Rocky’s ass, so in the spirit of close competition, I propose one additional category; Sideshow Matches.
Rocky Balboa – After Rocky beat Apollo in their second match to earn the World Title, he fought Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan) in a wrestler vs. boxer exhibition match. It turned into a free for all with Rocky getting thrown into the stands. Rocky couldn’t be deterred by that and broke a chair over Thunderlips’ head and threw him into the audience. Kinda makes you long for Wrestlemania III doesn’t it?
Mike Tyson – As mentioned above, Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ear off, not once, but twice. I always wondered how Evander resisted the urge to crush Tyson’s face after that. He had already beat him once. I guess Evander’s Christian sensibilities got the better of him.
Score: 10-9 Rocky
Final Tally: Rocky – 47 Mike Tyson – 48
So, according to my astoundingly impartial judging, Mike Tyson is the best boxer of our generation. I’ll be honest, I was pulling for Rocky, because America loves the underdog, but unfortunately, this is America and the thug usually gets an undue amount of credit. What can you do? Wait for Rocky VII: Adrian’s Revenge…