Fresh off a crusing victory where Mike Tyson had defeated Trevor Berbick. Winning the WBC Heavyweight championship of the world. He would take on a game James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith to try claim the WBA world heavyweight crown. With Smith who himself had claimed the WBA title just 4 months earlier.
Smith entered the contest looking to test himself and find out, in his words “if the media made Mike Tyson.” And find out he would, in their 12 round contest. With many pundits believing a knockout was likely by the devastating boxer from Brooklyn New York.
With both the WBO and WBA title on the line, the stakes were extremely high. Adding to that, the winner of the competition would go on to face the IBF world champion Michael Spinks to unify the three titles. Thereby determining the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
In a 12 round fight, Tyson would eventually emerge the victor. But the fans were left with somewhat of a lacklustre taste in their mouths. As throughout the fight, Smith had provided very little in the way of offence. Using his longer reach to tangle up Tyson as he tried to implement his inside boxing.
Following the victory, Tyson would go on to comment;
“When I was trying to put the punches together he grabbed. This hurts boxing. This is show business. People expect a performance.”
This Day March 7, 1987 Mike Tyson Vs James Smith.
- Iron Mike wins unification fight at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas.
- Mike Tyson 219 lbs
- James Smith 233 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12
- Location: Las Vegas Hilton, Outdoor Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
- Referee: Mills Lane
- Judges: Lou Tabat 120-106, Dalby Shirley 119-107, Jose Juan Guerra 119-107
- World Boxing Council Heavyweight Title (1st defense by Tyson)
- World Boxing Association Heavyweight Title (1st defense by Smith)