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Today in Sports History: 3/6 – 18-Year-Old Mike Tyson KO’s Hector Mercedes

Today in sports history (1985), 18-year-old Mike Tyson kicked off his boxing career with a debut knockout of Hector Mercedes.

Before there was Iron Mike, there was just Mike Tyson from New York. As an 18-year old, Tyson somewhat resembled what he looked like in his prime; A heavyweight who was built like a brick house. Tyson began his professional boxing career with a bang. He knocked out Mercedes in the first round of the fight. In fact, the fight only lasted 1:47.

Mike Tyson Hector Mercedes Boxing
Credit: Ken Regen/Sports Illustrated

Mike Tyson Starts His Career With a Bang

Mercedes came into the fight with an 0-2-1 record, looking for his first professional win. He was pitted against the little-known fighter from upstate New York, Mike Tyson. Tyson’s fighting style looked a lot different in his debut than later in his career. Instead of throwing power punch after power punch, Tyson worked the inside of Mercedes’ body early. It was said that Tyson respected the referee’s plea for “a good clean fight.” Obviously, when Tyson was at the prime of his career, he was taking any advantage that he could get, proved by the Evander Holyfield fight.

Early in the fight with Mercedes, Tyson found success with hurling uppercuts to Mercedes’ body. This coupled with Tyson continually throwing straight punches to the head proved to be a disaster for Mercedes. Tyson was so dominant early that Mercedes was forced to retreat back to the ropes. This allowed him to basically corner his winless competitor and continue to beat on him. Throwing haymaker after haymaker, Tyson caught the eye of many boxing followers. With a small crowd and no announcing, this fight was reminiscent of an underground fight.

Mercedes did not last too long with the fast powerful punches from Tyson, going down at the 1:47 mark. After the referee had waved the fight off, Tyson picked up his first professional win in the form of a TKO. Although this was not his best performance or the fight where he made the most money, this was the fight that put the legendary boxer on the map.


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