It went the way the odds said it had to go. Mike Tyson, attacking relentlessly from the opening bell, Monday night destroyed Michael Spinks' perfect record in an electrifying 1 minute 31 seconds, retaining the unified heavyweight championship with the 17th first round knockout of his career against a man thought to possess the skills to survive and even surprise the sport's most devastating puncher.
In perhaps the most devastating display of his young career, Tyson, 21, rushed from his corner at the opening bell, attacking Michael Spinks with left and right hands in a display of firepower that rivaled some of the great performances in heavyweight history."I'm the best fighter in the world," Tyson said shortly after a short left hand - a lightning bolt - sent Spinks, previously 31-0, to the canvas. The challenger, shaking his head as if to say he was ready to continue, got to his feet. But Tyson swarmed his taller foe, pummelling with lefts and rights and finishing him with a crunching right hand.
It was over before the paid crowd of 21,785 at Convention Hall had a chance to settle into their seats.
"I finally found someone who can beat me," said Spinks, the one-time International Boxing Federation champion, after he came around. Spinks was bidding to become the third former champion to regain the title. Instead, he became the 15th to fail.
For his pain, Spinks got a guarantee of $13.5 million. Tyson's cut from the fight, which was televised on closed circuit, would be in the neighborhood of $20 million.
"If I had never trained, maybe it would have gone 12 rounds," said Tyson. "But I trained for eight weeks and it went one. I'm very satisfied.
There was speculation of squabbling in Tyson's camp and reports that marital problems might trouble him. He answered that question swiftly and ruthlessly.
"The job has to be done," Tyson said in response to a question alluding to the soap opera that surrounded his personal life before the fight. "That's the sign of being a professional."
The only faster knockouts in heavyweight title history were Jim Jeffries' 55-second victory over Jack Finnegin in 1900, Michael Dokes' 1:03 win over Mike Weaver in 1982 and Tommy Burns' 1:28 defeat of Jem Roche in 1908.
"Maybe I was a little anxious," Spinks said, "but I came to fight. He hit me with his best shot early; I thought I'd take a little time out to give it another try and he got me again. ...
"He got me in a good spot. He punches pretty good. He hit me in a spot on my head that anyone would get light-headed."
Tyson's trainer, Kevin Rooney, wore a cap into the ring with the inscription: "This one is for Jimmy Jacobs," a reference to Tyson's co-manager who died of leukemia in March.
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