“Don King Set Me Up” | Mike Tyson Believes The Buster Douglas Fight And More Were Rigged

There has always been suspicion in boxing that fights have been set up or otherwise manipulated for a predetermined outcome. Recently, a clip from a podcast filmed in Saudi Arabia with Mike Tyson and John Fury, father to current WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, went viral for the inflammatory comments Tyson made.

When John Fury talked about what many believe was a long 10-count given to Buster Douglas in his 1990 fight against Tyson in Tokyo; an uppercut floored Douglas in the eighth round. By the tenth round, Tyson was KO’d for his first loss in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.


The Don King Factor

“I remember when he fought Buster Douglas the first time,” John Fury said on the Boxing Arabia podcast. “In one count, he was out. I went mad and smashed a whole bottle,” Fury said about his disgust at Tyson losing.

That’s when Tyson kept it too real on the underground politics of the boxing business.

“Don King did that bulls**t; Don King set me up,” Tyson said. “I never said that before, but it made sense. The 42-1 (odds), I could win this, him and the referee talk that bullsh-t, because I don’t want to tell you what we did before. I’m not going to mention no promoters; there were fights I had where the opponent didn’t know they’re fighting me and the referee.”

“That’s just how it went: people are betting, the odds, they got ahold of the referee; they’re fighting me and the referee,” Tyson added. “I don’t know, the guy don’t even know then I found out later what’s going on … and then they did it to me.”

Throughout his meteoric rise, promoter Don King and Mike Tyson were inseparable in the public’s mind until Tyson accused King of defrauding him out of millions of dollars. Tyson eventually filed a $100 million lawsuit against King in 1998 and received $14 million when they settled out of court.

Crown Of Thorns

Over the years, King’s image has transformed into a shady promoter, and many boxers today prefer to promote themselves or in conjunction with promoters.

“That’s why most fights, you’ve got to try to knock these guys out because these guys work together in this game,” Tyson continued. “You don’t ever see these guys talking to each other like they don’t know each other. Everybody’s working together. They know who’s paying and who’s taking it, you know which judge, you know whose side they’re on, we know what group they’re with.”

Popularly called “The Baddest Man On The Planet,” Tyson became the world’s youngest heavyweight champion at 20 years old. His rise from Brownsville, Brooklyn, to being molded into a fierce boxer in Catskill, New York, by Cus D’Amato, led to his meteoric celebrity and eventually his epic fall, which has been chronicled multiple times.

One additional lesson Tyson felt the need to impart during the interview is the trappings that come with boxing’s highest honor.

“You know what they call the heavyweight championship?” Tyson continued. “Crown of thorns. That’s what they call it, because one thing, when you get that, you lose your motherf***ing mind. You got f***ing beautiful women you’ve loved all your life; you wish you could.”

“Next thing you know, they at your door or saying, can I get your number or at the party saying come over here with us,” he added. “The heavyweight champion of the world, he gets everything, and he don’t even want it sometimes.”

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