IMO this was Tyson's best performance between 1999-2002. Nielsen was the perfect opponent--A moderately decent fighter with enough size and slow enough movement and reflexes for Mike to beat on for a lengthy amount of rounds. Tyson did not cheat - no attempted arm breaking, biting, etc. There was one low blow but it was purely accidental.
Speaking of that, this was Tyson's first time since 1996 that he primarily worked the body. His body attack in the early rounds was awesome and non-stop, and no doubt set the up the knockdown a few rounds later.
Tyson looked awful about Botha. In that fight it wasn't that Botha looked good. It was that Tyson looked bad. The Lou Saverese "fight" was a doo-doo disaster, and honestly, I think Golota would have beaten Tyson if his mental issues hadn't gotten the best of him. To be fair, Tyson owned Golota in that first round, but slowed a lot and punched much less in the second round. Golota was too scared to take advantage and jump on Tyson though, but someone like Tua or Morrison would have crushed Tyson if he'd gotten lazy like that.
But anyway, this was the last great performance of Tyson's career. Thoughts?
It's been a looooong while since I saw this fight and I kind of forgot about it to be honest with you. I just watched it and enjoyed it. I agree with you. Tyson looked real good here and Brian was game, but like you said with his size and limited ability he was the perfect opponent for Tyson back then. Brian was a good enough heavyweight. He'd only lost one fight up to that point, and had beaten Bonecrusher Smith, Larry Holmes, Tony Tucker and some others but they were all past their primes though. Still, I say Brian was good. But Tyson should have fought some tougher opposition before facing Lennox Lewis. Brian was not a good tuneup. But he was a good enough name to show Tyson was still a threat and could fight without cheating.
I would not call it a great performance-he was effectivem still a World Class fighter here, but greatly reduced from his prime.
Much slower much less movement, could have come in lighter...
I think you know what I mean. Considering his weight, a prison layoff, and being long past his fighting prime, this fight was a good showing, probably the last time he looked good. He didn't quit, he didn't slow down, he didn't cheat, etc. He fought well, even focusing on a body attack and we hadn't seen that since '95-96 when Jay Bright was his trainer.
In his book he said that he was too lazy to trim down. He was overweight and just ran with it. Despite that he did well. This was his last good performance.
Nielsen was not a great fighter but he was game. He was the perfect opponent for an aging Tyson to tackle...he wasn’t top ranked or real special but he had a looooooooong undefeated streak, good chin and was durable.
I remember when this fight happened and I was impressed. Tyson beat the hell out of him and got some of his reputation back in this fight.
He said he wanted more tune-ups after this fight to prepare for Lewis but said that Lewis wouldn’t wait around much longer. This may be true, as Lewis was advancing in age and just wasting time keeping busy by fighting guys like Botha and Rahman.
This fight is a perfect example of why Tommy Brooks was Mike's best trainer with the obvious exceptions of Cus and Kevin. (Rooney)
Tommy had Mike throwing even shorter punches, like the short right smash that decapitated Francis Botha. It landed right on the button. Hard. There was no way for Botha to see it coming, nor brace for it. There was nowhere to go but down.
And like Duggerman already said, Tyson was almost constantly working the body now, which was no doubt a credit to Tommy Brooks also. Tyson had become a head hunter after he dumped Kevin Rooney.
Knocking out Nielsen was definitely a step in the right direction, but he still needed a lot more preparation before fighting someone at the top level like Holyfield or Lewis.
Too bad Tyson was a scaredy cat, because guys like Mercer and Briggs were also much past their best at this point and would have been good tune-ups for him. Hasim Rahman would have been a good opponent at the time too.