WHEN HULK HOGAN TRIED TO FIGHT A PRIME MIKE TYSON
In his prime, Mike Tyson was the scariest man on the planet. His speed, power and aura made him a fighter that no ordinary man wanted to step opposite. Having said that, Hulk Hogan is far from your average Joe.
In 1991, ‘Iron Mike’ was at the peak of his powers. The legendary boxer was fresh off a win against Donovan ‘Razor’ Ruddock and seemed to have gotten over his shock loss to James ‘Buster’ Douglas in Japan three bouts prior.
Yet the Brooklyn native’s ferocious performances did anything but unsettle the nerves of Hogan. Instead, the charismatic performer was motivated to provide Tyson with the second loss on his record.
Has a cross-over bout like this ever happened before?
Muhammad Ali fought Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki in one of the most bizarre affairs in combat sports history. But in recent times, these bouts have occurred relatively frequently.
Many fans will remember three-weight boxing world champion James Toney’s less-than-impressive display in the octagon against Randy Couture.
But in general, it’s been the MMA fighters who’ve had to step into their opponent’s realm. In 2017, the UFC icon Conor McGregor played his part in one of the biggest fights in boxing history. The Irishman went ten rounds with the legendary Floyd Mayweather in a fight that captivated the entire sporting world.
But this moment didn’t stand alone because the sport has entertained plenty more of these circus acts over the past few years. Fans have endured Kubrat Pulev vs Frank Mir in a triangular ring and Tyson Fury colliding with ‘The Monster Among Men’ Braun Strowman at WWE Crown Jewel. Not to mention the arrival of YouTube sensation Jake Paul, who has embarrassed some of MMA’s best wrestling talent.
However, there was something slightly different about a match-up between Tyson and Hogan. Something a little bit mysterious, maybe something that would even appeal to the most hardcore of boxing fans.
What happened when the pair collided on a talk show?
In 1991, ‘Mr America’ appeared on The Arsenio Hall show and had a few choice words for the world’s most fearsome fighter. Hogan didn’t just believe that he’d win the contest but that he’d dominate it.
He said: “I’d get it on with a boxer like Tyson if he wanted to. But if they wanted to make the fight fair, then they’d have to put a pair of handcuffs on me. Tyson’s got them gloves, but I’ve got all these other tools. I could take him down, put him in a wrist-lock or head-lock. As soon as he gets close enough to hit me, I’d just reach out and grab him.”
These were strong words from Hogan. With two passing since then, he may have realised that picking on Tyson was a bad idea. He returned to the show waving an American flag to promote his big title fight with SGT. Slaughter at Wrestlemania VII. And as soon as the conversation switched to the infamous boxer, the wrestler was ready to give his unfiltered opinion.
Looking on from the audience, Tyson listened patiently to the Hulkster.
Hogan claimed: “Mike and I have spoken about this. Everyone’s interested in what would happen if Mike Tyson and Hulk Hogan were to lock up. So at Wrestlemania VII, Hogan is going to win the WWF Title, and when Tyson gets another shot at his belt, we’re going to sit down and talk about this thing.
“It’s going to be very different to when I got hold of Rocky Balboa and threw him out of the ring. This thing with Tyson and me is going to get intense.
“Can you imagine, they could charge $20 million because everybody would want to see who the real champion of the world is.”
Who would’ve emerged victorious between a prime Mike Tyson and a ferocious Hulk Hogan?
Following his comments, the WWF star squared up with Tyson, the pair going nose to nose with neither man giving an inch. We don’t know who would’ve won this fight, but it was clear that both men fancied their chances.
Although this bout never materialised, Tyson did go on to work with the WWE seven years later. When provoked by Steve Austin, the natural-born fighter let his emotions get the better of him as he attacked the wrestling hero. Dozens of security guards broke the brawl up. But at WrestleMania XIV, he made it up to ‘Stone Cold’ by knocking his opponent Shawn Michaels out cold via a thunderous right hook.
However, despite being fantastic television, it wasn’t the fight that the fans wanted.
Hogan more than sold the contest between the pair, and fans across the globe were invested. Perhaps a prime Mike Tyson would’ve won in an explosive fashion. But you can never write off the wrestling legend. It would’ve only taken one leg drop to end proceedings, and who knows? Maybe Hogan could’ve landed it.