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View Full Version : Why Buster Douglas beat Tyson



Neo
4th July 2012, 10:34 PM
On February 11, 1990, the biggest upset in sports was recorded in Tokyo, in the fight between the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson and a little known boxer called Buster Douglas.

The fight was meant to be part of Tysonís preparation for the big money fight against Evander Holyfield. Buster Douglas was supposed to last for just a round or two. It was to be an easy payday for Tyson and so widespread was the belief that Tyson was going to knock out Douglas that only one casino in Las Vegas opened bets for the fight and even in that casino, the odds were 45 to 1.

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Buster Douglas beat Tyson

Mike Tyson was regarded as unbeatable and most boxers who went into the ring with him expected to be beaten but hoping that he will not knock them out in the first round. So sure was the Tyson camp of an early and easy victory that they did not bother to come to the ring with anything to deal with the swelling of the eye. They were sure they would not need it.

But against all odds ó the fact that Douglas had contracted the flu the day before the fight; his sonís mother was dealing with a serious kidney ailment; he was knocked down in the 8th roundó Douglas made history and caused the biggest upset in sports by becoming the first boxer to knock Tyson down and out. The world was stunned. The impossible had happened.

For years I have wondered how Douglas managed to pull off that upset. It is true that Tyson underestimated Buster Douglas but how did he manage to beat Tyson? What made him get up from the floor after he had been knocked down in the 8th round?

Before the fight, Lula Pearl, the mother of Buster Douglas had gone round bragging to everyone who will listen that her son was going to beat Tyson.

Uncomfortable as Douglas was with what his mother was doing, he could not stop her. Then, 23 days before the fight, Lula Pearl died but before she died, she got her son to promise her that he will indeed beat Tyson.

So, the Douglas who entered the ring in Tokyo on February 11, 1990 to fight Tyson was a boxer on a mission. He had to redeem the promise he had made to his mother before she died. His motivation went beyond boxing; his motivation went beyond himself. He was doing it for his mother.

I watched a recording of the fight again and was struck by a comment the commentators kept making. They were amazed by the fact that Douglas did not seem to be intimidated by Tyson. From the very first round, Douglas demonstrated that he was not afraid of Tyson. And he was not afraid because his motivation for going for a win was stronger than any fear he may have had of Tyson. It was so strong that he survived an 8th round knock down to knock out Tyson in round 10.

What is your motivation for doing what you are doing Ė be it your studies or your profession or your artistic expression or your business or whatever project you are involved in? What is your motivation? In life if your motivation for what you are doing does not go beyond yourself, you will give up when difficulties confront you. But if your motivation is strong and goes beyond yourself, you become unbeatable.

Why are you in school? Why are you doing that course? Why are you in that career? Why are you in that relationship? Why are you doing what you are doing? Why did you get up this morning and leave your home? If your motivation is not strong, you will not persevere when things get tough. But if your motivation is strong, you will prevail against all odds.

Douglas was fighting for his late mother. He had to redeem his promise to his mother. Tyson was no match for that.

If you are about to give up on something you had set your mind on, could it be that you didnít have a real strong reason for wanting it? If you had a strong reason for pursuing it, nothing can stop you and you will not give up.

One of the greatest victories in military history was recorded when the commanding officer ordered that every means for retreat be destroyed. His troops had landed in enemy territory by boats and he had all the boats destroyed before confronting the formidable enemy. With the boats destroyed, his troops had no other choice but to defeat the enemy and impossible though the mission seemed, they did defeat the enemy.

In the 80s, as part of the Christian Council of Ghana task force sent to welcome our brothers and sisters who had been expelled from Nigeria we heard hard-to-believe stories about their experiences. One young man in particular had left Ghana for Nigeria without any trade. He was desperate to raise money because his wife had given birth to triplets.

In Nigeria, the only job opening was for masons. He had never handled blocks and mortar before; indeed he did not even know how to mix mortar but he simply had to earn some money and so without any training except with the determination that he could not let his triplets starve, he managed to become a mason overnight. His motivation was strong and nothing could stop him.

Have you wondered why Zambia are the current African champions from the recent African Cup of Nations? Most of the teams at the tournament were playing for national pride. It was only the Zambian team that had more to play for. They were playing for the team that died in a plane crash.

We talk of the miracle Lee Kuan Yew pulled in turning Singapore from a third world country to a first world country in thirty years. When you read his book, From Third World to First World, you discover that it was desperation that drove Lee Kuan Yew and his nation to succeed. Singapore simply had no choice but to succeed if they were not to be swallowed up by their neighbours, especially Malaysia.

Most of us give up too easily, too quickly. It is because we have not found the reason to keep on keeping on. The day we find a strong reason to hang in there, we shall become unbeatable.

Find a new motivation for your life and your career and you will transform your performance.


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