“Maybe One Night He Was Great, but He Wasn’t Tested”: 41 Years After Putting Him at Gunpoint, Legendary Trainer Answers Whether Mike Tyson Was Ever “Great” in Striking Confession

Mike Tyson‘s name polarizes the fans. On one hand, fans call him the ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’, and on the other, he is critiqued for his career and shortcomings outside the ring. However, Teddy Atlas, the renowned boxing trainer who trained Tyson from a young age, has something to add. Back when Tyson was hardly a teenager, Atlas and Cus D’Amato trained him. Things took a hostile turn after Atlas alleged young Tyson sexually harassed an 11-year-old member of his family. An angry Atlas held him at gunpoint and threatened to shoot him.

Tyson’s luck was better. Teddy did not shoot and was thereafter asked by Cus D’Amato to leave the gym. Since then, Atlas has been vocal about his opinions on Tyson—as a boxer and a person. In an interview with Lex Friedman, he looks back at his career and makes a startling confession that may even be controversial for some.

Is Mike Tyson “great” in the eyes of Teddy Atlas?

The response was prompted by Friedman asking Teddy, “What do you think on the positive side made him great?” This brought forth an unexpected response from Atlas, who commented on the actuality of Tyson ever being great. “I don’t know if he was ever great. I know he was sensational. I know he was the greatest mix of maybe speed and power ever,” stated Atlas. Nevertheless, he holds the view that Tyson falls short of greatness, citing a lack of resilience demonstrated in the ring and asserting that he was rarely faced with substantial challenges, according to Atlas.

He went on to add, “I don’t know if there was ever as good a fighter as Tyson was for maybe one night he was great, but he wasn’t tested, but he might have been ready to be tested that one night against Michael Spinks when he took him apart in 90 seconds.”

Atlas is referring to the 1988 bout between Tyson and Michael Spinks that ended with Spinks being knocked out in the first round. Spinks never fought again and retired from the sport a month later. While concluding his thought, Atlas added, “I don’t think you can be great unless you have all the requirements of being great.” Something that Atlas thinks Tyson never had.

In this comprehensive examination, Atlas not only brought attention to Tyson’s remarkable skills but also emphasized the intricacies of achieving greatness in the realm of boxing. What holds greater significance in a sports legend – the sheer manifestation of physical dominance or the capacity to navigate adversity with resilience? What, in your opinion, constitutes a genuinely great boxer?

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