Muhammad Ali Vs Mike Tyson: Who was the better boxer and why?

Muhammad Ali Vs Mike Tyson: Who was the better boxer and why?

Babu Tendu
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:20 PM

Today, there are many stars in the boxing ring. Names such as Antony Joshua, Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather come to minds of boxing fans of today’s age. Nowadays, there are also influencer boxers such as Jake Paul and Olajide Olatunji Alias JJ. But there are two GOATs of the game who influenced the game. The Muhammad Ali vs Mike Tyson debate is one that excites fans.

Muhammad Ali Vs Mike Tyson
Two of the best boxers in the history of boxing. Scroll through and see the comparison between their career. Photos by Jeffrey Asher and Paul Harris. (Modified by author).
Source: Getty Images

They both had successful careers during their different eras. They served in the ring during different ages and had their share of influence on boxing fans. However, after detailed research on their careers, one will find out that there is only one clear winner of the debate. Stick around to find out.

Muhammad Ali vs Mike Tyson boxing record

Muhammad will go down in boxing history as one of the all-time greats. Others have matched his final record of 56 wins, 5 losses, and 37 knockouts, but the calibre of his opponents and the way he dominated in his prime put him on a par with boxing's greats.

Tyson defeated Michael Spinks in 91 seconds, winning the title of lineal heavyweight champion. The boxer has a career record of 50 victories (including 44 knockouts), six defeats, and two draws.

Muhammad Ali vs Mike Tyson records

The World Boxing Council's heavyweight championship was won by Tyson on November 22, 1986, when he knocked out Trevor Berbick in the second round (WBC). He won the World Boxing Association (WBA) title on March 7, 1987, by defeating James Smith.

Muhammad Ali vs Mike Tyson net worth
Muhammad Ali at home in Los Angeles before his last fight with Larry Holmes on August 3, 1980, at Hancock Park, Los Angeles, California. Photo by Paul Harris.
Source: Getty Images

On August 1, 1987, Tyson defeated Tony Tucker, and all three sanctioning bodies unanimously declared him the winner (WBC, WBA, and International Boxing Federation [IBF]).

In spite of his boxing career's many ups and downs, Ali was able to claim three heavyweight titles by 1978. He had already beaten heavyweight competitors like Leon Spinks in 1978 and Sonny Liston in 1964, 1974, and 1964, respectively. Muhammad was able to set a new world record for "Most Lineal World Heavyweight Championship Wins" thanks to these victories.

Muhammad Ali vs Mike Tyson comparison

Fans of Muhammad have a love affair with his speed. However, Muhammad was simply too fast. Ali moved quickly. The fact that the majority of heavyweights in Tyson's time were as slow as molasses added to the legend of his speed.

To avoid punches, he relied on his quickness and agility. So his defence was like playing Russian roulette in boxing. This game caused his face to become the landing pad for tens of thousands of precise punches. Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad within an inch of his life in their first fight despite Ali's quickness and speed.

Muhammad Ali vs Mike Tyson comparison
Jesse Ferguson, Mike Tyson boxing at Houston Field House, Feb 16, 1986. Photo by Disney General Entertainment Content.
Source: Getty Images

Mike Tyson fans have a love affair with Tyson's strength and intimidating demeanour, and they believe that he would easily knock Muhammad out. Mike Tyson could make grown men scream and tremble. Many opponents were intimidated by Mike Tyson's ice-cold stare and menacing ring entrance.

Those men weren't Muhammad Ali at all. Without being knocked out, Muhammad resisted the thunderous hooks and uppercuts of George Foreman, Archie Moore, Joe Frazier, and Ken Norton. Due to his mafia connections, Sonny Liston may have been a more intimidating boxer than Mike Tyson. Two times, Muhammad humiliated him and made fun of him.

Muhammad Ali vs Mike Tyson net worth

At the time of his passing, Muhammad had an estimated net worth of $80 million. The American boxer was among the highest-paid athletes in the world at the height of his career.

Mike's estimated net worth in 2022 is $10 million, according to Forbes. His estimated net worth at the height of his career was $300 million.

Muhammad Ali vs Mike Tyson achievements


Junior Olympic Games Champion Heavyweight 1982

National Golden Gloves Champion Heavyweight 1984

Undisputed Heavyweight Champion (held all three major championship belts; WBA, IBF, and WBC) – August 1, 1987 – February 11, 1990

WBC Heavyweight Champion – November 22, 1986 – February 11, 1990, March 16, 1996 – September 24, 1996 (Vacated)

WBA Heavyweight Champion – March 7, 1987 – February 11, 1990, September 7, 1996 – November 9, 1996

IBF Heavyweight Champion – August 1, 1987 – February 11, 1990

Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year—1986 & 1988

BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality—1989

Ring magazine Prospect of the Year—1985


BBC Sports Personality World Sport Star of the Year 1978, 1974, 1973

NAACP Image Award – President's Award 2009

Arthur Ashe Courage Award 1997

Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year 1974

Bambi - Millennium Award 2003

Milliyet Sports Award for World Athlete of the Year 1979, 1976, 1975

BET Humanitarian Award 2002

Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year 1974

Audie Award for Autobiography/Memoir 2017 · The Greatest: My Own Story

Mike Tyson on Muhammad Ali's death

Mike Tyson, a former two-time heavyweight world champion who admired Muhammad since the boxer's early years, is the only person to have ever expressed higher praise for Muhammad.

Muhammad Ali vs Mike Tyson achievements
George Foreman, Muhammad Ali boxing at Zaire Stade du 20 Mai, The Rumble in the Jungle, October 30, 1974. Photo by Ken Regan.
Source: Getty Images

When Ali passed away in 2016, Tyson broke down in tears in a number of interviews and has yet to fully discuss his hero.

“When you have someone like Muhammad in your family, sometimes, this is really crazy”, he said in an interview. “Sometimes when God is making individuals, he is showing off.”

Mike Tyson vs Muhammad Ali: Did they fight

Muhammad is widely considered the greatest heavyweight boxer there has ever been. As far as notoriety goes, Tyson is not far behind at all. Their careers did not overlap and they never met in the ring.

Muhammad Ali vs Mike Tyson: Who is best

Boxing legend Muhammad once admitted that he might not have been able to handle a punch from Mike Tyson if the two had ever fought. Ali is widely considered the greatest heavyweight boxer there has ever been. As far as notoriety goes, Tyson is not far behind at all.

The Muhammad Ali vs Mike Tyson debate is one that never ends as many boxing fans have different theories explaining who they think had a successful career. They, however, both had very spectacular careers and are undoubtedly the GOATs of the sport.

READ ALSO: Messi vs Ronaldo: Settling the football GOAT debate once and for all

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are undoubtedly the greatest footballers in existence. It is always up for discussion to decide who is better in the never-ending Messi vs Ronaldo topic.

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