24 June 2020 12:35
Mike Tyson floored Lou Savarese inside eight seconds at Hampden Hampden Park has staged some heavy beatings in its 117-year history, but nothing quite like this. Twenty years ago, Scotland's national football stadium had the eyes of the boxing world upon it. And all it took was half a minute of Mike Tyson ferociousness on a sodden and controversial night to dismantle an opponent's dream that had been 16 years in the making. Iron Mike's famous quote - "everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth" - rang as true as his succession of punches which bludgeoned Lou Savarese. Even the referee got thumped for good measure as Tyson refused to let up after the fight was stopped and the scene descended into a melee.
Savarese's wounds may have healed, but his resentment lingers, not least because fellow American Tyson has since claimed external-link he had taken marijuana and cocaine before the ring walk. "It is not fair if you are taking drugs before the fight. You want to have a level playing field," 54-year-old Savarese tells BBC Scotland. 'You needed to get him to the later rounds' Savarese believed he had perfected a gameplan to exploit rustiness in the former undisputed world heavyweight champion's impressive armoury. Tyson was 33 at the time and making his third comeback fight after a nine-month break, which included four months in prison for assaulting two motorists.
"I don't think he was training as hard as he usually did," Savarese says. "That was the whole thing with Tyson at that point of his career, you wanted to try and get him to the later rounds. "It was a huge opportunity, the next fight would have been big money. The build-up was marred by controversy over the decision to allow Tyson, a convicted rapist, into Scotland. And while Savarese's physical preparation had gone smoothly, his mindset was affected by having to miss the birth of his first child a few weeks previously. "The timing was really not very good," he says. "It is your first kid so it was hard not being there for my wife and the baby. To to be focusing on the fight was tough." Referee sent sprawling in melee Savarese, who weighed in at 17st 3lbs, took to the ring with a heart full of courage and a record of just three defeats from his previous 42 fights. "I fought George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe - so I wasn't intimidated," he says. "I had been building for it for a long time, since I won the New York Golden Gloves in 1984. That power was painfully evident with the first punch after just 12 seconds, as a battering ram of a left hook from Tyson sent his compatriot crashing to the canvas. Tyson kept throwing punches after referee John Coyle had stopped the fight "I remember it vividly," Savarese says. "He caught me with a good shot. I went down, I got back up pretty quick. In previous fights I had been hurt and gone down - against Lance Whitaker, Michael Grant - and got back up, and won some too." He carried on, but had no answer to the barrage of punches Tyson was raining down on him. With Savarese in trouble, referee John Coyle tried to step in and call a halt - only for Tyson to continue the onslaught, sending the official sprawling in the melee. Coyle got back to his feet, eventually separating the pair, and ended the fight in controversial circumstances after just 38 seconds. That decision was greeted with anger by a 30,000 Hampden crowd seeking more bang for their buck. 'I've no regrets; I fought five world champions' Tyson took victory by technical knockout yet, two decades later, Savarese still maintains he should have been allowed to fight on. "He is a tough finisher. He could have stopped me after that but I wish it wouldn't have ended that way," he says. "I didn't think the fight was over, I just thought he got disqualified or whatever. It was strange because he was still throwing punches while the referee was in there." Tyson was fined £125,000 for not obeying the referee's instructions and received a formal reprimand for his post-fight comments about British heavyweight Lennox Lewis. Savarese is still involved in the sport, running two gyms and promoting fights in Houston, Texas. "It would have been huge if I had won - but no regrets, I had a fun career. I fought five world champions and am still doing pretty good," he says. MIKE TYSON claims he took cocaine and marijuana just moments before his fight against Lou Savarese. Iron Mike - who recently released fresh training footage ahead of his planned comeback aged 53 - said he indulged in drugs right before his ring walk at Hampden in June 2000. Tyson said he used cocaine and marijuana moments before beating Savarese... a bout in which he also knocked down the ref Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd Tyson got around drug tests by using a fake penis Credit: Reuters Tyson - who used a fake penis to beat drug tests - ended Savarese via technical knockout after just 38 seconds of the first round. The Baddest Man on the Planet sent Savarese crashing to the canvas after a monster left just 12 seconds in. And it was while referee John Coyle tried to stop the relentless onslaught that he was also clocked by Tyson. The man in the middle went sprawling before eventually getting back up and calling the fight off. Tyson - who now has his own cannabis empire - was fined £125,000 for not obeying the ref's orders and, in the carnage that followed the fight, gave his infamous comment about wanting to eat Lennox Lewis' children. The win over Savarese was the second fastest of Tyson's career and came in his third comeback fight after a nine-month break. Tyson - who could fight UFC hero Jon Jones - had served a four-month prison sentence for assaulting two motorists in that time. But his drug use had not taken a back seat and, incredibly, he even used them right before fights. Savarese recently told BBC Sport he feels it is "not fair" his opponent that night used drugs before their bout. The 54-year-old said: "It is not fair if you are taking drugs before the fight, you want to have a level playing field." Savarese, who retired after his final fight against Evander Holyfield in June 2007, is adamant the ref should have allowed the fight to go on. Tyson sent the ref sprawling to the canvas after he tried to stop the bout Credit: EPA Iron Mike won via TKO after just 38 seconds of the first round Credit: Reuters Mike Tyson news Exclusive terrible tim Prime Mike Tyson would KO Wilder easily, says ex-heavyweight king Witherspoon MIKE DROP Has Mike Tyson leaked comeback date in title tour T-shirt on Instagram? MIKE DROP Watch Mike Tyson spar in training video as he shows off ferocious power and speed WARNING SHOT Mike Tyson warns Jamie Foxx 'it won't be pretty' playing him in biopic 'I'M LISTENING' Jon Jones ready for Tyson's boxing challenge if he fights him in octagon He added: "I didn't think the fight was over, I just thought he got disqualified or whatever. "I thought the referee had stopped the fight because Tyson had hit him when he got in the middle of us. I didn't know they were stopping the fight because of me getting hurt. "It was pandemonium, it was strange because he was still throwing punches while the referee was in there."