Teddy Atlas questions the legitimacy of Mike Tyson being viewed as an all time great: “I don’t know if he was ever great”

By Harry Kettle - December 28, 2023

Teddy Atlas has given his thoughts on boxing legend Mike Tyson’s status as one of the all-time greats.

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Over the course of his career, Mike Tyson made headlines around the world. His outstanding power and impeccable speed made him one of the most feared men on the planet. He did, however, have his fair share of ups and downs, both in and outside of the ring.

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Nowadays, Tyson can be found across various forms of social media, and he also enjoys the occasional stint as a trainer.

In a recent conversation about ‘Iron Mike’, the aforementioned Teddy Atlas had some interesting thoughts on his legacy.

Atlas’ view on Tyson

“I don’t know if he was ever great,” Atlas said on the Lex Fridman Podcast. “I know he was sensational. I know he was the greatest mix of maybe speed and power ever. I know he was one of the greatest punchers from either side of the plate, left or right. There’s been great punchers with just the right hand like Earnie Shavers and Deontay Wilder and Max Baer. I don’t know if there’s ever been anyone who could punch as good as (Tyson) did on either side with either hand other than Joe Louis and a few others.

“I don’t know if there’s ever been such a combination of speed and power to that pure level that he had, and it was a pure level. I don’t know if there was ever as good a fighter as Tyson was for maybe one night he was great. 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. I think I saw a great fighter that night. I don’t think you can be great unless you have all the requirements of being great.”

“A fight is not a fight until there’s something to overcome,” Atlas said. “Until then, it’s just an athletic exhibition contest. Yeah, who’s a better athlete? Who’s got more quick twitch fibers? Who’s more developed in those physical areas?

“But a fight is not a fight until there’s something to overcome. So, if you go by my definition, not Webster’s, pretend it means something, Mike Tyson was only in five (six) fights in his life. The fights where there was something to overcome, he didn’t overcome it.”

Quotes via MMA Junkie

Do you agree with Teddy Atlas? Let us know, BJPENN Nation!


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