“I Cried and Cried”: Mike Tyson Recounts His Toughest Loss in Boxing

Published 07/12/2021, 8:00 AM EDT
UNITED STATES – AUGUST 19: Las Vegas; Mike TYSON (USA) – Peter MC NEEZY (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)


Mike Tyson has had one of the most incredible runs in the sport. Filled with ups and downs, Tyson’s legendary career has been one of the most discussed ones in boxing history. The former unified heavyweight champion terrorized the rest of the roost when he was on the top. Nobody has since recreated the inside the ring aura and outside the ring persona of ‘Iron’ Mike.

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Even his losses, like the knockout loss to Buster Douglas, which devastated the world, have been iconic and still hold relevance in pop culture. For Tyson, his pro losses never had as much of an effect on him as losses in his amateur fights did.

“It really never happens that much in the pros. The amateur fights really are your demons,” he said in the most recent episode of his podcast “Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson”.

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Speaking with Oscar De La Hoya on either fighters’ most devastating losses in the sport, Tyson gave a flashback of his state of mind after his first loss as a boxer.

 

“A fight with this guy Craig Payne, from Livonia, Michigan. Heavyset, overweight guy. But he could fight, [was] the number one guy. I beat him three rounds, no doubt, but they gave him the decision,” the 55-year-old recounts.

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A 17-year-old Tyson, under the patronage of his mentor Cus D’Amato, had just begun registering his name in the boxing world. Competing in his first amateur contest, Tyson was eyeing the Golden Gloves title for the 201+ pound weight class back in ’83. Cruising through the first three days of the competition, Tyson was set to face the 22-year-old Payne, a well-known amateur heavyweight.

Mike Tyson vs Craig Payne: Tyson’s first loss as a boxer

In their fight, Tyson, who competed out of the red corner, continuously pressured his opponent. However, Craig Payne was elusive and rolled with Tyson’s offense without facing much trouble. However, he found little success with his offense, and the younger fighter was definitely the aggressor in the fight. Pressing the action throughout the three rounds of the fight, Tyson was confident of the win but judges saw the fight other ways.

 

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The crowd jeered as Payne was announced as the Super Heavyweight Golden Gloves champion of 1983. A heartbroken Tyson shook his head and left the ring shortly after.

“I got mad and threw the trophy. I cried and cried was crying. Cried from Indianapolis to New York. Just kept crying,” Tyson shared with Oscar De La Hoya and Henry Cejudo.

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Tyson came around and won the competition in 1984. He only lost to Henry Tillman twice as an amateur moving forth. He took the fire that his first loss as a boxer gave him and turned it to forge his career into what it became later. On the flip side, Payne went 11-20 as a professional boxer. The win against Tyson was the highlight of his boxing career.

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Akshit Pushkarna

94 articles

Akshit Pushkarna, who has a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication, is an MMA writer for EssentiallySports. Before his current role, Akshit worked on the Urban Development beat at the Urban Update magazine. However, combat sports always called out to Akshit, who pursued both boxing and wrestling at a regional level before shifting his focus to MMA journalism.

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