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On This Date in Sports August 19, 1995: Mike Tyson Returns

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Mike Tyson returns to the ring for the first time in four years and scores a quick first-round victory over Hurricane Peter McNeeley. Tyson’s career was put on hold when he was convicted of rape and served three years in an Indiana prison. McNeeley came out aggressive and was floored twice in 89 seconds leading his manager to enter the ring to stop the fight, as the bout was ruled a victory by disqualification for Tyson.


Mike Tyson was “The Baddest Man on the Planet”. Born June 30, 1966, in Brooklyn, Tyson had a troubled childhood before he learned the sport of boxing and moved in with legendary trainer Cus D’Amato. Turning professional at the age of 18, Tyson rose up the heavyweight ranks to a rocket. Many of Mike Tyson’s early fights ended with a first-round knockout as he became the youngest heavyweight champion at the age of 20 in 1986.

Mike Tyson dominated the heavyweight ranks until 1990 when he was floored by Buster Douglas in a stunning ten round knockout. Tyson was expected to fight Evander Holyfield to regain his title in 1991, but his career was derailed when he faced rape allegations from Desiree Washington, a contestant in the Miss Black America pageant. Tyson was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison the following year. After serving three years he was released on parole on March 25, 1995, and looked to resume his boxing career.

Looking for an easy first fight Mike Tyson was matched up against Hurricane Peter McNeeley for his return to the ring. McNeeley had an impressive 36-1 record but was the perfect tomato can for Iron Mike to get his career back on track. Though winning 36 of 37 fights, McNeeley was little more than a club fighter from Boston. Few of Peter McNeeley’s opponents had a winning record and he had never fought on a national stage. At the time there was no bigger stage than the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against Mike Tyson.


Despite it being a clear slam dunk for Mike Tyson, the fight drew $96 million worldwide, as the public was ready to see Tyson doing what he does best again. Peter McNeeley came out the aggressor and swung wildly at Mike Tyson to land a big bow that could catch the boxer after a four-year hiatus by surprise. However, most of the punches missed or had no effect as Tyson land a punch that dropped McNeeley to the campus ten seconds into the fight. After a standing eight, McNeeley continued the flail away with no success. Tyson again knocked Peter McNeeley to the canvas midway through the first round.


It was clear that Peter McNeeley was going to get hurt if the fight continued as he was dazed but looking to continue when his manager stepped into the ring. This led referee Mills Lane to stop the fight and disqualify McNeeley, giving Mike Tyson another first-round victory to improve to 42-1 on his career. Mike Tyson would go on to regain the heavyweight title in 1996, with a knockout of Frank Bruno.