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The Man Mike Tyson Says Was His Strongest Opponent Doesn’t Feel the Same Way and Is Still Hoping for a Rematch 35 Years Later

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MIKE TYSON

You don’t have to be a boxing fan to know who Mike Tyson is as he’s easily one of the most famous athletes ever to walk the planet.

 

 

 

But I’d venture a guess that not many people, including many boxing fans, don’t know who Jose Ribalta is. And it’s certainly OK if you don’t.

Mike Tyson

 

 

 

 

For those unaware, Ribalta was Tyson’s 26th opponent as a professional and his second-to-last opponent before he became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history at age 20.

 

 

He’s also the man Tyson says was his strongest opponent and had the best chin of any man he ever faced.

Mike Tyson

 

 

How’s that for some high praise from someone who squared off with the likes of Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis?

 

 

But the funny thing is that Ribalta, who took everything Tyson had back then and still wants another shot at him to this day, says that Iron Mike isn’t the hardest hitter he ever stepped in the ring with.

Mike Tyson

 

 

 

Mike Tyson says Jose Ribalta was the strongest opponent he ever faced

 

 

Tyson and Ribalta met at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City on August 17, 1986. Tyson, the top-ranked contender by the WBA and the second-ranked contender by the WBC, had been decimating the heavyweight division since his first pro fight in March 1985 and came into the fight with a perfect 25-0 record that featured 23 knockouts.

Mike Tyson

 

 

 

Ribalta, a 23-year old Cuban who turned pro in 1982 at the age of 18, came in with a 22-3-1 mark and was ranked eighth by the WBC.

 

 

Most assumed Tyson would end the fight quickly, and it seemed that would be the case when he landed this vicious uppercut in the second round.

 

 

Sportscasting | Pure Sports

 

 

You don’t have to be a boxing fan to know who Mike Tyson is as he’s easily one of the most famous athletes ever to walk the planet.

 

But I’d venture a guess that not many people, including many boxing fans, don’t know who Jose Ribalta is. And it’s certainly OK if you don’t.

 

 

For those unaware, Ribalta was Tyson’s 26th opponent as a professional and his second-to-last opponent before he became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history at age 20.

 

He’s also the man Tyson says was his strongest opponent and had the best chin of any man he ever faced. How’s that for some high praise from someone who squared off with the likes of Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis?

 

 

But the funny thing is that Ribalta, who took everything Tyson had back then and still wants another shot at him to this day, says that Iron Mike isn’t the hardest hitter he ever stepped in the ring with.

 

 

Mike Tyson says Jose Ribalta was the strongest opponent he ever faced

 

 

Tyson and Ribalta met at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City on August 17, 1986. Tyson, the top-ranked contender by the WBA and the second-ranked contender by the WBC, had been decimating the heavyweight division since his first pro fight in March 1985 and came into the fight with a perfect 25-0 record that featured 23 knockouts. Ribalta, a 23-year old Cuban who turned pro in 1982 at the age of 18, came in with a 22-3-1 mark and was ranked eighth by the WBC.

 

 

 

Most assumed Tyson would end the fight quickly, and it seemed that would be the case when he landed this vicious uppercut in the second round.

 

 

 

But to the surprise of everyone, likely even including Tyson himself, Ribalta bounced right back up, and the fight was on from there.

 

 

 

 

Both landed several hard shots as the fight went on, and Tyson again floored Ribalta in the eighth. But once again, the young Cuban came back for more. Iron Mike knocked Ribalta down again in the 10th and final round, but Ribalta made it to his feet again.

 

 

 

Tyson continued his assault, and referee Rudy Battle apparently thought Ribalta had had enough as he called the bout at the 1:37 mark, much to Ribalta’s dismay as he wanted to continue.

Mike Tyson

 

 

 

Tyson later told Ring Magazine Ribalta was the strongest opponent he ever faced and also had the best chin, saying, “I hit Jose Ribalta with everything, and he took everything and kept coming back for more.” But this wasn’t the last time the two would cross paths.

 

 

The Cuban thought he was going to get the title shot Buster Douglas received and was later Iron Mike’s sparring partner




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