Mike Tyson is universally known as one of the greatest boxers of all time, despite being relatively short. The Hangover star dominated boxing throughout the 1980s and 1990s with a ferocious fighting style that millions of people regularly paid to see.
His dominance in the sport seemed unusual to some, as he was often shorter than opponents such as Evander Holyfield and Mitch Green.
But how tall is Mike Tyson exactly?
Mike Tyson started fighting at an early age
Tyson grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, one of New York City’s roughest neighborhoods. Living in poverty, he was surrounded by crime and was frequently bullied as a kid. Tyson’s first fight was caused by a dispute over one of his pigeons after an older kid ripped its head off.
Tyson ended up fighting the kid and beat him up pretty badly, which impressed some of the older kids in his neighborhood. Before long, they would bring kids from other neighborhoods to fight with Tyson for cash prizes.
The former heavyweight champion began practicing boxing after being sent to a juvenile detention center. It was there that he met Cus D’Amato, the trainer that would prepare him for a historic career in boxing. Tyson went on to win gold medals as an amateur boxer, and at 20 years old became the youngest world heavyweight champion of all time.
He never felt like his height was a disadvantage
Tyson was known for his intense persona and immaculate punching power, despite being shorter than most of his opponents. During a 1986 interview with Dick Cavett, Tyson explained why he didn’t think his height was a problem.
“Well, like I said before, it’s all psychological,” Tyson said. “If you believe that a guy—everyone always says, ‘This guy has an advantage, a seven-inch reach advantage, four-inch height advantage.’ No one ever says he has a four-inch height disadvantage.”
He used his height as a strategic tool in matches
Tyson then revealed how he uses his height to his advantage by keeping his head below a taller boxer’s reach.
“I’m a much taller guy, and to hit you, I’m more adjusted to throwing my punch like this,” Tyson said as he threw a punch over Cavett’s head. “If you’re calm and relaxed enough, you could watch and you could see everything. And you could watch every twitch of his muscles. But you have to have the confidence and the relaxation.”
Tyson also noted that he never brings his eyes above an opponents’ shoulder area, so he could watch their movements.
“I look only right here,” Tyson said, motioning to Cavett’s collarbone. “Because his face can’t hit me. So I only watch right here, watch the shoulders.”
How tall is Mike Tyson?
Even though Tyson frequently battled larger heavyweights that were much taller than six feet, Tyson himself is only 5-foot-10 and has a reach of 71 inches, according to Dimensions.com. His height was significantly less than most other boxers in his class at the time.
Even though Tyson wasn’t that tall, he had no problem dominating the boxing world. He terrorized his opponents for over a decade, earning a 50-6 record with 44 wins by knockout.
Clearly, height isn’t as big of a deal for boxers as one might think.
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