Prime Mike Tyson vs Deontay Wilder – Who Would Win?

A proper fantasy fight. Deontay Wilder vs Mike Tyson. Raw power vs unparalleled aggression. A fight that regardless of its outcome would’ve been full of fireworks. Wilder’s astonishing right hand has solidified him as arguably the hardest puncher to grace the ring. While Mike’s ferocious and relentless style combined with his perfect technique made him an icon of boxing and one of the best heavyweights ever.

However, after so much time and progression with technology and training, who would’ve come out on top if these two ever met in the ring?

Well, after careful examination of their fights and styles, I would favour a prime Mike Tyson to win over Wilder. They are both aggressive power punchers but their styles are so different. Without a doubt Mike is technically better, using angles and combinations to set up power punches. Wilder, however, I think is a harder puncher. Mike had more spectacular knockouts but he didn’t purely rely on power and used clever angles to overwhelm his opponents.

While we have seen big improvements in Wilder’s technical ability, he is still quite one-dimensional in his approach, he sets up with the jab and waits for his opponents to walk onto a right hand. This strategy has served him incredibly well, producing 41 knockouts. However, against someone as creative and elusive as Mike, the chances of that right-hand landing flush would be quite slim.

That being said, I think Mike’s movement would be overwhelming and his angles would create an opening for him to finish Wilder inside four rounds.

How Mike Tyson could win

NameMike Tyson
AliasIron Mike
Height5ft 10″
No contests2

If this fight would’ve ever happened, I’m sure to two would have approached each over with very different strategies. I imagine that Mike would immediately take the center of the ring and start to apply pressure with a heavy jab to the body and chest.

I think Wilder would start off by using his jab and reach advantage to try and keep Mike out of range, similar to what Lennox Lewis did to Mike in their fight. However, not being anywhere near the technical caliber of Lewis, I feel Wilder would unfold quickly. When Mike closes the range, I think Wilder would struggle to remain composed and start letting his hands go which immediately plays into Mike’s favour.

The pressure from a prime Mike Tyson was immense and as we saw in Wilder’s rematch with Fury, he struggles to fight on the backfoot. Punching backward isn’t a recipe for success for Wilder and I very much doubt he could take the front foot against someone as effectively aggressive as Mike.

Wilder also has a good jab but Mike was masterful at evading straight shots with the “peekaboo” style he learned from Cus D’Amato. I think it would only be a matter of time before Mike would close the range and start unloading heavy body shots and uppercuts. The crashing right hands of Wilder wouldn’t have been a problem for Mike stylistically and I imagine they would be missing for most of the fight.

Mike Tyson’s competition and notable wins

Mike fought in an incredibly competitive era of heavyweight boxing where there was so much talent in the division. With fewer politics and regulations, fights were made much easier in the past which resulted in Mike facing a huge amount of competition. Comparing their resumes is quite pointless because of the quality of opposition they faced.

Notable wins:

  • Micheal Spinks
  • Trevor Berbick
  • Tony Tucker
  • Frank Bruno
  • Larry Holmes
  • Pinklon Thomas
  • Tyrell Biggs
  • Mitch Green

How Deontay Wilder could win

NameDeontay Wilder
AliasThe Bronze Bomber
Height6ft 7″

Former WBC champion Deontay Wilder is arguably the hardest puncher to grace the ring. His wild punches have produced some of the most emphatic knockouts we’ve seen in recent times. However, I think this would’ve been a horrible matchup for him stylistically.

Being the significantly bigger man with a longer reach doesn’t help Wilder in a match-up like this. If he were to beat Mike, I think it would be from a perfectly timed right hand. Similar to the punch that put Tyson Fury down in the 12th round of their first bout.

I’m sure a lot of people would write off Wilder in this match-up because of how evasive Mike was in his prime, but Wilder always has a puncher’s chance. Also in terms of sheer power, I think Wilder has Mike outgunned. It is close but Mike is much shorter and his snappy explosive punches were difficult for his opponents to see coming, which is why he was able to produce so many knockouts. Wilder, however, throws looping right hands that are usually easy to see and evade but when he lands, regardless of whether his opponents saw the punch coming, it sends them crashing down to the canvas.

I think if Wilder were to beat Mike it would be via knockout in the later stage of the fight if a perfect right hand landed clean. As we saw in Mike’s bout with James “Buster” Douglas, heavyweight boxing has limitless possibilities. So while on the surface it would seem a herculean task for Wilder, he only needs one chance to land his devastating right hand.

Deontay Wilder’s competition and notable wins

In terms of the competition faced, the two aren’t really comparable. Aside from Tyson Fury, who I thought comfortably beat Wilder in all three fights, Wilder hasn’t faced any greats. The current landscape of the heavyweight division isn’t what it once was. Wilder will now be looking at facing the likes of Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte, Andy Ruiz Jr, and Oleksandr Uysk.

Notable wins:

  • Luis Ortiz (2x)
  • Bermine Stiverne (2x)
  • Domic Breazile
  • Chris Aerola
  • Malik Scott

What the fighters think would happen

As with most fighters, both Wilder and Mike have incredible self-belief and in their respective fighting campaigns, thought they were unbeatable. Their championship mindsets are what allowed them to reach the pinnacle of the sport and acclaim the most desirable position in boxing in being the heavyweight champions of the world.

That being said, Wilder claimed in an interview that he would knockout Mike Tyson in his prime. Mike, responded with “I don’t know, I love the fact that he thinks that way because that is what I would say as well.” So its fair to say that they both think they would’ve beat each other in their primes.


So to conclude, I think the fight would’ve been quite one-sided in Mike’s favour and I’m nearly certain that the fight wouldn’t have gone the distance. With both fighters possessing similar power I think the skill difference would immediately become apparent and lead to either a KO/TKO for Mike.

Regardless of who would’ve won if this bout hypothetically took place, I’m sure it would have been a great fight. These comparisons are just fan debates and nobody can say for sure who would’ve won. But they are both great champions and legends in their own rights and deserve the respect of being heavyweight champions.

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