Mike Tyson Vs. Deontay Wilder: Who Would Win?

MMA and assorted other combat sports might be the cool young kids these days, but when it comes to sheer history, popularity and fight purse size, boxing remains the king. The sweet science has so absurdly many legendary champions, competitors and fights that you can put a hundred fans in the room and each of them might very well name a different set of favorites. Unfortunately, all of this also means that many of the best boxers to ever grace the ring are never able to face each other. The simple fact that they competed in different points of history robs us of this possibility, so even if they'd compete in the same weight class, we'd never see, say, Muhammad Ali take on Floyd Mayweather

Fortunately, that doesn't stop us from dreaming. Boxing is a well-documented sport, and the strengths and weaknesses of its most famous fighters are well-known. That's why nothing can stop you from a fantasy fight between Mike Tyson and Deontay Wilder, even though the two men are unlikely to ever do that in real life. 

In fact, why don't we do just that? Iron Mike vs. the Bronze Bomber – fight! 

Mike Tyson's ability is no mystery

Mike Tyson is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a whole lot of legal trouble. His comparatively short stature (around 5'10") means he's the smaller guy in most heavyweight matchups, but that didn't stop him from tearing through scores of opponents during his prime years, from 1985 to the early 1990s. Unfortunately, as more than one lady (and Evander Holyfield's ear) can testify, Tyson lived up to his "Baddest Man on the Planet" nickname in more ways than one, and his surprisingly low net worth and many, often unsavory troubles with the authorities pay witness to his questionable choices in life. 

However, if we're talking about Tyson as a boxer in his absolute prime, it's clear that we're dealing with a serious player. His peculiar "peek-a-boo" boxing style, amazing punching power, ruthless aggression and surprising speed caused many of his colleagues to fear him so much that they hesitated to punch him. This, in other words, is not a man to trifle with.  

Tyson is wild, Deontay Wilder

Deontay Wilder, on the other hand, is the kind of guy who seems custom built to trifle with Mike Tyson. He's been active in the ring since 2008, and his very impressive 41-1-2 record doesn't exactly pale when compared to Tyson's record of 50-6-0. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama native stands at a very impressive 6'7", and his reach is 83" compared to Tyson's 71". Apart from his boxing skills, he also has the kind of confidence and theatrical flair that might very well work to negate Tyson's intimidation advantage. As Wesley Morris of the New York Times reminds us, he's even prone to highly elaborate ring entrances, such as the 40-pound, vaguely "evil king" -themed armor he wore to the ring in his February 2020 confrontation with Tyson Fury. 

Wilder's greatest strength, however, probably lies with the fact that he's utterly unorthodox. As Brian Mazique of Forbes notes, his technique leaves a lot to be desired, and his attacks may occasionally be of the "whirling dervish" variety. However, he has been able to constantly add more pieces to the puzzle of his fighting ability, and his sheer punching power (41 of his 42 victories have been knockouts), reach, and ability to simply win no matter what are more than enough to make him a formidable threat. But would the Bronze Bomber truly be able to dent Iron Mike?

Ultimately, iron is harder than bronze

Ultimately, it all comes down to people who have actually faced either Deontay Wilder or Mike Tyson. Wilder has always been unable to beat Tyson Fury. The pair has faced twice, with the first match ending in a split decision draw, and the second one ending in a technical knockout for Fury. Being named after Mike Tyson, Fury obviously has a healthy respect for the man. Apart from that, both Tysons have gone on record saying that prime Iron Mike would absolutely beat the self-described Gypsy King, and a simulated Fight Night match between the two indeed saw the OG Tyson steamroll his way through his larger compatriot. This, of course, doesn't bode well for Wilder, a man who's yet to beat Fury. 

Tyson (Mike) and Wilder have also exchanged ideas about what would happen if the two met at the heights of their powers. As Scott Polacek of Bleacher Report tells us, Wilder opined in 2018 that he could absolutely beat a 1986 version of Tyson. When asked for comment, Tyson simply replied: "I don't think so." Incidentally, he wasn't alone in this sentiment. Lennox Lewis, who actually faced Tyson past his prime, had this to say about this particular fantasy fight: "I like Wilder, but he's never been in there with someone that ferocious who truly wants to break his ribs with every punch. I don't see it!" And that, we feel, is that.