, who knocked out Mike Tyson
in 1990 to become undisputed undisputed heavyweight champion
, in one of the biggest upset
s in boxing history.
James "Buster" Douglas (DOB: 4/7/1960; Columbus, Ohio) was considered one of many bums whom champions face in between title defenses versus more serious contenders. However, Douglas had previously beaten accomplished fighters such as Oliver McCall and Trevor Berbick (both in 1989). Still, he had lost 4 fights in his career and was hardly seen as a major threat. Douglas was listed as a 42-1 underdog against the unbeaten, and seemingly unstoppable, Tyson. Still, Douglas's mother had recently died so Douglas was greatly motivated and in great physical shape.
The bout, on February 11, 1990 in Tokyo, didn't go as everyone expected. Perhaps taking Douglas lightly (afterall, everyone else did), Tyson didn't knock Douglas out early, as he did most previous opponents (none of his 5 most recent title defenses lasted past the 5th round). Douglas took advantage, and shocked the world with a 10th round knockout of Tyson, becoming undisputed heavyweight champion.
Douglas went overnight from an unknown to a champion. Sega Genesis released the video game Buster Douglas Boxing (which, fittingly, probably wasn't as good as Mike Tyson's Punchout on NES).
The honeymoon ended on October 25, 1990 in Las Vegas, when Evander Holyfield knocked Douglas out in the 3rd round, to take the heavyweight championship. Remarkably, Douglas was out of shape and overweight for the fight, which was his first and last title defense.
Douglas did not fight from 1991-1995, and had health problems related to being overweight (including being in a diabetic coma at one point).
Buster returned to boxing in 1996. He won his fights, but didn't fight anyone of note and was still out of shape. Douglas suffered a first-round knockout by Lou Savarese on June 25, 1998 in Ledyard, Connecticut, which effectively ended talks of a Tyson-Douglas rematch.
Douglas fought a few times since, but as far as I know, he's now retired from boxing. His career record is 38-6-1, with 25 knockouts.
Recently, when unknown Hasim Rahman knocked out Lennox Lewis to win the heavyweight championship, comparisons were drawn between Rahman and Douglas.
Buster Douglas's legacy is as boxing's David who beat the sport's Goliath to become a champion (if only for a few months).