If the new “Fight Night: Round 4” video game is as true to life as Mike Tyson says it is, Iron Mike probably wouldn’t have had a chance against heavyweight great Muhammad Ali.
Gamers will be able to get an idea for themselves by pitting the two former boxing stars against one another in the latest version of the game from EA Sports.
“That’s why everyone should get this game, because it puts Ali and me in our prime and has the two of us fighting magnificently well,” Tyson told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview. “I haven’t done well as Mike Tyson, but as Joe Frazier, I kicked a lot of ass.
“Maybe Joe Frazier is a better fighter in the game.”
Ali and Tyson, the two best-known heavyweights of the last 50 years, were selected in fan voting to be on the cover of “Fight Night: Round 4,” which will be shipped to retailers on June 30.
The game was developed by EA Canada in Vancouver.
Other fighters include Canadian Lennox Lewis, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns and Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez, as well as British light-welterweight Ricky Hatton and the man he will face live in the ring on May 2 in Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Tyson, an avid gamer. “The animation of the game – it’s almost like I’m a real person in there. It’s so lifelike.
“The minor touches they did as far as the lucidness and the fighters being agile, it’s amazing.”
Tyson, 42, stopped boxing after a loss to Kevin McBride in 2005 with a record of 50-6-0, including 44 knockouts. The stocky New York native was the youngest heavyweight champion ever. He had first-round KOs in 12 of his first 16 bouts and was only 20 when he won the WBC title with a second-round TKO of Canadian Trevor Berbick in 1986.
He owned three titles when he lost a shock 10th-round knockout to Buster Douglas in 1990, then went into decline both in and out of the ring.
He spent three years in jail following a rape conviction in 1992, then came back to beat Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon to win back two titles, only to lose them to Evander Holyfield in 1996. In a rematch in 1997, he famously bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear.
Tyson’s latter years were marked by wild facial tattoos, but little success in the ring. In 2003, he declared personal bankruptcy, after reportedly earning US$300 million in his career.
Ali, who fought from 1960 to 1981, was a larger-than-life personality, known as much for his clever poetry and political sensitivity as his considerable boxing skill.
The Greatest won the world heavyweight championship, in the days before the alphabet of competing sanctioning bodies, from Sonny Liston in 1964 and proceeded to down all the best of his era, including Floyd Patterson and a famous 15-round decision in Toronto over George Chuvalo on May 29, 1996.
Ali’s three years out of boxing from 1967 to 1970 were because he refused to be drafted by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. When he returned, he lost to Frazier and Ken Norton, but bounced back to beat both in classic matchups.
He was a shadow of his former self by the time of his last fight on Dec 11, 1981, a 10-round loss to Berbick. He was 56-5-0 over his career.
Smokin’ Joe Frazier also retired in 1981 at 32-4-1, while Foreman (76-5-0) fought until 1997.
The heavyweights have lost much of their lustre in recent years as the division was taken over by giant-sized plodders from eastern Europe, including brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko and, for a time, seven-foot Nikolai Valuev.
“There’s good fighters in the heavyweight division, there’s just no superstars,” said Tyson. “There’s nobody that stands out, who’s dynamic and exciting and putting up breathtaking knockouts.
“They don’t like to say it, but the brutal knockouts are what bring the people to the ring. You need excitement. You can win as many fights as you want but to get the money and the big paydays, you have to be exciting. People have to want to spend their money to come and see you. But once you get another star in the heavyweight division, it’ll be back to where it was before.”
Tyson said he doesn’t go to see live boxing any more, but he watches on television.
His favourites are Pacquiao, considered the best fighter pound-for-pound in the world, and he also likes light-middleweights Paul Williams, the WBO champ, and former undisputed champion Ronald (Winky) Wright.
Williams and Wright meet for real April 11 in Las Vegas.