Bruce Lee vs Mike Tyson: Who would win in a street fight?
Now this is a big one. Iron Mike Tyson was one of the greatest heavyweight boxers the world has ever seen. In his prime, he was untouchable. Bruce Lee is perhaps the definition of martial arts perfection. This is a man who single-handedly designed a martial art of his own. Decades after his death, people still study his work.
So, what happens when we put one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time in a street fight against one of the most iconic martial artists of all time? In this video, we’ll be discussing a hypothetical match-up between Bruce Lee and Mike Tyson to see who would come out on top. Before we continue, you know you already love this video so please hit the like button, subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications so you never miss any of our upcoming exciting videos. With that done, let’s get down to business.
Born on November 27, 1940, Bruce Lee became one of the most influential martial artists of all time as he is credited for bridging the gap between Western culture and the East. Bruce Lee was born in Chinatown, San Francisco. His parents hailed from Hong Kong and his father Lee Hoi-chuen was a Cantonese opera star. Lee grew up with his family in Kowloon, Hong Kong and in his early years, he was introduced to the film industry by his father. It wasn’t long before Lee had appeared in several movies as a child actor. But what would later capture Lee’s heart was martial arts. From a young age he began learning Wing Chun, tai chi, street fighting and boxing. He became a boxing champion in his high school days and while he was at it, he learned cha-cha dancing.
At the age of 18, Lee was sent to the university of Washington, Seattle to receive his higher education. This was where he began to teach martial arts. Lee shone brightly at the 1964 Long Beach International Karate Championships standing at 1.72 m and weighing between 58 and 62 kg, Lee was extremely fast and had a reputation for hitting very hard. Lee’s vision was to export Chinese martial arts to the world. And while many kung fu purists despised the idea, Lee persisted with his goal and opened up to teaching anyone who wanted to learn the art. Within the chinese kung fu community, Lee was considered an outsider and in the Western world people were slow to buy into his project. But things soon changed as Lee began to showcase his talents in martial arts films like “The Big Boss”, “Fist of Fury”, “Way of the Dragon”, “Enter the Dragon” and “Game of Death”. Lee changed the perception of Asians on screen and his martial arts classes became popular with celebrities like Steve McQueen, Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate, Chuck Norris and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar signing up to take his classes.
Lee developed his fighting style called Jeet Kune Do which he showcased in many of his films. Following his shocking death on July 20th, 1973, he has since been considered one of the most influential and most iconic martial artists that ever lived. So how would Lee stand up to Mike Tyson?
Iron Mike reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990. Tyson won his first 19 professional fights by knockout and 12 of those knockouts happened in the first round. It’s no exaggeration to say that people were terrified of entering into the ring with a man they called “Kid Dynamite”.
Tyson was a destructive beast in the ring with a combination of incredible speed and perhaps one of the most powerful punches we have ever seen in the ring. At age 20, Tyson became the youngest boxer ever to win a heavyweight title. He was the first heavyweight boxer to hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles simultaneously and also the first to unify all three belts in succession. After reigning supreme for 3 years, Tyson suffered one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he was knocked out by Buster Douglas in the 10th round of their match-up in 1990.
In the years that followed, Tyson struggled with issues out of the ring. Most notably, he was accused of rape and handed a 6-year prison sentence. He would eventually serve 3 of those 6 years and be released on parole for the remainder of his sentence. Following his release, Tyson returned to the ring in 1995. And in 1996, he reclaimed his WBA and WBC titles, putting him in an elite class of boxers who regained their heavyweight championship belt after losing it; this includes Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, George Foreman, Tim Witherspoon and Floyd Patterson.
Tyson would later be stripped of his WBC title that year and lose his WBA title to Evander Holyfield. Then there was that infamous rematch in 1997, where Tyson bit off a portion of Evander Holyfield’s right ear. Despite Tyson’s shameful actions that night and his controversial behavior outside the ring, Iron Mike is still regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights ever. The Ring Magazine ranked Tyson number 16 on their list of 100 greatest punchers of all time. ESPN also placed Tyson at the top of their list of the hardest hitters in heavyweight history.
Tyson was without a doubt one of the most intimidating and most ferocious boxers to ever step into the ring. That said, how would these two legends square up in a street fight, with no holds barred and no stringent rules? To settle this match up, we’ll be scoring these legends on four basic fighting criteria; that’s fighting pedigree, physique, skill and improvisation. For each category, we’ll score each fighter a maximum of 10 points. The fighter with the highest cumulative points will be declared the winner. Let’s begin.
Lee is a master of combat sports. Not only did he invent his own martial arts style in Jeet Kune Do, but he also learned wing chun, tai chi, street fighting and boxing. Now, we don’t know if Tyson has any formal training in street fighting or in martial arts for that matter, but we all know he is a master at boxing. But this is a street fight and it is Bruce Lee who comes into the match with some formal training in street fighting. Of course, that’s not to say Tyson won’t be able to handle himself in a street fight. We’re sure he’s more than capable of doing that. And that’s why we’ll be scoring him 9 points in this category. But for a man who not only learned boxing and street fighting but also devised his own martial art style, we’ve got to give Bruce Lee the respect he deserves and award him 10 points in this category.
Now, this is where Tyson comes into his own, standing at 1.78 m and weighing 98 kg in his prime. Lee at only 62 kilograms will struggle to compete with Tyson’s physique. With Tyson’s body of muscle also comes as ferocious powerful punches that would destabilize any fighter. It’s difficult to see how Lee will be able to stand up to that. Tyson is the clear winner in this department. So it’s 10 points to Tyson 7 to Lee.
While physique plays a key role in any street fight, in the end, it’s really all about the fighter’s skill. Both Tyson and Lee are skilled fighters but Lee just has the edge in his range of fighting skills and his understanding of combat sport. It’s pretty close. We’ll give Tyson 8 points here and Lee 9 points.
Martial art focuses a lot on surprising your opponent while using the environment to your advantage. In particular, Lee’s Jeet Kune Do is centered around being unpredictable with your fighting strategy. Lee’s ability to do things in the spur of the moment and surprise his opponent certainly gives him the lead here. We give him 8 points for improvisation, to Tyson 6.
This fight is a pretty close one. In fact, it could go either way. But with 34 points, Bruce Lee just nicks the win over Tyson who scores 33 points.
So, do you agree with our verdict? Let’s have your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you in our next fight.
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