The transcript below is from the video “Mike Tyson VS Bruce Lee – Who Would ACTUALLY Win?” by SethTheProgrammer.

Mike Tyson:

“Let’s see whose fists are the fastest, yours or mine.”

Seth The Programmer:

Hello everyone, it’s your host SethTheProgrammer and today, we’re going to be going over another real life topic; the legendary Bruce Lee versus “Iron” Mike Tyson.

I feel like this video is a good idea because it helps go over many concepts, with dealing with real life fight analysis such as weight classes, styles and other physical attributes. This video will also serve as a good catalog of feats both have performed and what feats actually matter when going over fight science.

Starting off, we’ll go over Mike Tyson.

There have been few men who have stood in a ring that have generated the kind of tension and fear that Mike Tyson was able to display. Tyson has not only beaten but destroyed numerous undefeated and champion caliber fighters. The ferocity and power of Mike Tyson was so legendary that no one really wanted to test him, and his intimidating presence alone was so potent, that it is highly believed that he beat most of his opponents before ever even stepping foot into the ring. This is partially due to his unrelenting confidence that seemed to never fade regardless of who was in front of him. A great example of this is how Tyson once tried to convince a zookeeper to let him into a gorilla enclosure for the sole purpose of fighting a silverback gorilla one on one. As a reminder, a silverback gorilla was once recorded in the past grabbing a man with one hand and tearing his head off with the other with raw strength.

Seth The Programmer:

Now, not literally recorded with the camera but more like, historically recorded and theorized. That isn’t the only zoo encounter with Tyson though and he’s even famously known for having numerous pet tigers that he keeps on chain leashes. Many people try to downplay Mike due to his supposed lack of competition and insane lifestyle choices, but this couldn’t be farther from a fair representation of what Mike Tyson was capable of.

Now, while there is no true record of Tyson’s punching power, there are records of other boxers around the same era that Tyson scales to. Specifically, Frank Bruno, whose punching power was measured at around 1,178 lbs of force. The reason we could say Tyson probably scales to or above Bruno is due to the fact that he fought Bruno on two separate occasions and knocked him out in both fights.

And he was also able to beat James “Bonecrusher” Smith, who tanked shots from Bruno and even knocked him out as well in their fight. So, it’s safe to say that he’s on a relative caliber. Not only this, but Mike Tyson also is capable of knocking out Larry Holmes, a well-known granite chin and a survivor of Earnie Shavers. I mentioned Shavers specifically, because he was well known to be the hardest single shot puncher in boxing history, and featured a 91.8% knockout percentage out of a staggering 89 fights. To put this in perspective, Floyd Mayweather, arguably the best competitor of both old and modern day boxing, whose career started all the way back in 1996 or 25 years ago, amassed a ludicrous record of 50-0, which is almost less than half of the fights that Earnie Shavers had. Despite having a massive fight catalog, he maintained an insane 92% knockout rate for all of his victories. That guy wasn’t able to knock out Larry Holmes, who a young Tyson was capable of dusting within 4 rounds. This is excluding the fact that Tyson himself was also seen as one of the most prolific knockout artists the heavyweight division has ever witnessed.

Seth The Programmer:

So, yeah, basically, Mike Tyson would be capable of outputting a similar degree if not superior degree of force to Frank Bruno. And if you’re curious what 1,178 lbs of force is equivalent to; imagine a 4,600 lbs car is about to roll down a hill at about a 15 degree incline. Mike Tyson would be able to literally Superman-punch that car and stop it from rolling down the hill.

Now, our next combatant is Bruce Lee and even though we have a much more limited pool of information, the feats that Lee was able to perform during his prime are still insane by even today’s standards

Lee single-handedly inspired an entire generation and martial arts culture due to his reputation and skills. He was the pioneer in introduction of martial arts to the western world for the most part, and heavily aided in the development of modern day martial arts media and competitions. Lee was cited by many people to have such blinding speed that it would be impossible to perceive the strikes until after you had already been struck by them. Even legendary karate masters and experienced fighters have made similar claims to this.

There was once even a story where Bruce Lee was asked to slow down his movements in the midst of filming “The Green Hornet”. The reason the directors had asked this of him, was apparently because his movements were so fast that the cameras at the time were not able to actually pick up his moves. Not only was he fast, but he also possessed nearly unimaginable strength, especially when accounting for his size.

Seth The Programmer:

Bruce Lee could supposedly sidekick a 45 pound sandbag in half, which may on its own not sound too impressive but considering how little force is actually packed behind a sidekick, it is actually extraordinary. A sidekick is generally a utility based technique that functions more as a keep-away tactic rather than a damaging knockout or bone breaking kick. This is exactly how it is used by professional fighters such as the karate prodigy, Stephen Thompson. The reason the kick is so weak is because it only activates the muscles in the legs and glutes, rather than using the hips and the full body like kicks such as a round house would. There are probably barely any, if any fighters on the planet that could currently roundhouse kick a sandbag in half, which is one of the most common and devastating kicks you can throw.

So, the idea that Bruce Lee can just throw out a sidekick that can separate a 45 pound sandbag completely in half mid air, is completely ridiculous. There are even claims that he could punch harder than someone swinging a sledgehammer from over the top of their head down as hard as they can. To put this in perspective, a swing from a 5 kg sledgehammer can generate around 1,124 lbs of force, but the sledgehammer described in the story was said to be a large sledgehammer, probably around the 9 kg range. So, based upon this, Lee probably surpasses Frank Bruno’s striking power, a world-class heavyweight boxer, but with much less size to back him up and greater speed. The sheer physical attributes of Lee have been rumored and talked about for decades and are honestly, so unbelievable. It has placed himself in more like the myth or legend category of human beings. Maybe up there with such forces as genghis khan and leonidas but maybe not as high, but many people consider it very legendary.

Seth The Programmer:

With the introductions out of the way, we can now explore who would win between these two monsters who have both helped evolve, popularize and define combat sports. The first thing we have to go over are the Legends for Bruce Lee and whether or not they are something that can be accounted for in a discussion like this, or are they more just rumors. To put it plainly, Bruce Lee fought and performed during the era prior to heavy camera and video evidence. So, there is little proof or credence to the many Legends surrounding Bruce Lee’s name. This isn’t to disrespect or knock against Bruce Lee, you know, don’t dislike my video, because I’m saying this, because he is a genuinely a pioneer and pivotal part of modern day martial arts, and a truly skilled fighter. And even today, some of the things he’s written down in his books are still valid and being used. But a lot of these tales appear to be over exaggerated.

The type of stories that are told about Bruce Lee seem to be more akin to your uncle’s fishing story, where he once saw a 30ft alligator. Like, sure, it is possible that these stories are actually true, maybe your uncle really did see a 30ft alligator. But without any hard evidence to back them up, I don’t think there’s any definitive way to actually show what Bruce Lee is on the level of his exaggerated legendary status.

Seth The Programmer:

So, for the sake of the video, I will be splitting Bruce into two categories, one where we only use actual video or photographic evidence. And then, a separate section where I will discuss Legends Bruce Lee or author statements Bruce Lee, where all his myths tales will be incorporated into play as well. The Mike Tyson section will just be normal Mike Tyson though. We clearly know a lot of Mike Tyson’s strengths and limits and can scale him pretty accurately.

But the same can’t really be said about a more down to earth realistic portrayal of Bruce Lee, besides a few things. For one, we know Bruce Lee is an incredibly balanced and skilled striker and is sparring videos with his students, the only real evidence that we have of his fight. He can launch a lightning-fast head kick from seemingly any position despite constantly crossing his legs while walking. He can also strike so fast that karate world champions can’t even react to his strikes. He literally blitzes them like an anime character. Many question how well karate masters can use their strikes in an actual fight. I once got questioned when I brought this up. Like, well okay, well that doesn’t mean they can actually use it like in an MMA or boxing style fight. That’s just how fast they are in their actual just sport.

Seth The Programmer:

However, this is not important because karate point striking is mainly a speed contest, regardless of its effectiveness in combat. Bruce Lee blitzing people known for intense speed or speed competitions with striking is still a feat that could probably transfer to his actual combat ability regardless. In terms of his precision and speed, he might actually out do Tyson here. However, there is a massive disparity in their stats that makes it hard to believe this will do a tank like Tyson in just like that. After all, not just any scrub who does kickboxing can inherently beat up Tyson due to knowing how to throw a leg around. That’s simply not realistic. And Bruce Lee’s skills aren’t exactly some kind of omnipotent martial arts to god when you look at his actual combat showings with scrutiny.

There’s a pretty major and common misconception that size doesn’t matter in fights because skill overrules any physical advantage. And I, of course, have contention with this. As an example, say we take a mutant made in a laboratory that stands 9 ft tall, 700 plus lbs of muscle, can punch a hole in an armored vehicle, outrun a horse and could tank shotgun shells and pit him against the flyweight UFC champion, Davison Figueiredo, who weighs a staggering 125 lbs and standing at a height of 5’5″. Like, I understand that this guy is super skilled and probably the top 100 most skilled fighters on the planet but there’s only so much you can do when dealing with massive shortcomings physically.

Seth The Programmer:

There is a reason weight divisions are used in the UFC, for example. The divisions are usually separated between 10 to 15 pound differences, which may not seem like a lot, but considering a fighter can go from being the top of his division to getting manhandled in the division right above in weight, it is pretty insane to think about how much size and strength actually plays a factor in fights. Especially, considering these guys are literally the most elite martial artists on the planet.

Okay, maybe like extreme skill versus extreme weight difference is debatable, but the issue is there may not even be that much of a skill difference if at all. Mike Tyson is probably a more skilled striker with his hands, even if he is potentially slower. Bruce Lee was getting tagged numerous times in his sparring match against a very unknown non-tested amateur fighter.

Now, imagine a prime Mike Tyson who is actually extremely fast and is extremely skilled and hits like a sledgehammer. The outcome might be a bit different than some 130 pound scrub hitting Bruce Lee in the face. Bruce Lee himself is stylistically a counter-striker and he leans in and waits for his opponents before he himself strikes. Mike Tyson has actually faced numerous counter-strikers throughout his career, including Tony Tucker, which he destroyed. The sheer weight and strength difference between the two, already makes this fight super questionable for Bruce, but pairing that with a basically untested and unknown Bruce Lee against someone of Mike Tyson’s caliber; a fighting almost seems like murder. If we’re being honest, Mike Tyson weighed in at around 220 lbs in comparison to Bruce Lee who probably weighed something in the 130-140 lbs range would make a gap of around 80 lbs. Mike Tyson probably wouldn’t even need to use his boxing really. He might even just be able to grab a hold of him and pin him to the ground, and there would be really nothing Bruce Lee could conceivably be able to do to stop it.

Seth The Programmer:

So, if we’re just giving an honest power scale of both Mike Tyson and a non-Legends based Bruce Lee, I think it’s likely and safe to say that Mike Tyson curb stomps. Now, Legends Bruce Lee author statements got the guidebooks out, we got the data book. On the other hand, is a whole different animal. Legends Bruce Lee is not only faster than Mike Tyson but he also punches harder than him and this isn’t even taking into account his kicks, which probably generate double the amount of force his punches do. The 45 pound sandbag feet mentioned earlier was done with a sidekick.

To give you clarification, here is what a sidekick looks like when used by some of the best martial artists on the planet. You see that, that little nudge he did to keep his opponent away, that’s a sidekick. It’s not even remotely damaging. Its primary purpose, as I said earlier, is literally to space your opponents out. But Bruce Lee could apparently sidekick a sandbag in half while it was in mid air. This kind of power would rival that of the strongest kick on earth, probably even surpassing it with just a nudge. That’s on some Batman level martial arts.

Seth The Programmer:

Now, Bruce Lee was also supposedly able to pierce an old can of coke with 2 fingers and a single thrust. And old cans of coke were actually made out of steel not aluminum. So, imagine what that would do to like your throat. Due to these feats and Mike Tyson’s lack of experience and self admission to not knowing how to handle leg kicks, it is highly probable that Legends Bruce Lee mops Mike Tyson.

But with that out of the way that’s generally my thoughts on the matter. What do you guys think? Do you think Legends Bruce Lee is legitimate? Do you think Bruce Lee without Legends can take Mike Tyson? Maybe you think there’s something more that I missed it. This video is mainly just for fun but I think I gave a pretty fair analysis but let me know down below. Also this video was researched by my friend Noodles, who you can catch in the description. He was a big help since I didn’t have enough time to watch all of Tyson’s fights and so on. And he was also a big help with Bruce Lee’s stats as well. So, if you enjoyed some of the stuff he had to come up with, give him a thumbs up or maybe subscribe to him as well. Anyways guys, thank you so much for watching and until next time.

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