As my friend Andy Dallos noted on his Facebook page today, Mike Tyson and Michael Spinks fought for the heavyweight championship of the world 27 years ago.
I remember it well.
At the time, I was 15 and a boxing fanatic. Tyson was the talk of the sport; the excitement-in-the-ring heir to Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler and Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes. He was dynamic and scary and hard-nosed and violent and damaged and …
I thought Michael Spinks would win.
I really did, though—sitting here now—I’m unsure why. Spinks held the championship belt, and he beat Holmes to win it. He was a savvy fighter, all angles and spots. Not terrifying or overly powerful, but smart enough to handle what the young, choppy Tyson threw his way.
Hence, as a bunch of Mahopac High School students gathered on the couch in Ari Pollack’s house, I bet $5 on Spinks. Literally, the opening bell rang, the fighters exchanged early blows and I said, “Spinks has this! Spinks has this!”
Pop! Pop! Pop!
Spinks was knocked down—twice. The non-battle ended in 91 seconds. Lou Hanner, my classmate, stood up. “Hey Pearlman,” he said. “Pay up!”
It was the last time I bet on a sporting event.