Can LeBron James Really Beat Mike Tyson in a Boxing Match?

By in Boxing on
5 Minute Read
Lebron vs Mike Tyson

Over the last few days, there’s been a growing buzz over a hypothetical boxing matchup between LeBron James and Mike Tyson. What initially seemed absurd at first, has picked up traction and media attention. Furthermore, other athletes are also taking notice of this crazy idea.

Like most other social media celebrity matchups, it’s just a matter of time before boxing betting sites take notice and list odds for King James vs Iron Mike. Let’s give the sportsbooks a little nudge by handicapping this proposed matchup and seeing if LeBron could actually beat Tyson.

How Did This Tyson vs LeBron Debate Begin?

Just prior to the holiday weekend, a fan on Twitter posted the picture above. In that tweet, it says that Lebron would KO a prime Mike Tyson. That’s pretty hilarious and outrageous, but the absurdity didn’t end there.

LeBron fans began tweeting that James could beat Mike Tyson today if they fought. The support for James made this hypothetical matchup trend on Twitter. It also eventually made various sports sites actually cover the story.

Tale of the Tape: King James vs Iron Mike

Mike Tyson is 54 years old, but he doesn’t look like the average middle-aged person. In fact, he resembled more of the in-ring monster that he used to be than he does a 50+ year old with grey facial hair.

Over the last few months, Tyson has released training videos that have shocked many fans as to just how scary he still looks. Even though it’s against a stationary target, and Tyson isn’t getting punched back, his skills clearly haven’t eroded that much.

Furthermore, Tyson looks in tremendous shape with his diet and exercise regimen. Although he’s in great shape for a 54 year old, LeBron James is in prime physical condition and a tremendous all-around athlete.

Massive Height Advantage for LeBron

LeBron stands roughly 6’9” compared to Mike Tyson at 5’10”. James has almost a foot advantage in height, which has proven to be a difficult obstacle in the past for Tyson.

Tyson’s three tallest opponents all stood 6’5” and gave Iron Mike plenty of trouble:

  • Mitch Green fought Tyson to a UD loss on May 20th, 1986.
  • Tony Tucker fought Tyson to a UD loss on August 1st, 1987.
  • Lennox Lewis beat Tyson via KO on June 8th, 2002.

Close in Body Weight

Currently, Mike Tyson is weighing in around 230 pounds, but it’s a solid weight as he looks ripped. It’s the best Tyson has looked in many years. However, James is a finely tuned athlete at the top of his profession and weighs about 245 to 250 pounds.

I don’t see LeBron’s weight being an issue for Tyson who’s fought guys heavier than that. Tyson fought Kevin McBride who was 271 pounds, Danny Williams who was 265 pounds and Brian Nielsen who was about 260 pounds.

Reach Advantage Goes to LeBron

Mike Tyson has an arm reach of 71 inches, but James is definitely longer than that. Although I wasn’t able to find an exact reach, LeBron’s wingspan is measured at seven feet wide. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a reach of 80 inches.

In the past, Tyson struggled against opponents with a longer reach:

  • Tyson beat Mitch Green (80”) via UD in 1986
  • Tyson beat James Smith (82”) via UD in 1987
  • Tyson lost to James “Buster” Douglas (83”) in 1990
  • Tyson lost to Lennox Lewis (84”) in 2002

All four of these fighters had an arm reach of 80 inches or more, which made it difficult for Tyson to close the distance and do damage on the inside.

Handicapping Tyson vs James

LeBron James might have the height, weight, size and reach advantages, but he’s never been in a professional fight in his life. In fact, I doubt he’s ever been in a real fight as an adult.

Mike Tyson has had 56 professional fights with 44 KOs. And, I’m sure he’s been in countless street fights growing up and as an adult.

There really is no comparison here. Tyson is one of the greatest heavyweights of all-time. LeBron might be one of the best pro athletes we’ve seen in a few generations, but that doesn’t mean he will have the skills to hang with a 54 year old Mike Tyson.

Ironically, LeBron James has spoken about entering the boxing ring in the past. He attended the Mayweather vs McGregor fight in 2017 and was asked by the media afterward about his thoughts on the fight.

Former teammate JR Smith commented on the fight as well, which prompted LeBron to say he would’ve been “dropped in the first round,” according to TMZSports.  Smith hinted at the fact that he could last 30 minutes like McGregor did with Mayweather.

The difference is, McGregor is an elite MMA fighter with striking skills. James is an elite basketball player with no boxing experience. Furthermore, Mayweather is a defensive minded, counter striker. Whereas, Mike Tyson is a killer who wants to take your head off.

LeBron would be lucky to make it out of the first round if this was a real boxing match. As for handicapping the fight, you have to make Tyson a large betting favorite. We’re talking anywhere from -3000 to -5000. I would put LeBron at +1500 to +2500.

Like many boxing pundits, Utah Jazz star basketball player Donovan Mitchell laughed at this idea and clearly felt that Mike Tyson would win in a fight.

Are There Any Other Mike Tyson Betting Odds?

Although there isn’t an official sports betting website taking bets on this buzzing celebrity matchup, there are other Mike Tyson bets available to wager on.

With Tyson’s declaration that he’s returning to the boxing ring, there’s been no shortage of opportunities popping up.

In boxing, there was some initial chatter of a fight between Iron Mike and the #1 heavyweight in the world Tyson Fury. Currently, Fury is a -4000 betting favorite while Mike Tyson is a +1200 underdog.

Former MMA champions Tito Ortiz and Wanderlei Silva have also thrown their name in the hat for potential Tyson opponents. Ortiz is a +295 underdog compared to Tyson at -556. Wanderlei Silva is a +180 underdog compared to Tyson listed at -286.

There’s also Evander Holyfield who wants a trilogy fight with Tyson in an exhibition bout. Both men seem eager for it. Tyson is favored at -286, while Holyfield is floating around +180.

All of these potential opponents have significant experience in boxing and combat sports. Yet, other than Fury, they’re all underdogs to a 54 year old Tyson.

There’s no way LeBron James can match the speed and power from Mike Tyson. We would see James’ head be deflated like a basketball if this fight ever took place.

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

View all posts by Rick Rockwell
Email the author at: [email protected]