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Spectacular speakers: Buster Douglas

 Written by    November 23, 2019

I’m a big fan of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary series, even when they cover a sport I’m not too familiar with or a story that happened before I was born. One example is the 30 for 30 episode “42 to 1,” about Buster Douglas’ shocking upset of Mike Tyson in a 1990 boxing match. It was the first defeat of Tyson’s career. I had’t actually seen the documentary, so when I heard that the Ohio Union Activities Board was putting on a screening of the movie last week and Douglas himself would be speaking afterward, I was interested. Hearing that the event would be moderated by my favorite Buckeye football player of all time, running back Beanie Wells, sealed the deal for me.

 

Buster Douglas grew up on Maynard Avenue, just north of campus, with a father who was a boxer. He fought (literally and figuratively) to make a name for himself in boxing, but a few tough losses left him low on the totem pole in the sport. Willing to do anything to prove himself, he agreed to fight the menacing, terrifying, undefeated Mike Tyson in Tokyo (supposedly because no one in America cared enough to host it.) No one gave Douglas a shot. Vegas putting his odds to win at an unprecedented 42-1. Douglas trained hard and shocked Tyson by coming out swinging early, not letting up and eventually winning in the tenth round. His victory cemented his place in the sport’s annals and, along with Appalachian State football’s 2007 win over Michigan, is considered one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

I had never thought I would get the chance to watch a 30 for 30 with the main subject of the documentary in the room with me! It was interesting to hear him talk about what it was like to go from being a nobody to being one of the most famous fighters in the world, and how he transitioned to training younger boxers back in Columbus once his career was over. He also talked about drawing inspiration from his mother, who died a few weeks before the match, and why he is still optimistic about the future of boxing despite its declining popularity. After the event, I introduced myself to Beanie Wells and got this picture.

10 year-old Aaron is very excited about this picture. 21 year-old Aaron? Also very excited

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