The High Life of Buster Douglas

by Mark Benson on November 30, 2011

Boxer becomes diabeticAs the son of a former boxer, James “Buster” Douglas first stepped into the ring in May 31, 1981. After a string of wins, he had his first loss coming into the fight heavier than his normal fighting weight. He again won six more until a controversial loss seemingly ground his fight career to a halt.

He then continued to fight in journeyman bouts, undercards to bigger bouts and better boxers. He then continued to fight, earning bouts with notable fighters in the heavyweight division such as Greg Page, Tony Tucker and Oliver McCall. The last fight earned him a shot at his biggest fight to date, a date with the then undisputed world heavyweight champion Iron Mike Tyson.

The run up to the bought saw Tyson as the odds-on favorite, with some bettors placing the odds at 42 to 1 for Tyson. During the fight, many boxing aficionados saw a different Douglas in the ring, one that used his 12-inch reach advantage to hilt. He kept jabbing at Tyson, who was then the most feared man in the ring because of his knockout power. When Tyson went inside and tried to mix it up, Douglas skillfully avoided the power shots and danced away to the chagrin of the fans in the Tokyo Dome in Japan and the millions throughout the world. Throughout the fight, Douglas was the better fighter, slugging a slower and overconfident Tyson, who by the fifth round had his left eye swollen and nearly shut from the punishment dished out by the fearless Douglas.

In the eighth round, Douglas was dropped by Tyson with a right uppercut but seemingly was able to get up by the eighth count of the referee. In the ninth round, Tyson came out aggressive despite the shut left eye hoping to end the fight with a knockout punch. The tenth round saw Douglas drop Tyson for the first time in his career and as he staggered to his knees his mouthpiece dropped to his side. Tyson was unable to get up in time for the count and was counted out. James “Buster” Douglas became the undisputed world heavyweight champion in three organizations, the World Boxing Council, the World Boxing Federation and the International Boxing Federation.

He made one defense of his undisputed world heavyweight title against Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield. He was knocked out in the third round. He then retired and with all his winnings lived the life but his encounter of a diabetic coma changed his life altogether. As a result, he was belatedly diagnosed to have diabetes and from there changed his life. He said the rewards of winning made him balloon to almost 400 pounds and thus developed Type 2 diabetes.  He has since attributed his condition from the sudden changes in weight and lifestyle from the trappings of fame and fortune.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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