I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson

Album: And in This Corner... (1989)
Charted: 94 58


  • DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince specialized in goofy, self-deprecating story songs like "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble" and "Parents Just Don't Understand." Often, they find the Fresh Prince pursuing a bad idea, with predictable results. In this song, he decides to take on heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson in the ring, and it does not go well. After he takes his whoopin', Jazzy Jeff decides to take a crack at the champ.
  • When this song was released, Mike Tyson was 37-0 and seemed invincible. The song peaked at #58 on December 9, 1989. On February 11, 1990, he fought his next bout, losing in a stunning upset to Buster Douglas, a 42-1 underdog. Tyson never regained his form, and in 1992 was sent to prison on rape charges. He resumed his boxing career when he got out in 1995, but lost two fights to Evander Holyfield, the second of which he bit off a chunk of Holyfield's ear.

    "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson" was perhaps the peak of Tyson's unrelenting hype before his fall. He had transcended his sport to become a media sensation, but he was clearly troubled and his issues were amplified by the unrelenting press coverage. Years after hanging up his gloves, he was welcomed back to Hollywood as a curious cameo, famously appearing in the 2009 film The Hangover.
  • Tyson and his manager Don King appear in the video, which opens with the Fresh Prince running up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, site of a famous scene in the 1976 movie Rocky where the title character trains. In Rocky III, Rocky has won the title and spends much of his time making public appearances and doing endorsements. This detracts from his focus, and he loses the title to a hungry challenger (Clubber Lang, played by Mr. T). Tyson followed a similar path: instead of focusing on his next fight, he was preoccupied with other pursuits like this video.
  • The Fresh Prince is Will Smith, who put some meat on his bones and starred as Muhammad Ali in the 2001 film Ali. He looked a lot more confident in the ring for that one.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Paul Williams

Paul WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

He's a singer and an actor, but as a songwriter Paul helped make Kermit a cultured frog, turned a bank commercial into a huge hit and made love both "exciting and new" and "soft as an easy chair."

Elton John

Elton JohnFact or Fiction

Does he have beef with Gaga? Is he Sean Lennon's godfather? See if you can tell fact from fiction in the Elton John edition.

John Lee Hooker

John Lee HookerSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write the blues.

70s Music Quiz 1

70s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

The '70s gave us Muppets, disco and Van Halen, all which show up in this groovy quiz.

Eagles Lyrics Quiz

Eagles Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

Lots of life lessons in these Eagles lyrics - can you match them to the correct song?

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: Tarantino Edition

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: Tarantino EditionMusic Quiz

Whether he's splitting ears or burning Nazis, Quentin Tarantino uses memorable music in his films. See if you can match the song to the scene.