Most of Mike Tyson’s famous fights have been in the ring but in 1988, one of his most infamous confrontations took place in the streets of Harlem against his long-time rival, Mitch “Blood” Green.
Green was a boxing pro but he also happened to be a former gang member who grew up in the Bronx and claimed to have been shot twice when he was 17. Green moved to Jamaica, Queens, and ran with the Bloods gang.
He later got into boxing. During his amateur career, he won the New York Golden Gloves four times as a teen (1976, 1977, 1979 and 1980). He then went pro, where he racked up wins.
But Green could not beat Tyson. They met in the ring in 1986 when Tyson was 19 years old and Green lost a 10-round decision, Sky Sports reported.
Early in the morning of Aug. 24, 1988, Green ran into Tyson, 22, and confronted him at Dapper Dan’s clothing boutique in Harlem. Tyson was going to Dapper Dan’s to pick up an $850 white leather jacket with “Don’t Believe the Hype” – the title of a Public Enemy track – written across the back, Talk Sport reported.
Green was shouting that Tyson’s promoter, Don King, owed him money.
But others believe there was more to the confrontation between Green and Tyson. Green believed Tyson was stepping into his turf as the Bloods gang was in parts of Harlem, Talk Sports reported.
The argument escalated and turned physical. According to accounts, Tyson landed a straight right hand across Green’s face, completely shutting Green’s left eye and opening a cut across his nose that required five stitches, Essentially Sports reported.
Tyson fractured his right hand, causing him to delay his fight against Frank Bruno. At the time, Tyson was the undisputed heavyweight champion.
Tyson later recounted his street fight with Green in his 1993 autobiography, “Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography,” and in his one-man Broadway show, “The Undisputed Truth.”
Tyson also recalled the incident on his HotBoxin’ podcast in 2020. “He [Green] started talking and saying, ‘What the f**k you doing in my hood, n****r?’ Then it was on from there,” Tyson said.
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He added, “He was just talking a lot, and I really thought he was grabbing for my pockets, so I pulled my pockets out because if he ripped my pants, all the money would fall, and I wouldn’t have a chance to get my money so I’d have to fight this cat right and then my money is to the wolves.”
“Iron” Mike Tyson said he threw several more punches until he knocked Green down. “Just like Friday the 13th f*****g Michael Myers s**t! Boom, I knock him out cold! He keeps getting back up. I’m like, ‘f**k!’”
Tyson continued, “I was drunk and didn’t realize that he was high on angel dust [PCP], so he wasn’t going to hit me back,” recalled Tyson, who had just come from a night of partying. “I was throwing punches and crunching this guy, and he was weaving and wobbling from side to side like he was going to fall, but he didn’t go down. So I did a Bruce Lee’ Enter the Dragon’ roundhouse kick on his ass, and he went down.”
In 1997, Green sued Tyson for a $25 million civil assault lawsuit for what he described as a “savage” beating. He was awarded a $45,000 judgment by the court.
Photo: Heavyweight boxer Mitch “Blood” Green, sporting the five stitches required to close a wound suffered in a street fight with heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, gives his side of the story at a news conference in New York, August 24,1988. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)/Photo: Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson leaves Manhattan’s State Supreme Court Sept. 29, 1997. Boxer Mitch “Blood” Green went to court Monday hoping that a 1988 street fight with Mike Tyson will give him the payday he could not win in the ring with the former heavyweight champion. Green, 39, is suing Tyson for $25 million in for civil assault because of an alleged “savage” beating Tyson gave him on a Harlem street in 1988. (AP Photo/Doug Kanter)