May gained renown in boxing circles as the only journalist to predict a Douglas victory. (By a knockout "sometime during the first seven rounds," according to his front-page column dated Feb. 10, 1990, the day before the fight.)
This was not a case of a homer reporter making a prediction to appeal to the locals. May tirelessly followed and reported on the Columbus native's training for the fight and foresaw the constellation of factors that made the upset possible. Basically, May's pick was the sports columnists' Holy Grail: the ultimate prediction.
May, who shared his
Buster lost to
I watched him get into the best shape of his life. And everyone who was around Buster Douglas always wanted to see that, because they thought, when in shape, Douglas was about as good as there was in the world at that point in the heavyweight division. But he was rarely in that optimum shape. He was motivated to get into the greatest shape of his life for the Tyson fight because he saw that as a challenge, a way to make his mark. It piqued his interest in all kinds of ways.
He looked and ran like a linebacker. He was 6-4, about 230 pounds, he could sprint -- he was a great athlete. If you watch a video of the fight, you can see what I'm talking about: He was cut, he looked like an athletic specimen. On top of that, he had some innate boxing skills, a great jab, really good power in both hands.
The main thing Buster had going for him is that he wanted to
I remember sitting there with [manager]
What they noticed was when Tyson got hit with a jab in the face, he'd sort of pause for a second. They kept preaching to Buster to go in there and hit him with two or three jabs in a row. If you watch the tape of the fight, that's exactly what he did. And you can see how beat up Tyson's face is by the fifth round.
I had a lot of "inside information," if that's what you want to call it. I could see that Buster was in great shape, I could see that Tyson wasn't, you could see that the people around [Tyson] were a different group than what he rose to fame with. The bottom line was whether you could stay away from his uppercut. Tyson as never going to be confused with
Here was Douglas in the best shape of his life. He had a ridiculous reach advantage. Tyson is even shorter when you see him in person -- he might be 5-11 on his tiptoes. I just thought Douglas would use all those elements to his advantage.
Like I even said, if he stepped in there and took an uppercut, it could all be over too. Tyson ended many a fight with one punch. It almost happened in the eighth round when Douglas made one mistake. I give it up to Tyson. I earned more respect for him from the Buster Douglas fight than any other fight he ever won, because he was getting beat up and he still almost won the fight.
I've been privileged. I got to cover