Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the face

By Mike Tyson

Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the face.

— Mike Tyson


In 1987, during the leadup to a fight against Tyrell Biggs, Tyson was asked by a reporter if he was worried about his opponents fight plan. His response has become legend.

It was originally reported as:

Everybody has plans until they get hit for the first time.

But the wording has evolved over time. Sometimes the plan is getting hit in the mouth; sometimes getting punched in the face. The sentiment is the same!

In 2012 he was asked by Mike Berardino to elaborate on the quote:

People were asking me [before a fight], ‘What’s going to happen?" They were talking about his style. ‘He’s going to give you a lot of lateral movement. He’s going to move, he’s going to dance. He’s going to do this, do that.’ I said, “Everybody has a plan until they get hit.” Then, like a rat, they stop in fear and freeze.

If you’re good and your plan is working, somewhere during the duration of that, the outcome of that event you’re involved in, you’re going to get the wrath, the bad end of the stick. Let’s see how you deal with it. Normally people don’t deal with it that well.

How much can you endure, buddy? Most talkers, they can’t handle it.

Tyson won the fight with a knock-out in the 7th round.

Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel


Mike Tyson was a professional boxer, and is one of the great heavyweight champions of all time, having being undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990.

I was a teenager at the time and I remember watching several of his fights live (they were typically on Saturday evening in the US, so shown at an audience-friendly Sunday afternoon in the NZ timezone). They were alway brutal and often not very long - sometimes lasting only seconds into the first round.

He lived a controversial life, in and out of the boxing ring:

At the height of his fame and career in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, Tyson was among the most recognized sports personalities in the world. In addition to his many sporting accomplishments, his outrageous and controversial behavior in the ring and in his private life has kept him in the public eye and in the courtroom. As such, Tyson has been the subject of myriad popular media including movies, television, books and music. He has also been featured in video games and as a subject of parody or satire. Tyson became involved in professional wrestling and has made many cameo appearances in film and television.

Between 1992 and 1995 he was in prison for the rape of 18-year-old, Desiree Washington.

He earned over $300m during his fighting career and in 2003 filed for bankruptcy with $23m in debt.

But, a significant part of his legacy might be this ubiquitious quote, which is a memorable re-phrasing of the old adage “No Plan Survives First Contact With the Enemy”.

Even Better …

While this is definitely the most popular Mike Tyson quote, I think there are others that are even better, even as they sometimes make you wince with their brutal honesty.

I’m not trying to punch him in the nose. I’m trying to punch the soft tissue behind his nose. I try to punch the bone into the brain


But also:

When you see me smash somebody’s skull, you enjoy it.

He also has some that are more reflective:

It’s good to know how to read, but it’s dangerous to know how to read and not how to interpret what you’re reading.


I don’t understand why people would want to get rid of pigeons. They don’t bother no one.

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