When Sega released James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing for the Genesis, the product’s shelf life had already been cut short. Shortly after the game hit shelves, Douglas lost the belt in his first title defense, and Sega was left with one big turkey of a license. To top it off, the game was little more than a remix of Taito’s Final Blow coin-op. Most people waiting for a real boxing title were left with a bad taste in their mouths, and by the time the game was ported to the Master System, people had moved on. What they didn’t realize is that the 8-bit version is totally different and bears more of a resemblance to Sega’s Rocky than it’s 16-bit sibling.
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In 1990, Sega was riding high on the success of its licensed sports games. Joe Montana Football was a solid seller, and the company was ecstatic to have secured the license of the new heavyweight boxing champ – the man who defeated “Iron” Mike Tyson – James “Buster” Douglas. Unfortunately, Sega apparently made more of an effort to get Douglas’ moniker on the box than it did to make the actual game around it, as the licensed Final Blow game it used was mediocre at best. To add insult to injury, Douglas lost his championship belt to Evander Holyfield in his very first title defense a mere nine months later.