LAS VEGAS — Before 42-1, there was 27-1.

That was the number that popped into oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro’s head in early February 1990, though at the time it didn’t seem to matter. There was no way Buster Douglas was going to go to Japan and beat the baddest man on the planet, so 27-1 seemed like a reasonable line for what everyone figured would be a short fight with Mike Tyson.

Except it wasn’t. The next day a customer came in and bet $54,000 to win $2,000 on the expected Tyson beatdown. Others soon followed, handing over fistfuls of $100 bills across the counter at the Mirage hotel sportsbook.

If anything seemed like a sure thing in 1990 it was that Tyson would knock out Douglas

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