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Will We Ever Get A Punch-Out!! Sequel?

Released in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Punch-Out!! is older than many gamers. The title went on to sell over 2 million copies and has long been considered one of the best games created for the NES (and Nintendo systems in general).

Despite its age, fans still wonder if there will be a round two for this revolutionary boxing game. Does the franchise have a future? The answer may lie in Punch-Out!!'s bizarre history, a twisting tale of celebrity likenesses and rebranding that could turn into a major comeback story.

From Mike Tyson to Mr. Dream

Before Little Mac could stand on his own as an iconic character, Punch-Out!! was marketed using the name of one of the most famous athletes at the time: Mike Tyson. For the first three years of its distribution, Punch-Out!! was called Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!. Nintendo reportedly paid Tyson $50,000 for the privilege, a risky move made with the hope of increasing the game's sales.

Originally, the final boss Little Mac had to face was none other than Tyson himself, a previously undisputed world heavyweight champion. True to real life, Tyson proved to be one of the most punishing video game bosses in existence. When Nintendo's license to use Tyson's likeness expired, the company replaced him with the fictional Mr. Dream and re-launched the title as simply "Punch-Out!!."

Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch and Power Punch 2

Following the success of Punch-Out!! (and preceding various controversies involving Tyson), Nintendo greenlit a sequel called Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch. Yes, you read that right. After his defeat at the hands of Little Mac, Tyson took to the stars to fight aliens, androids, and villains that looked suspiciously similar to the Predator. Nintendo quickly pulled the plug on the title.

Despite Nintendo nixing the followup and the loss of the rights to Tyson's image, Australian developer Beam Software, which Nintendo had contracted for the sequel prior to its cancellation, finished the game. American Softworks Corp picked up the project, and it launched on the NES in 1992 as Power Punch 2. It centered on Mark "Tough Guy" Tyler, a fictional boxer who looked remarkably similar to Tyson. Other characters resembled Tyson's manager, his original trainer, and his ex-wife.

Power Punch 2 was a mere shadow of the original Punch-Out!! It wasn't hard to see why Nintendo ultimately passed on the game.

Tyson wants to revive the series

Despite the unofficial mess that was Power Punch 2, Punch-Out!! has resurfaced a few times over the years. It appeared as a rare unlockable NES game in the enhanced version of Animal Crossing that launched on the GameCube. Nintendo re-released Punch-Out!! itself on Wii's Virtual Console service, the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console service, and it appeared as part of the Nintendo Online subscription service in April 2019.

Days before Punch-Out!! came to Nintendo Online, Tyson tweeted about a supposed Punch-Out!! game in the works, a rumor that did not seem to go anywhere. Then, in May 2020, Tyson told Shacknews he wanted to revitalize the Punch-Out!! franchise using his cannabis company, Tyson Ranch. "Hey listen, we're going to start our own Punch-Out!! game and our own Tyson Ranch computer game and bring it back to life, man," Tyson said in an interview.

So, what does this mean? Tyson hasn't been involved with the Punch-Out!! series for years, and despite the passage of time, Nintendo may still wish to distance itself from the former heavyweight champion. Tyson could still create his own boxing game, however, which could serve as a spiritual successor to the original Punch-Out!!, a prospect that will no doubt delight fans of the 1987 release.