Alright, so I don't think this is going to be a very popular opinion and I'm hoping I don't get clowned on for this, and I don't know if this discussion has been brought up before or not, but I didn't see a forum post with this.
What about a category, or maybe a category extension, where you play the whole game up until you defeat Macho Man? This could potentially get newer runners into the game without the stress of fighting Tyson. I know the expected response is probably going to be "get good" or something similar in that regard, but I wanna eventually someday speedrun this game but I am so inconsistent with trying to beat Tyson. I would like to hear other peoples' opinions on this, or if its not a good idea.
In theory, I like the idea and while Gold Punch-out is basically only MTPO up to Macho, it does have a couple of drawbacks. There are some minor gameplay differences, such as the star animations taking longer on Soda and Macho as well as Don 1 having a different timing to hit the frame perfect star and I believe Don 2 is missing the coveted low refill in phase 2.
Along with that, an official gold cart is absolutely not cheap and just running it on emulator also has the drawbacks of dealing with input lag, and running on powerpak or everdrive is also an option, but once again, not exactly cheap.
That all being said, there is nothing stopping anyone from just running the first 13 fights in the game without the need for an "official" leaderboard.
If you are having doubts about beating Tyson/Dream in round 1, I encourage you to stick with it and keep trying - If it is a notch you want to get on your belt, the practice and suffering that goes into it is absolutely worth it.
@mPap I get that. I only suggested it because I do love playing the game and trying to see how low my time can get, but I don't want to spend all my time and effort fighting 13 people just to struggle and eventually restart on Mike Tyson, but yeah I get it, I just need to keep going at it and practicing.