Mike Tyson's New Book Is A Memorial To The Man Who Made Him A Champion : NPR
Article on relationship between boxer Mike Tyson and boxing undone over, of all things, the marketing rights to a Tyson action doll. Early in his career, Tyson's impulses were often policed by his first trainer, Cus D'Amato. At only 20 years of age, Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight boxing to legendary boxing manager Cus D'Amato, who saw Mike's potential and took him began as trainer and boxer it quickly evolved into a father-son relationship. MIke Tyson: 'Without Cus D'Amato I might be living in some crummy . of his love -hate relationship with legendary boxing trainer Cus D'Amato.
He had a few guns in the house. He had it rigged up with a matchbox that would fall on the floor if someone opened the door. People of royal descent will know your name. The whole world will know who you are. Your family name will reign. I finally understood fighting. People were applauding and going crazy, and my dick got hard. Fear can help you ascend to great heights. This is who you are. You have to listen to me. Cus wanted to make you better. But in order to make you better, he had to break you.
I never felt such a glorious feeling. He made me feel like I was somebody, that I mattered. I held Cus in such high esteem, like a god. And I was like his slave. If he told me to kill somebody, I would kill them. I was a sick fuck. I think about this a lot. He thought so highly of me as a fighter, it was like he was worshipping me. And I started worshipping myself. At sixteen years old, I believed that all the heroes and gods of war — Achilles, Ares, all these gods and all the old fighters — were watching me and I had to represent them.
I had to be blood-thirsty and gut-wrenching. We were fighting for immortality. Nothing else mattered than being worshipped by the entire world. I was fighting the IBC. I never challenged them. I thought Cus would always be around. I never thought he would die. He wanted Kevin [Rooney] and [cutman] Matt Baranski to be there. I felt cheated by destiny when he died. With Cus gone, the punches seemed to hurt me more.
When Cus died, I started hitting the bottle more. I drank when I was nine years old in Brownsville and I drank beer when I was doing amateur tournaments. With Cus gone, I began to drink more. By the time I won the belt, I was a wrecked soul. All I knew was winning the belt for Cus. That was our goal. We were going to do this or else we were going to die.
That was the payoff for all that sacrifice, suffering, dedication. You know what my character would have been? But like its subject, the book has flaws. Every heavyweight champion was born under only three signs, and Cancer was one of them. The heavyweight champions from John L. Sullivan through Muhammad Ali were born under nine different astrological signs.
At one point, he describes a man who can take the sights off a BB gun, put a piece of tissue over the hole in the center of a metal washer, throw the washer in the air, and shoot a BB through the center of the washer. Why did I have to work so fucking hard that I have arthritis throughout my body. Tyson made and then lost almost a billion dollars as the last great undisputed heavyweight champion of the world whose controlled fury in the ring was eventually disfigured by madness and violence.
He has had distressing problems with women, been to jail and then imprisoned even more tightly by alcohol and drug addiction.
Now, however, Tyson taps me gently on the arm. I can't do nothing no more. He is not spinning a yarn here. Tyson, instead, is remembering his four-year-old daughter, Exodus, who died during a tragic accident in His eyes fill with tears. I'd still be that violent schmuck because that's all I once knew — how to hurt people.
I used to do all that stuff and I never cared about the repercussions. But I've surrendered now. He seems amazed he's still here, in one middle-aged piece.
I've been clean five months. I know guys who don't take drugs for 20 years but they still don't live a sober life. They're bad, they're manipulative, they're not conscious of other people's feelings. A sober lifestyle needs a sober consciousness.
But, still, the concept of happiness is fleeting. I read this book, The History of Happiness, and they go from Homer to Kennedy to Martin Luther King and everybody has a different definition of happiness.
Some people believe happiness is overcoming adversity or getting out of a bad situation. Abstaining from sex and then having sex is happiness to someone else.
Jacob Kepler for the Guardian Has Tyson worked out his own definition of happiness? You know any self-inventory I do tells me the same thing. I look back at the life I once had and see that I didn't have an emotional problem. I had a morality problem. I was without any morals. Tyson relives one of his bleakest memories at the age of seven.
The kids called me 'Little Fairy Boy'. Once, my mother was fighting with this guy, Eddie, and it's barbaric.
Eddie knocked out her gold tooth and me and Denise [his sister] are screaming. But my mother's real slick. She puts on a pot of boiling water. He was screaming, his back and face covered in blisters. We put him on the floor. My sister takes a lighter and sterilises a needle and then, one by one, she bursts the blisters. He gave his mother's burnt lover a quarter to comfort him. Eddie rose to his feet and trudged to the corner store to buy alcohol for Tyson's mother.
That's why I was so sexually dysfunctional. I would take women very seriously. As I tried to explain in the book I didn't grow up around frightened women.
If you sleep they might kill you — especially if you disrespected them. I remember my mother — boom! It was a violent household. I still think of being in the corner getting beaten by my mother. Back then it was like 'Holy Moly! But even though people think of me as 'Mike Tyson', this scary guy, I still have that fear today.
- “Iron Ambition” – Mike Tyson and Cus D’Amato: Book Review by Thomas Hauser
- Mike Tyson's New Book Is A Memorial To The Man Who Made Him A Champion
That's what happens when you're a traumatised kid. Unlike Iron Mike, Rodney went into medicine and he's a surgical assistant at a hospital in California. Tyson seems stunned by his brother's achievements. But my brother never talks about that. It must affect him. He said to me last time we spoke: He's just so far away from that world. He's taken bullets out of some of my friends. He's stitched them up and they've said: It's the really sad part about my family. We don't have a close connection.
Too many demons, too much pain. Even when I started doing well in boxing and people were writing about me she thought I was insane. She must have wondered: The sentimental version paints him as a saintly figure, a wise old trainer who rescued Tyson from juvenile prison and used boxing to instil discipline and purpose into his wayward life.
But, as Tyson suggests, "there wasn't a happy muscle in his face".
Mike Tyson: All I once knew was how to hurt people. I've surrendered now | Sport | The Guardian
Tyson nods at the memory. Cus wanted to be the guy everyone spoke about. You know it's crazy. If he were alive I'd never say these things.
MIke Tyson: 'Without Cus D'Amato I might be living in some crummy apartment building'
I would've made him out to be a saint because otherwise he would have killed me! I would've been so afraid and intimidated by Cus. The previous day, Tyson had listened to an old recording of his trainer praising him but worrying, just before his death inthat "he likes girls too much".
I don't know if that was good advice at such a young age. Another time, when I felt no girl would ever like me, he came in with a baseball bat.
He told me I'd need it to beat the women off me. The only morality I knew was to win, to conquer, to be the best. Everything flowed from there. It made me think I should have this, or that girl should sleep with me.