Friday 22 June 2007

Sport - Bigger than this

Ever so often someone comes along and redefines the principles of a sport by being awesomely superior to everyone else. At their peak, they seem to become bigger than the very discipline they practice and are often deemed as a possible threat to the sport itself. Athletes such as Wilt Chamberlain, Sonny Liston, and Tiger Woods have all done this in the past. One of the athletes to do that in recent times was Mike Tyson.

His life story almost reads like a parody of a gutter-to-glory boxing story. Absent father, arrested 38 times by the age of 13 ,kept in juvenile detention centres until his boxing talent was noticed. He was then passed on to legendary boxing trainer Cus D'amato, who later became his legal guardian. D'amato became a father figure for him and helped develop (along with Kevin Rooney later)hand speed, accuracy, coordination, power, and timing along with his awesome natural strength.

Cus D'Amato

They also developed excellent defensive techniques with a Peek-a-Boo style where he slipped and weaved out of the way of the opponent's punches while closing the distance to deliver his own punches (you can really see this at 0:39 in the second clip).
Tyson's Training Routine

Tyson won 19 of his first 22 fights by knockout, 14 of which came in the first round. At the age of 20 years and 4 months became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.At that time he was around 222 lb (101 kg) with approximately 5.5% body fat, and 5 ft 11 in(180 cm).


D'Amato died in November, 1985, relatively early into Tyson's professional career. I think it would be far too simplistic to say this was the genesis for the troubles Tyson was to experience later as his life and career progressed. He later became heavily influenced by Don King and as a result got rid of his white trainer, Rooney. Known to be a gentleman one day, but capable of committing reprehensible acts the next, it's hard to figure out if Tyson was just a lost ghetto kid that never replaced the father figure of D'Amato or had the raw savagery of his boxing overtaken his persona. Undoubtedly, he was led astray by the people he surrounded himself with , like King ("I found out that someone I believed was my surrogate father, my brother, my blood figure turns out to be the true Uncle Tom, the true nigger, the true sellout. He did more bad to black fighters than any white promoter ever in the history of boxing"). Whatever your opinion, it's hard not to resist looking at the eye of the human storm, a glimpse of the god-given destructive powers of man.

Final Countdown (Cheesy song - excellent vid)

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