‘Iron’ Mike Tyson was one of the most electric fighters of all time.
Aged just 20, he bulldozed bewildered opposition on his way to becoming the youngest world heavyweight champion in history.
In his prime, he boasted an intensely aggressive style and incredibly heavy hands. Arguably, his iconic use of the peek-a-boo technique was equally as eye-catching.
His mastery of his craft was in large part down to the training given to him by mentor Constantine 'Cus' D'Amato. A troubled 13-year -old Tyson had just been released from a juvenile detention centre when D'Amato rescued him from his difficult upbringing.
With no steady father figure in Tyson’s life, D'Amato stepped in to fill the void.
The legendary trainer became a stabilising force in his life. He focussed Tyson on the art of boxing and shaped a fearsome warrior from a youth with obvious raw talent and elite athletic genetic abilities.
Writing in his autobiography, Tyson revealed:
“I was introduced to Cus and in a second I could see that he was totally in control of everything there. He just sucked up all the air in the room. He shook my hand and there wasn’t a trace of a smile on his face. He showed no emotions.”
“I developed [my knockout ability] through Cus D’Amato telling me repetitiously over and over again to do this movement and to punch with this type of bad intentions.
"And just to have ferociousness and mean intentions whenever you throw punches and stuff. And try and punch through your opponent, not at him. It was some nasty stuff that I would never tell my kids to do.”
Seeing glimpses of the working relationship between D’Amato and Tyson are as fascinating as they are rare. Recently, a video showing a young Tyson being schooled by D'Amato in his classic peek-a-boo technique, has been doing the rounds on social media.
Sadly, the great D’Amato passed away in 1985, so he wasn’t there to witness Tyson claim his first world heavyweight belt.
‘Iron’ Mike would loom large over the heavyweight division for several years, claiming further title successes and putting in frighteningly dominant performances.
However, the loss of D’Amato left a huge vacuum in Tyson’s life. The adherence to the techniques, focus, and discipline instilled by D’Amato waned as years went by, and problems outside the ring damaged his career and reputation.
In 1992, he was convicted of rape and sentenced to six years in jail. Tyson shockingly bit part of Evander Holyfield’s ear off during one of Tyson’s two losses to the powerhouse.
Watching the speed, precision, and ferocity of Tyson in this clip is a sight to behold and leaves us with a feeling of nostalgia. Tyson owed a lot to his mentor, and it leaves us to wonder how Tyson’s career and life in general would have panned out if D’Amato have lived for its entirety.