Mike Tyson had a twenty-year-long career in the sport. ‘The Baddest Man on the Earth’ offered some unforgettable moments in pro boxing. He was indomitable and highly feared. However, there was one person Tyson would not dare to go in the ring with.
He was none other than his mentor, Cus D’Amato. Tyson was petrified to be alone with D’Amato when the latter broke down Tyson’s performance in the ring. Decades after D’Amato passed away, Tyson in his book titled Ir on Ambition: My Life with Cus D’Amato (2017) said, “I was petrified when I was alone with him. If he called me – ‘Mike, I need to talk to you’ – I didn’t feel good going over to him. That’s when he’d start giving me his detailed criticisms of my fights.”
Although, for the ordinary eyes, Tyson would put on a spectacle in the ring, D’Amato would find his faults. No matter how quick or powerfully Tyson ended his fights, there would always be room for D’Amato to something say. In Mike’s own words, “People see the public celebrations of my sensational knockouts, but they don’t hear Cus talking to me alone after the fight. He’d make me feel like s***, play with my emotions. He would put things in your head all day.”
However, thanks to D’Amato’s critical take on Mike’s performance in the ring that he is what he is today for his fans. Do you think Mike would have been half the person he is today without Cus D’Amato’s influence in his life?