Friday, April 17

Sometimes You Forget: Young Mike Tyson

Last night as Xtra Medium was playing Street Fighter II and NBA Hangtime on his new laptop I found myself switching between playoff hockey and TWWL's collection of Mike Tyson's knockouts. These were the young Tyson, before jail and insanity took over. It truly took us back to see the way Tyson dominated early in his career. He was solid force of nature and anything that got in his way he destroyed. Catfish was of course quick to point out that most of the guys he was fighting were not exactly top caliber pugilists. One of them, John Alderson who is featured in the clip below was a coal miner from West Virginia. XM and I theorized that big John used to get into fistacuffs at the local tavern after a long day in the dark mines and would win so people naturally told him, "Hey you should box professionally!".

Even taking into account some of the competition being sub-par, Tyson dominated in a way few, if ever, have seen. The young Mike was in control thanks to his training team, mainly his caretaker Cus D'Amato and Kevin Rooney. Watching Tyson in these young fights, he was using the 'peak-a-boo' style effectively and had you never seen what he turned into afterwards, you would have thought he was a mentally stable person. He was gracious in defeat and even offered help get them to their feet and good wishes to his opponents after defeat. There were signs of the troubles ahead though during the program. After one fight, one of the first people into the ring was Louis Farrakhan. The last shot in the clip below is one of Don King hoisting Tyson up after a win. D'Amato died in late 1985 and many saw that as the beginning of the problems for Tyson. Later he went on to fire Rooney and after that his fighting ability turned from sweet science to knockout-seeking brawler.

I was at this point that the bloodsuckers and remoras attached themselves to Tyson and led the chain of events that began with the Buster Douglas knockout and ended with how we know him today: broke and an easy target of mockery. From looking at Tyson's background it is not hard to beleive that he had mental problems from the beginning and when ex-wife Robine Givens shared her opinion that Mike was bi-polar. If he had had the proper guidance of people like D'Amato and Rooney, perhaps things would have turned out different, but if you look at the way he dominated in these early matches, it was only a matter of time before he was given ungodly amounts of money and made to feel impermeable. Perhaps it was inevitable that Mike would fade into "bolivion". At least we can reminisce below about his young years when he was Kid Dynamite' and how we all enojoyed playing Punch-Out.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

ESPN or someone sells a DVD of all of Mike Tyson's great knockouts. A must have for any serious boxing fan.