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Mike Tyson News: Men who fought Tyson serve up a knockout read

Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 @ 07:23:49 UTC by tysonian
In the nights leading up to Danny Williams' fight with Mike Tyson last month, the big man from Brixton had a recurring dream in which he entered the ring with the former world heavyweight champion and, on each occasion, the outcome was the same - he won.

The experts sneered, they had heard it all before, although Williams' case was more compelling than most. Tyson had been out of the ring for 17 months.

Through the late 1980s, a number of men had uttered Williams' pre-fight mantra about winning. We know what happened to them in the brief time they spent face to face with Iron Mike.

Little wonder then that this superb book is sub-titled 'The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Men Who Fought Mike Tyson'.

The Tyson story is a familiar one - arrested 38 times for purse-snatching before being moved to an offender's institute in upstate New York where he had the opportunity to work-out before a grizzled but impressed Cus D'Amato. But his opponents' tales are a road less well travelled, until now.

In tracing the men brave enough to enter the ring to fight Tyson and describing what has happened to them since, Dominic Calder-Smith has written the best sports book I've read this year.

The narrative displays a level of descriptive scene-setting rarely encountered in a sporting book: "Newspaper vendors huddled inside the entrance of High Street Brooklyn Bridge station, tabloids held down by pebbles and spread on the covered ground beside their feet as the spatter of rain persisted outside. Beyond the station, the Manhattan skyline struggled to make its presence visible through the thick shawl of mist which had settled upon the East River..."

As for characters, the book is brimful with them. From Mitch 'Blood' Green who, even at the age of 45, continued to seek a re-match with Tyson who once hit him so hard in a street brawl that he broke his hand. Green was a fighter in every sense, a man who literally tried to wring Don King's neck and who responded to the news that he had been ripped off (again) by throwing the entire contents of his manager's office out of a 10th-storey window.

Then there's Carl 'The Truth' Williams who once fought Larry Holmes for a purse of 1.3m and is now working as a security guard at Ground Zero in New York. 'The Truth' fought Tyson in 1989 and was knocked out in the first round. Carl believes "politics were to blame" - the young Tyson could not be prevented from staging more lucrative bouts, yet the reader has sympathy with Williams, Green and the others.

You do not have to enjoy boxing to appreciate this book because, ultimately, the reader becomes engrossed with the succession of human tales dealing with the one shot at big time glory.

Source: thisisleicestershire


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