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Cus D'Amato guided Floyd Patterson to the top and 30 years later met a troubled Brooklyn teenager who had drifted into a life of petty crime and thuggery. This teenager was Mike Tyson. Tyson was sent to a reform school, which looked to set him up for a life in and out of incarceration, with every possibility that his felonies would become more and more serious as he reached adulthood. D'Amato sought to rescue him from that. Not only did he see potential in Tyson, who had a large physic for his years, but he saw a person in need of a mentor, a confidant, a friend and a father figure. He took Tyson into his home which gave him stabillity for the first time in his life and also installed some familly values and morals which kept on the strieght and narrow. For a long time it worked perfectly.
With D'Amato as a boxing tutor and father figure Tyson flourished in and out of the ring. In 1985 tyson turned professional and made stunning progress, before 1986 was out he'd already fought and won no less than 27 times. Alot of these opponants were journeyman and there caliber could easily be questioned, what is noteworthy, though, is that these fights lasted a total of just 74 rounds in total.
1986 saw Tyson pick up the WBC title in just two rounds against Trevor Berbick, Tyson was only 20 years old. Unfortunately Cus D'Amato didn't live to see his protege make it to the top. Tyson no longer had his father figure and with an angry youth inside him started to go off the rails again. Four months later Tyson won the WBA title from James "bonecrusher" Smith, and then in 87 won the IBF title from Tony Tucker, Ttyson winning on a large points margin.
By 1989 Tyson had demolished Tyrell Briggs, Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs (his 34 victim, tyson had spen just 118 rounds in the ring in his professional career) Micheal Spinks (which he did in just 91 seconds) and then Frank Bruno. It was at this point that Tyson had gone completely off the rails, crashing cars boozing and brawling. The only thing he could count on was his boxing, although cracks were starting to show. He seemed to have abandoned all the skills he'd learnt from D'Amato in favour of whirlwind assaults in an attempt to get the job done. This was still a very effective technique and everyone believed that James Buster Douglas would be Tyson's 38th victim how wrong they were.
I believe that if Cus D'Amato had lived longer or was still alive today Tyson wouldn't have turned out the way he has. After D'amato's death Mike must have felt like he's lost a father, which is bad enough, and reason enough to see why Mike lost his focus. He'd also lost his trainer though, and although Mike regained the crown in 1996, the man that could have made him a champion again in this modern era of boxing has gone.
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