Via Ken Hissner: There have been many articles written about “Iron” Mike Tyson in the past and even present. This writer wants to tell about my own experiences with Tyson.
This writer first met Tyson at the age of fifteen in June 1982 at the home of Camile Ewald and Tyson’s trainer Cus D’Amato in the Catskills. I met Tyson’s first manager, Jim Jacobs, last year in New York at his office.
I have named future 1984 Olympic gold medalist Tyrell Biggs to him in terms of managing him at the request of Biggs’ father. Jacobs told me about this fifteen-year-old amateur with whom he and D’Amato were related by the name of Mike Tyson. Little did we know that in October 1987, Biggs and Tyson would meet later, scoring in the seventh inning.
At the Catskills, sitting at the dinner table were D’Amato, Ewald, Tyson, Kevin Rooney, and Teddy Atlas, among others. Tyson would show me “The Greatest Movies of the Century” owned by Jacobs in his bedroom.
One is by world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey. Tyson loved the way he fought and didn’t wear socks or capes when he entered the ring, which would later become Tyson’s trademark.
D’Amato will give it to me at a later time when playing against Rooney in a rematch in Scranton, Pennsylvania, against Terry Crawley, to whom Rooney had previously lost.
He wanted to see how Rooney had improved after their November 1982 game. Rooney would win a decisive draw with Crawley in April 1984 in a Bob Connelly ad in Scranton that I was helping.
D’Amato would ask me to call someone to fight Tyson if I could. I was able to send future world title challenger Jimmy Young of Philadelphia to camp with this sixteen-year-old Tyson for $500 a week. I saw Young get his best fight with ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier in the gym and realized that would be a good motivator for Tyson. I would soon get a call from Young asking, “What the hell are you doing to me? This kid is killing me! “Young passed away the next day.
Tyson’s amateur career suffered consecutive Olympic Trials defeats to Henry Tillman in the summer of 1984. Tillman went on to win a Gold Medal at the LA Olympics. In June 1990, they met again, when Tyson scored in the first knockout round. This was his first match after losing the title to James “Buster” Douglas.
In January 1986, this writer got a call from Tyson followed by 15-0 regarding his duel with David Jaco, 19-5. I was and still am a scribe. I recognized his voice immediately. He asked, “how do you know it’s me?” I told him, “lucky prediction!” I kept telling him he was a big white guy (6:06), don’t worry about it. “Tyson knocked him out in the first round.
In 1988, while Tyson was in Atlantic City against then-world champion Michael Spinks, Rooney took me into Tyson’s locker room. When he saw me, he hugged me tightly and lifted me off the ground. I thought, “I’m so glad he likes me!”
The last time I saw Tyson was at a casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, when he was working with the promotional team for the event, and I gave him a photo of me with Rooney and D’Amato.
Later in the bout, Tyson stood with former heavyweight champion Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes, with whom I clashed, asking him if he would bring his brother Mark to an exhibit about an boxing events at Easton I High School no. are advertising.
He told me, “I don’t put my brother on some rinky-dink show!” Later that afternoon, as he watched him fight, he stopped and came up with ropes pointed at me and said, “I have to beat you up for going with his brother after talking to I.” Years later, I had the pleasure of doing an article “Tyson and Holmes would” after seeing them and writing, “the last time they fought, Holmes’ leg was in the air!”
As you can see, I’ve always been a fan of Tyson after meeting him. This is the youngest boxer to win the heavyweight belt at the age of 20 years, four months and 23 days, breaking the record of another boxer that D’Amato trained with Floyd Patterson.
Tyson soon had good guys like Ewald, D’Amato, Jacobs, Atlas and Rooney. Then, of course, the Don King promoter comes along and finally Rooney and the rest is history.