Looking Back I Found the Future!

By Jason Sardelis: Watching some old fight films of Jose Torres and Floyd Patterson I couldn’t help but see Mike Tyson. The high hands, upper body movement, the tight defense and power counter punching were mirrored by all the three. By no coincidence all three were trained by “Cus” D’Amato.

Let’s take a peek at Constantine "Cus" D'Amato the legendary boxing manager and trainer. D’Amato not only influenced his fighters but took under his wing many now highly established trainers..

D’Amato guided trainers including Kevin Rooney, Joe Fariello and Teddy Atlas who have all grown into legendary trainers in their own right. D’Amato is mostly known for his training and guiding the careers of World Champions Floyd Patterson, Jose Torres, and Mike Tyson. D’Amato affectionately known as “Cus” was known to collect a huge library of fight films used them as a tool. He studied them with all his fighters and trainers. D’Amato is credited for creating the “Peek-a-Boo” style used by Patterson, Torres and Tyson.

The “Peek a Boo” features relaxed hands and forearms high in front of the face at eye level, combined with side to side head movement, upper body bobbing and weaving for extra defense.

D’Amato combined high hands, quick head and upper body movement defense with power counter punching combinations usually uppercuts and hooks practiced over and over to be thrown with “bad intentions.” Some of today’s great champions such as Ronald “Winky” Wright and Miguel Cotto have have included the “Peek-a-Boo” in their arsenal.

D’Amato’s training protégé’s all moved on to make their own mark on the fight game.
Joe Fariello worked with D’Amato for eight years, notably with Jose Torres. Joe went on to train Buster Mathis Sr; Mitch “Blood” Green, Junior Jones, Tom “Boom Boom” Johnson and Mark Breland. The New York Golden Gloves now awards a Joey Fariello scholarship.

Kevin Rooney worked with “Cus” training Mike Tyson until he was fired by Tyson after his fight with Michael Spinks in 1988. Rooney went on to train many top fighters including champion Vinny Pazienza.

Teddy Atlas trained as an amateur boxer under D'Amato but was forced to retire after a serious back injury. Atlas continued under the tutelage of D’Amato working with his mentor training “Iron” Mike. The two went separate ways after an incident leading to a difference in opinion on handling young Tyson. Many believe that was “the beginning of the end” for Tyson. We took a “Peek” let’s call that the “BOO.” Teddy has trained many top fighters and was even used by New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini as a motivational speaker and trainer. Teddy is also renowned as one of boxings premiere analysts working for ESPN.

“Cus” has influenced several boxing generations and I see it in our future. Look at some of boxings top prospects like New York’s Curtis “Showtime” Stevens and “Mean” Joe Green, also checkout Joshua Clottey and Arthur Abraham. If you watch any fight card you will certainly see some kind of “Peek-a-Boo.”

Article posted on 03.07.2008

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