The B.L. Morgan Boxing Blog: The Building of the Beast, An overview of Mike Tyson: The Release of Power By Reg Gutteridge and Norman Giller

Mike Tyson was one of those rare individuals born with an innate ability to hurt people. In the book Mike Tyson: The Release of Power by Reg Gutteridge and Norman Giller Tysonís life and Boxing Career is covered from birth through his fight with Buster Mathis Jr. in 1995.

The material in this book predates Tysonís meltdown against Holyfield where he ripped a chunk of Evanderís ear off with his teeth. There is a fight-by-fight write up of every single bout in Mike Tysonís professional career as well as a time line chronology of all the major events of Tysonís life up to that point. Extras included in Mike Tyson: The Release of Power is History of The Heavyweights, short biographies of every single Heavyweight Champion since John L. Sullivan and Computer Ratings of those champions.

One of the things that impressed me was how the authors conveyed a sense of the inevitability of further calamities in Mike Tysonís future career and personal life. Even on the back cover blurb there is the statement, ďAuthors Reg Gutteridge and Norman Giller give an intimate look into what makes Tyson tick Ö and it is often like the ticking of a time bomb.Ē

Guys like Mike Tyson are time bombs.

We all watched in awe as he tore apart opponents in the ring with the sort of single-minded, maniacal fury we thought was only possessed by Pit Bull Dogs. We laughed when Tyson stated after the Tyrell Biggs fight that his opponent made ďWoman gestures,Ē when he was beating Tyrellís ribs in.

Then, we of course wanted him to turn it off when he was out of the spotlight. But thatís not really the way it works when someone has their entire identity and self-worth wrapped up in the concept of being the worldís most ruthless brutal warrior.

By the age of twelve Mike Tyson had been arrested more than 30 times. He was finally sent to a hard correctional center for delinquents named Tryon School. The place was a prison for kids that could not be controlled any other way other than locking them up.

It was there where Tyson found Boxing and Cus DíAmato found him.

The part of Tysonís life that has been widely chronicled is the mentoring of a violent, troubled child into a disciplined young athlete. The parts that werenít widely reported are the obvious gaps in Tysonís training that could have helped him become a well balanced young man.

While Tyson was taught the intricacies of combat inside the squared circle he was never prepared for life outside the cocoon that living with Cus DíAmato had been. Outside of the ring DíAmato frequently turned a blind eye to the tendency that Tyson had for brutality and bullying people.

According to Teddy Atlas, a trainer for DíAmato at that time, Tyson had an ability to manipulate people to get what he wanted. DíAmato was letting him do things he wouldnít let other fighters get away with. That came to a boiling point when Tyson made an improper suggestion to a local 12 year old girl he allegedly had abused.

Legend has it that Atlas put a gun to Tysonís head to get his attention that he couldnít act that way and get away with it.

Teddy Atlas was fired.

Tyson was given the message: Yes he could do those things and yes he could get away with it. DíAmato was a great trainer and a great teacher. In this instance he failed his most important student terribly.

Is it any wonder that Mike Tyson never really trusted anyone? The one person who he felt he could trust Cus DíAmato did have the ulterior motive of wanting to build another World Champion before he died.

Make no mistake about it, creating a World Champion was the sole reason DíAmato took Tyson in when he was only a very disruptive, dangerous teenager. If Tyson had not had that innate Boxing Talent, he never would have been allowed in DíAmatoís house, much less been taken in by his family.

However you look at it, it appears as though Mike Tyson didnít really have anyone to turn to that he could trust. It looks like he never had anyone who liked him just for the sole reason of him being a good guy to be around.

Is it any wonder that the disintegration started when DíAmato passed away and no longer had control of him?

Another stark indication of Tysonís lack of self control is when in 1984 after losing in the amateurs he was witnessed crying and punching a tree. Someone like that severely needs psychiatric counseling on how to control his rage, not further instruction on how to hook off the jab.

Of course we all heard about the disastrous side-show of a marriage to Robin Givens, the rape conviction and insane behavior even after the time served in prison. All of that has been chronicled over and over again.

I am going to close out this overview of Mike Tyson: The Release of Power with the stated hope that after years away from the intense glare of the spotlight Mike Tyson has found a way to tame some of his inner demons and established some peace in his life. If he has learned to come to grips with the violence of his past, in and out of the ring, and learned to control the dark urges all of us have then he has a chance at some lasting happiness.

In the end thatís all anyone can ever really hope for.

In his youth Mike Tyson was taught that violence was his path to fame and fortune. He was not taught to turn it off.

In his later years he must find that key.

I hope for his sake and the people around him, he has.


B.L. Morgan is the author of Blood and Rain, Blood for the Masses, Blood on the Celluloid and Night Knuckles through Speaking Volumes

He is also the author of Blood and Bones and You Play, You Pay through Publishing.


Article posted on 10.01.2011

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