Cus D’Amato is the Force Behind the Champ – Once Again

Boston, MA (May 2014) – Legendary boxing trainer Cus D’Amato was the strategic force behind legendary heavyweights Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson, Jose Torres, and Muhammad Ali (in an advisory role). The biographical novel based on his life, Confusing the Enemy: The Cus D’Amato Story (Acanthus Publishing, 2013) has swept through the ranks and taken the 2014 Eric Hoffer Book Award. Co-authors Dr. Scott Weiss and Paige Stover, are honored with this prestigious literary achievement having already received glowing reviews from readers and the media alike. A reader on Facebook has posted, “It is impossible to have a full understanding of boxing history without this book.” The Boxing Magazine has declared it “an instant classic for the boxing bookshelf.”

Confusing the Enemy was praised by the Eric Hoffer Book Award judges on US Review of Books as a “minor miracle” for its ability to candidly present the famously private and paranoid Cus. They were impressed by the authors’ ability to transform, “potentially dry research into a juicy, sizzling story, propelled by direct dialogue and intimate insights into boxing greats, from Floyd Patterson to Jose Torres to Muhammad Ali, culminating with the Mike Tyson phenomenon.”

Weiss and Stover expressed their excitement for the award and are thrilled for the recognition for the years of work they have put into the telling of this story. “We are truly honored to receive the Eric Hoffer Book Award,” says Paige Stover. “Our goal was to tell the truth as best as we could distill it. As a writer, you don’t often get to tell a true story that is better than anything you could ever makeup. Cus was an extraordinarily complex individual who led an exceptionally secretive life. It was a privilege to write Cus’s story and a joy to craft it in a way that gives boxing fans a true feeling for what it was like to be a member of the Gotham fight mob during the years when heavyweight boxing was the economic engine behind the Five Families of New York. We pulled no punches in writing this book nor did we avoid the scandals, rumors, and conflicting reports that shroud Cus’s life story.”

Elaborating on that sentiment, Dr. Weiss states, “From Cus’s highly publicized relationship with Mike Tyson, to his efforts to pull together the match between Ali and Frazier, to his advisory relationships with Buster Mathis, Wilfred Benitez, Gerry Cooney, the Hilton Brothers, and Wilt Chamberlain; this book offers an unprecedented look into the details of his life, many of which are not commonly known. Cus was arrested, had his license suspended, was chased by tax authorities, and was adjudicated bankrupt. His life was threatened on more than one occasion by the likes of Rocky Graziano, Sonny Liston, and an assortment of unnamed predators whom we will never know if they were real or imaginary. We always knew that this book was a wild ride that would transcend the world of boxing, and this award has validated the merits of Cus’s story as a piece of the fabric of American culture.”

As manager of multiple world champion boxers, behind-the-scenes advisor to Muhammad Ali, and creator of the “peek-a-boo” style of boxing, Cus was loved and respected by many people. To this day, boxing fans across the globe believe that he was one of the greatest manager-trainers who ever lived. Just as many think he so carefully matched his fighters that they ascended to the title more on strategic selection of opponents than on ring prowess. He is often characterized as a knight in shining armor on a quest to clean up the sport of prizefighting. Others suggest he was the biggest gangster of them all. As with most geniuses in any discipline, the truth lies somewhere in between.

Confusing the Enemy: The Cus D’Amato Story captures a place and a moment in time that many regard as the golden age of the heavyweight title viewed through the lens of one its key players. The fictional aspects of the story pertain to how it is told. The plot and the story line come straight from the newspapers. As Bruce Kielty has written for Boxing World, “The reader truly feels like he is a fly on the wall of the gymnasiums, bars, arenas and backrooms while history is unfolding. … I would love to see Confusing the Enemy transfer to the silver screen.”

Confusing the Enemy is also a Finalist for Foreword Review’s 2014 Book of the Year-Sports. For review copies, please contact Luke Messecar at For more information, visit Both authors are available for interview by appointment.