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Sports Articles: Boxing Legends Part 1 - Mike Tyson page 1

Boxing Legends Part 1 - Mike Tyson
Image from: thefightcity.com

Article page 1 of 13

Michael Gerard Tyson

Kid Dynamite, Iron Mike, Baddest Man On The Planet


When you think of Mike Tyson now, you tend to picture the snarling brute in black shorts and boots with no socks destroying the best boxers of the time. It is hard to reconcile that picture with the idea of him at 7 years old as a little, chubby kid with glasses, a lisp and an effeminate voice being bullied by others, but that is what the 'baddest man on the planet' once was.

Born on the 30th June 1966, his birth certificate lists Purcell Tyson as his father, though his father was in fact a street hustler called Jimmy Kirkpatrick, who abandoned the family around the time Mike was born. This left his mother, Lorna Mae (Smith) Tyson to bring up Mike and his older brother and sister up on her own. Unfortunately for the children, she was a promiscous alcoholic who was prone to violent outbursts, such as scalding one boyfriend by throwing boiling water at him.

Added to that, she moved the family to Brownsville, a notoriously high crime neighbourhood, after Kirkpatrick left her, where Mike suffered endless bullying as a youngster. In the 1st grade (for those, like myself, who are not sure what that means, it is between 6 and 7 years of age) an older boy tried to rob Mike but he had no money to give him so the older boy beat him up and stole his glasses. The boy then dropped those glasses into the fuel tank of a nearby car. Tyson later said of the incident: "I still feel like a coward to this day because of that bullying. That's a wild feeling, being that helpless. You never ever forget that feeling."

Mike fell in with a gang called 'The Jolly Stompers' and, at the age of 11, as well as trying cocaine, Mike was heavily involved in a life of crime, such as emptying tills while older members of the gang held the victims at gunpoint. He had already begun his life long fascination with pigeons, buying his first flock with the proceeds of a burglary and hiding them away. It was that flock that led to his first ever fight after a group of other boys stole them and Mike, along with his friends confronted them.

One of the boys, an older boy named Gary Flowers, took one of his pigeons and ripped its head off, throwing the remains at Mike. Urged on by his friends, Tyson attacked Gary Flowers and threw some wild punches, one connected and knocked Flowers down. Mike Tyson's reputation started at that point, as boys from other neighbourhoods would come to find him and challenge him to a fight. Tyson was constantly in trouble for petty crimes and for fighting those who taunted him for his voice and lisp.

Mike would also look for revenge over those who had picked on him: "That guy who took my glasses and threw them away? I beat him in the streets like a fucking dog for humiliating me. He may have forgotten about it, but I never did." His constant troubles led to him eventually being sent to Tryon School for Boys, a reform school, after being arrested for purse snatching in Brooklyn in 1978. By the time he was 13, he had been arrested a total of 38 times!

At Tryon, Tyson noticed some of the other lads coming to bed all beaten up and initially thought they had been punished. When he found out they had been sparring with one of the counsellors at the school, Bobby Stewart, a former boxer, who was teaching them to box, Tyson immediately began to see a use for boxing in his life. Mike was not thinking about being a world champion, he was purely thinking about how he could use it in street fights to make himself unbeatable and so he set about trying to convince Stewart to teach him how to box.

The two came to an agreement, Tyson would stay out of trouble and work hard in school and Stewart would teach him to box. Tyson was classified as learning disabled but, just a few short months later, he had raised his reading level up to 7th grade. Mike also impressed Stewart, he showed real promise and worked hard, slipping out of bed after curfew to practice his boxing and showing real desire to learn. So impressive was he that Stewart decided to introduce him to legendary boxing manager Cus D'Amato, who was known for taking a personal interest in turning troubled kids into boxers.

Boxing Legends Part 1 - Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson page 2 of 13

Written by Ed001 - June 04 2018 10:30:52