Endless obsession with Mike Tyson

That Mike Tyson’s new project hit stores this summer shouldn’t surprise us.

The latest, simply titled “Mike Tyson,” comes out Sept. 6 and is a collection of photographs by Lori Grinker, who followed the fighter for more than a decade starting in the 1980s.

Next week, Hulu is set to launch its biographical series titled “Mike,” a dramatization of the former heavyweight champion’s life in the spotlight. Tyson criticized Hulu for producing the series without his consent, but Grinker’s book comes from an insider’s lens.

The collection includes images of some of Tyson’s most famous moments, including when promoter Don King lifted him up in celebration after he won his first title fight in 1986 and when he ran down the Atlantic City boardwalk in 1988.

Tyson-related content, including books, podcasts, projects for television and exhibition fights, continues 16 years after his last official meeting. If Tyson doesn’t match Muhammad Ali’s achievements in the ring, he will surely compete with the boxer known as the greatest, with the power that commands our attention, even in retirement.

Feature films have appeared periodically since 1995, when Michael Jai White played the fighter in a TV movie, and documentaries began even before that. “Fallen Champion: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson” first hit television screens in 1993 and explored Tyson’s career from his origins at a reform school in New York to his 1992 rape conviction. adult animated series and his one-man show on Broadway, in which he took his life story on a redemption arc and denied the rape for which he served more than three years in prison.

With his photos, Grinker concentrates on Tyson from amateur to world champion. A quote in the book from trainer Cus D’Amato helps explain the mix of ability and wit that made Tyson such a phenomenon as a teenager.

“Mike’s hitting is like an atomic bomb because it’s relative to nature,” said the trainer, who died in 1985 at the age of 77. “Both are of no value unless you have a way to deliver it to the target. Mike has a way of moving it to the target. He’s smart in boxing.”

One series of pictures, dated 1981, shows D’Amato, Tyson’s first trainer, sitting on a bench in a gym in Catskill, New York, teaching Tyson, who is 14 or 15 years old. In one shot, D’Amato raises his fists. Defensive stance, knuckles of left hand resting an inch from his white eyebrows.

It’s the peek-a-boo, a method of turning defense into offense, that D’Amato has impressed on all of his fighters like a fingerprint. This was an underrated element of Tyson’s early success. The tall guard, head movement, footwork and angles all worked together to help shorter fighters get into striking range without getting hurt. Stylistically, Ali was the opposite of floating like a butterfly and flying like a bee, but strategically the goal was the same – hit and not hit.

Seven years after this picture was taken, Tyson defeated Michael Speaks in 91 seconds to become the undisputed heavyweight champion. Tyson’s offense was relentless that night, with a right hand to the body landing Spings first, and a second to the chin ending the fight seconds later.

The shots that Spikes missed have gotten less attention, but they also matter. Tyson caught Spinks’ right hand in time, ducked to avoid it, and then landed a counterpunch. It was not luck or coincidence. Offense followed defense. Spinks thought a few well-placed jabs and right hands could slow down Tyson’s progress, but another famous quote from Tyson, also included in the book, explains what happened.

“Everybody has a plan,” Tyson said, “until it gets punched in the mouth.”

The photos in Grinker’s book span the decade leading up to Tyson’s 1990 loss to Buster Douglas and his arrest on rape charges the following year. Tyson, then 25, was convicted in 1992 of raping an 18-year-old woman in a hotel room.

The serious offense (and loss in the ring) did little to diminish Tyson’s drawing power or place in the sport after his release from prison. He posted big numbers for his post-prison bouts against Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis.

Tyson once criticized a Canadian journalist, Nathan Downer, for mentioning a rape allegation in 2014, but he functions in the current sports and social media as a funny person who likes to smoke a little marijuana (a business in which he invested considerable money. ), provide hot shots and occasionally Get out in the gym to show young boxers how it’s done.

Tyson’s legal troubles and troubles in the ring, including biting Holyfield’s ear during a fight in 1997, have only fueled curiosity about him. The idea of ​​what might have been hangs over Grinker’s photo collection like a shadow.

Revisiting his rise to the top of the boxing world is made all the more intriguing by what happens next.

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