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BLOOD, NEON, AND FAILURE IN THE DESERT
(Village Voice, March 24, 1987)
By Joyce Carol Oates
Las Vegas, Nevada. 7 March 1987
As for Tyson: unlike Dempsey, Marciano, and Frazier, those famously aggressive fighters to whom he is often compared, Tyson is not a reckless boxer; he is not willing, as so many boxer-fighters are, to take four or five punches in order to throw a punch of his own. His training is defensive and cautious --hence the peek-a-boo stance, a Cus D'Amato signature: for is not boxing primarily the art of self-defense? of hitting your man, and scoring points, without being hit in return? For two years, which must have been very long years, D'Amato trained Tyson to bob, weave, slip punches from sparring partners without throwing a single punch in response -- a conditioning that has made Tyson an anomaly in the ring. His reputation is for power, speed, and aggression, but his defensive skills are as remarkable, if less dramatic.
NOTE: I am mirroring my old archives. Posted 8/12/2014 and backdated to 4/25/2001.