Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Tyson was Under-rated

Mike was underrated as a boxer, as if his technique was simplistic and sloppy.

https://youtu.be/I8Vk4CnupEY

Boxing is a guilty pleasure for me. My dad had been an amateur boxer. Watching boxing together was 'a thing' back when Muhammed Ali was called Cassius Clay. Boxing should probably be outlawed because it permanently injures almost all fighters, but as long as it is around I will probably peek in from time to time because ‘The Sweet Science’ is viscerally compelling to someone who has thrown and taken punches.

The perception of Mike Tyson having a simplistic and sloppy technique overlooks his genuine skill. Tyson was known for an aggressive style, power, and speed, but there was more subtlety and sophistication to his approach than he's often credited for.

Firstly, Tyson's peek-a-boo style, taught by Cus D'Amato, emphasized constant head movement and angling to make him a difficult target to hit, while simultaneously positioning him to launch powerful counterattacks. This style requires a high degree of skill, timing, and conditioning to execute effectively.

Secondly, Tyson's ability to close the distance with his opponents rapidly, utilizing his footwork and speed, allowed him to deliver devastating combinations. His skill in cutting off the ring and forcing opponents into corners or against the ropes where they couldn't escape his power shots demonstrates strategic intelligence and not just brute force.

Moreover, Tyson had a keen understanding of psychology in the ring, using intimidation and his reputation to gain a mental edge over opponents before the first bell even rang. This psychological aspect is often overlooked but is a critical component of boxing at the highest levels.

Overall, Tyson's technique was far from simplistic or sloppy. It was the product of rigorous training and innate talent, finely tuned to maximize his strengths and exploit his opponents' weaknesses. His style might have appeared straightforward to some because of its sheer effectiveness, but it was underpinned by complex strategy and technical skills.

Mike Tyson’s style in particular was devastatingly effective at a price to his opponents that I don’t think was worth paying. Below is an excerpt from a Milton Acorn poem that eloquently conveys the ultimate effect of a boxing career.

In stinking dancehalls, in

the forums of small towns,

punches are cheaper but

still pieces of death.

For the brain's the target

with its hungers

and code of honor. See

in those stinking little towns,

with long counts, swindling judges,

how fury ends with the last gong.

No matter who's the cheated one

they hug like girl and man.

It's craft and

the body rhythmic and terrible,

the game of struggle.

We need something of its nature

but not this :

for the brain's the target

and round by round it's whittled

till nothing's left of a man

but a jerky bum, humming

with a gentleness less than human.—Milton Acorn “The Fights”

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