"Everybody in boxing probably makes out well except for the fighter." (Mike Tyson)
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' American Legends series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of America's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
"Iron" Mike Tyson was one of the most feared opponents to ever step into a boxing ring. With unbelievable power that floored or stopped all but two of his first 28 professional opponents, Tyson began an unprecedented ascent to the top of the boxing world, becoming the youngest champion in history with a second-round TKO over Trevor Berbick, the last man to box and defeat Muhammad Ali. That victory, in November 1986, prompted one British sports reporter to write, "The noble and manly art of boxing can at least cease worrying about its immediate future, now it has discovered a heavyweight champion fit to stand alongside Dempsey, Tunney, Louis, Marciano, and Ali."
Tyson became one of the biggest names in sports during the 1980s and could literally do no wrong in the ring, compiling a 37-0 record with 33 KO/TKOs. On top of that, he was the face of the iconic Nintendo game Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, a favorite among every video gamer in Generations X and Y. It was a stunning rise for a kid who grew up poor with no father in rough neighborhoods of New York City. Taunted for his now instantly recognizable high voice and lisp, Tyson was quick to fight and a petty criminal who became orphaned upon his mother's death when he was 16.
What did you love best about American Legends: The Life of Mike Tyson?
I'm not a news watcher, so I miss a lot of these highlights. Who knew, bit someones ear off, twice, his mother was a prostitute. Got charged with rape, and lost millions of dollars. This story doesn't have a boring moment. This book is a great length, gives us all the highlights, lots to talk about with our friends and family. It doesn't drag on too long, with unnecessary details, just gives us the highlights.
What was one of the most memorable moments of American Legends: The Life of Mike Tyson?
The ear biting fight, mixed emotions, the guy deserved it in a way, he kept illegally head butting him. Why weren't the judges doing something about it! But then on the other hand, really, are we animals, or humans?
What about Don Hoeksema’s performance did you like?
He has the voice of a sports broadcaster, that makes you feel like you are at the fights. His voice is deep and dramatic, a rare talent. It really picks up, about a third of the way in.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Absolutely, you can listen to it on a car ride. Or enjoy it on a lazy afternoon, in bed or in a hammock.
Any additional comments?
This biography is absolutely fantastic, Mikes life is the ultimate stretch of the highest highs and lowest lows, it is very hard not to be interested whether you like boxing or not.
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