Mike Tyson on Cus D'Amato

Discussion in 'Boxing Discussion' started by elwani, Aug 14, 2019 at 6:59 AM.

  1. elwani

    elwani Instigate, dominate, annihilate Yellow Card

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    Just finished reading Iron Ambition: My Life with Cus D'Amato by Mike Tyson. It's a great description of the psychology of a fighter as taught by the great trainer Cus D'Amato. I thought I would pick out some passages from it, loosely organized into the following sections:
    • Dealing with insecurity
    • Building confidence
    • Purpose and motivation
    • Dealing with fear
    • Being disciplined
    • Having character
    • Fighting mentality
    • Never quitting
    Dealing with Insecurity

    “Later Stewart told me that he’d been working there for ten years and he had never seen anybody as insecure as me when I came in. He said that he could see me stealing a pocketbook if no one was looking but he couldn’t see me confronting someone. I couldn't even look him in the eye when he barged into my room.” (Ch. 1)

    “Floyd (Floyd Patterson, the first heavyweight champ that Cus trained) had incredibly low self-esteem. He had been bullied as a kid at school and he would cut classes, walk to the end of the High Street subway station, and climb down into the tunnel. Then he’d squeeze himself into a maintenance shed where the workers kept their tools and curl into a fetal position and go to sleep. ” (Ch. 6)

    “I think Cus immediately realized that I suffered from low self-esteem and had been scarred by years of being bullied and abused, so from the very first time that I started coming up to Catskill he began to work on building up my ego.” (Ch. 2)

    Building Confidence

    “You’ve got to believe in yourself,” he’d tell me in the gym. “Tell yourself that every day. Look in the mirror and see how handsome you are. Look at your powerful hands.” ... I didn’t think I was good-looking, I felt ugly from being abused all my life. I felt so ugly I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. But there he was, every day, “Listen, you’re a good-looking guy.” And when I’d protest and say, “Get out of here!” he’d come back, “No, you go look in the mirror and tell yourself how good-looking you are. Go shadowbox and say, ‘Look how beautiful I look!’ You’re looking more handsome every day—you might just turn into an actor!” (Ch. 2)

    “Cus promised me that nobody would ever bully me again. He’d tell me about old fighters who had been beaten up in life and were able to overcome their feelings. As I got older, I realized what Cus’s psychology boiled down to. He gave weak people strength. You give a weak man some strength and it becomes an addiction. Cus didn’t want boys who were well-adjusted—he wanted to work with the kids who were flawed. He wanted the dregs of society who came from the worst neighborhoods. ... Cus told me he thought the best fighters were the guys who had endured the most. ” (Ch. 2)

    (Cus had Mike do the following daily.) “The way that you direct your imagination is by repeating a simple affirmation. “‘EVERY DAY, IN EVERY WAY, I AM GETTING BETTER AND BETTER.’ This formula must be repeated in a low voice (with eyes closed, body in a position that permits of relaxing the muscular system—say in bed or in an easy chair) and in a monotonous tone, as if one were reciting a litany. The words must be repeated twenty times, morning and night. You may use a string with twenty knots on it which serves as an aid in counting just as a rosary does. This material aid is important; it insures mechanical recitation, which is essential. While articulating these words which are registered by the unconscious, you must not think of anything in particular, neither of your illness nor of your troubles. You must be passive, with only the desire that all may be for the best; the formula in every way has a general effect. ... He (Cus) used to come into my room when I had just fallen asleep and repeat the affirmations to me.” (Ch. 3)​

    “All this was part of Cus’s attempts to build up my ego. I had so little self-esteem when I came to Catskill. I was never jealous or envious of anyone before I met Cus but he brought those feelings out of me. “You should have this.” “You could beat this guy, you’re better than him.” It wasn’t like, “You could be better if you work hard,” it was more like, “Why should he have that and you don’t?” And the way he said it was intimidating.” (Ch. 5)

    “When we got back to Catskill, Cus convinced the town to put a big banner up congratulating me on my victory. Plus he had a nice cake waiting for me at home. ” (Ch. 5)

    “I felt pretty stupid wearing that crown and the robe, but deep down inside I felt like a motherfucking mad master. I was thinking, “Whoa, I’m the king!” ” (Ch. 11)

    “You’re the greatest fighter the world has ever seen. I just need you to believe it,” he’d keep telling me. He thought so highly of me as a fighter, it was like he was worshipping me. And I understood that, and I started worshipping myself. ... That’s what it was all about, what Cus created for me, circling the world around myself. Love yourself, look in the mirror, shadowbox, and look at your work. It’s magnificent, what you’re doing, it’s never been done in the annals of fight history. He always dropped those charged words.” (Ch. 10)

    “Cus realized how fragile Floyd was, so he would talk to other people in Floyd’s presence so Floyd wouldn’t feel he was being singled out for criticism. When Cus realized that Floyd had a hygiene problem, he made sure Floyd was within earshot when he lectured Anthony Patti on the importance of taking regular showers. Cus was a master psychologist.” (Ch. 6)

    “He needed to build up Floyd’s confidence. Cus thought that Floyd hadn’t developed an ego yet, that he was influenced by those people around him, from his teachers at Wiltwyck to Cus himself. So Cus became conscious that he had to be a role model for Floyd. He didn’t smoke or drink in front of him. He began dressing up in a sharp coat topped with a homburg so he would look like a dignified guy, even if he wasn’t. One day Floyd was being interviewed and Cus was over to the side and the journalist said to Floyd, “You know, you dress very well for a boy your age.” Floyd said, “Oh, I watch my manager. I always watch my manager.” That just confirmed Cus’s behavior.” (Ch. 6)

    “I was crying like a baby after that decision but Cus started chasing the amateur officials. Kevin and a police officer who was escorting us around had to get in between Cus and them. That made me feel so good to see Cus taking up for me.” (Ch. 10)

    “While the crowd was booing, Cus went right after Surkein. He started throwing punches and Kevin had to step in and break it up. That’s why I would have killed for him. He always had my back.” (Ch. 10)

    “To me, he’s my boy, he’s with me.” I’m his boy. That made me feel good. ” (Ch. 10)

    "The only way that you can achieve success in life is if you have somebody you pay homage to and you look up to and you want to make happy. And that’s what Edmond Dantès did—he had admiration for this old guy who was teaching him all the arts. That’s what I always thought about when I was down or locked up. I thought about my mentor. " (Ch. 11)

    “Cus used to say, “You take a guy who has all the greatest qualities of success, beautiful body, beautiful looks, great sexual endowment, everything is perfect. But you take away his confidence and you put him out in life and he will fail. On the other hand, you take somebody who has nothing, absolutely nothing, and you give them confidence and you throw him in the world, he will succeed. Confidence breeds success and success breeds confidence. Confidence applied properly will supersede genius.” ” (Ch. 3)

    “You come to Cus weak and he makes you strong. When he makes you strong, you get addicted to that power and you don’t want to leave him because he’s the source of that strength. ” (Postscript)

    Purpose and Motivation

    “One day he looked at me and said, “Would you like to change your life?” I nodded yes. “From what I’ve seen and if you listen to me, with no distractions and not allowing people to mess your head up, you will be the youngest heavyweight champion of all time.” I was thirteen years old and he thought I was invincible! ” (Ch. 2)

    “‘No’ will be a foreign word to you.” Cus was totally consumed with what he was capable of doing. “Will you listen to me, boy? Do you hear what I’m saying to you? People of royal descent will know your name. The whole world will know who you are. Your family name will reign, people will respect your mother, respect your children. Do you understand what I’m saying to you? Are you going to do this?” Can you imagine a thirteen-year-old kid hearing that?” (Ch. 2)

    “Cus would say, “You want that leather jacket? You want those nice sneakers? Win the tournament. Remember, you have to look at your opponents like they’re food.” So if I won a local or regional tournament, he’d find rewards for me, even if they were things I didn’t even know if I wanted. “Don’t you think this is beautiful? I bet you’d like that.” Of course the ultimate prize he was dangling was the heavyweight championship. Being the heavyweight champion of the world was more important to Cus than being the president of the United States.” (Ch. 5)

    “We’d drive by the nicest mansion in Catskill, and Cus would point to it. “You see that house there, Mike? That probably cost around three hundred thousand dollars. Five, ten years from now, if you listen to me, buying that house will be just like buying that bag of potato chips for you.” We’d talk about having houses in all different parts of the world. If he saw somebody driving a BMW or a Mercedes, he’d say, “You could get that, that’s not the hardest thing in the world to do, getting wealthy. You’re so superior to these people. They can never do what you are capable of doing.” (Ch. 8)

    “He said, “If you listen to me, when your mother walks the street, people will carry her groceries.” (Ch. 8)

    “Cus would say, “Listen, there were fighters like Jim Jeffries, Sonny Liston, when they walk in the room, they don’t say a word, they just walk in the room and people die of a heart attack. If you start doing that, then you’re something.” (Ch. 10)

    (Cus) “Without desire, you’re nothing. People are under the impression you have to be intelligent, but the most important thing is the motivation, the drive. ” (Postscript)

    Dealing with Fear

    “He thought that to teach a fighter, you had to first solve his emotional problems and do it in a way that the pupil is no longer embarrassed about feeling things like fear. ... “When I have a new boy, the first thing I do is give him a lecture. And although I don’t expect him to remember, fully, the things I tell him, by repetition once I give him the complete lecture, I expect him, when circumstances present themselves related to the lecture, that they might possibly recall what I have said and therefore not be intimidated by the circumstances they come to face with,” Cus said. “Now, the lecture of fear goes something like this: All people are afraid. Being afraid is a very normal, healthy thing. If an individual was not afraid, I would have to send them to a psychiatrist to find out what was wrong. Nature gave us fear in order to survive. And of course fear is our best friend. Without fear we would all die, we’d do something foolish or stupid, which would cause our death, or being crippled. But also, fear is something which has to be controlled. I always compare it to fire. Fear, like fire, must be controlled and, once it gets out of control, like fire, could destroy everything around, not only the individual—everything around you. So once you control fear like fire, you could make it work for you. Without fire we wouldn’t have the civilization we now recognize, or recognize today. But the fighter who controls his fear can now function in a manner far over and beyond anything he was capable of before. No matter how ugly a person is, no matter whether he bathes or not, if he saves my life—if he’s always there when I’m in trouble—then I forget about how obnoxious he is. I look upon him as my friend and accept him as such. Well, that’s what fear is. Fear is your friend and nature gave us fear in order for us to survive. And I give the example of the deer crossing an open field and coming to the forest and instinct telling him danger is present in the trees, perhaps in the form of a mountain lion. At that moment the adrenal gland injects adrenaline into the bloodstream, the heart beats faster, enabling the deer to perform an extraordinary feat of agility. In the first leap, [the deer can] possibly jump thirty, forty feet, sufficient to get out of the immediate danger, and the natural asset of speed which nature gave it would save it. Now, we, as human beings, in my opinion, we tame these qualities, so they are somewhat dormant because we live in a civilized atmosphere, but nevertheless, faced with a situation that intuition tells us danger is present, these natural assets that nature gave us to survive come to the surface and if we don’t panic, if we maintain the discipline and the control over it, we can use them and they not only will help us survive the particular instance, but continued success will give us a comfort that is so strong and a foundation so powerful that in time we can get to overcome almost anything.” (Ch. 3)



    "...before they have a fight, I tell them what they’re going to experience. The night before his first fight, just say it’s an amateur fight, he won’t be able to sleep all night. I say, ‘When you wake up in the morning, you’re going to say, “How in the world am I going to fight? I didn’t sleep last night.”’ The only consolation I could offer him is that his opponent went through the same thing. So in effect, it’s an even fight. Secondly, when he gets in that corner and looks across the ring at his opponent, that fellow is going to be the biggest, most powerful person in the world. When he gets in the corner and loosens up, that fellow is going to look like the most experienced fighter, although it’s his first fight. This is the imagination at work, exaggerating the obstacles. But if he remembers the things I tell him, he knows that I told him this was going to happen and then he faces this with confidence. And when he knows this and understands this, and confronts the type of situation I explained long before he gets into the ring, his opponent now is less intimidating. Hopefully some of my words will reach him in that fearful state, just before the bell rings.” (Ch. 3)

    “Boyle did an article on Jimmy in 1966, and when Jacobs talks about the role of emotion in sports it’s as if he’s channeling Cus. His favorite superhero was Robin. “Being Robin the Boy Wonder was a tremendous help to me in sports. All of us are susceptible to our emotions when under stress, and when I was younger I would think: What would Robin do? Instead of succumbing to nervous apprehension, I would transform myself into this other character who was emotionally unaffected. . . . Contests are won or lost by mental effort. . . . When I go to play in a championship match I meet an old friend I call Mr. Emotion. He is very predictable. When I want to win very badly he comes right into my body. But so that he doesn’t interfere with what I’m trying to accomplish I have to take more time in the service box. I have to make more conscious efforts to give my arms clear instructions. The way I react to Mr. Emotion is not to get apprehensive. He is nothing but a feeling and he is there to let me know how important this match is to me. He acts as a reminder to me that the application of the physical talent that I have is under the complete dominance of what I call my control system, my brain, and that the orders that come out of this control system have to be very clear and explicit, just as if I were addressing some small child.” (Ch. 9)

    “But the best example of learning about fear was the Willie Ritchie story. That’s how I learned to have steel nerves. Ritchie was a Polish lightweight who had the championship in 1912. He fought a guy who was a little bigger and it was a tough fight but they called it a draw. The promoter smacked Willie on his back and said, “Hey, you got lucky tonight, kid. You’ve got to fight a rematch in two weeks.” Ritchie was petrified. He thought the guy had kicked his ass and he had gotten a gift. He was so scared that it took him an hour to tie his fucking shoes and put his shorts on and get in the gym and work out. At the weigh-in he was sweating. He couldn’t eat, he thought he was sick, he thought he was going to get killed. As he was about to weigh in his opponent’s manager came up and smacked him on the back and said, “Okay, we took it easy on you last time, tonight we’re knocking you out quick.” Ritchie was an emotional wreck, but he didn’t show his fear to anybody. He was about to call the fight off but somehow he summoned up his discipline and got up on the scale. Then he waited for the other guy. After a few hours it was clear that his opponent wasn’t showing. Ritchie got the whole purse. What Ritchie learned from that was no matter how frightened he was—and he was frightened like he was about to see Satan—his opponent was more afraid of him. When I read that story I knew I had that advantage, I knew how they felt and they didn’t know how I felt. Even though I was afraid when I was fighting, I thought, “They’re more afraid of me than I am of them.” (Ch. 3)

    “Any move I make, wild applause. I’m in total control and I see my opponent’s energy leaving him slowly. This is all a psych job—I’m scared to death also. But when I control my opponent, I can do my job.” (Ch. 11)

    “Before I left, Cus reminded me, “Just remember, the other guys are going through the same thing as you.” (Ch. 5)

    “What people don’t realize is that when controlled properly fear can take you to a level of euphoria where you believe you’re invincible. Very few people can get to that level. But when you do, a weird aberration of nature takes place and you’re sent to a level of invincible proportion.” (Ch. 5)

    “To stop that fear you gotta be protected—not part of the time, not most of the time, but all of the time. You can’t gamble by using the open stance. Because every time you gamble and lose you get hurt. And when a fighter gets hurt, he’s intimidated, he thinks he’s tired, pooped. He covers up. Now, in my style you cover up from the start. You never gamble.” (Ch. 4)

    “When I get to that point when the threats have built up, I must remember, I made my plan when I was cool, calm, and collected, when there were no threats. So therefore I must never change my plan unless some factor comes to my attention that I didn’t consider in making the plan.’ See, in that case, and only then, would I change it. Otherwise, I’d stick to it.” (Ch. 7)

    (Cus) “You must know your mind well enough to know that, given a set of circumstances that are threatening, your mind will find excuses to avoid and evade, not to accept a confrontation of any kind. See, but I always say it’s like crossing a suspension bridge going from one side to the other. Now when you cross to the other side, knowing what you have to cope with and knowing all that could be dangerous to you, you chop the bridge down so you can’t retreat. So when you take one step forward, two steps forward, make sure you chop that back one so you constantly have a chasm there where you can’t retreat. Then whatever you have to do, you can only think of one thing: accomplishment. Don’t be afraid to put yourself in that position. You’ll be amazed at the things you can do when you’re forced to. Nobody really knows his capabilities until he tries.” (Postiscript)

    Being Disciplined

    “I gave him my definition of a real pro: a man who can be completely impersonal, who doesn’t allow his emotions to get involved with anything he does, who’s able to be constantly objective.” (Ch. 3)

    “He (Cus) would always say that discipline was “doing what you hate to do but doing it like you loved it.” ” (Ch. 3)

    “I believe a person is a professional when they can make themselves do what needs to be done in order to accomplish the objective he sets out to deliver, in boxing or anything else.” (Ch. 3)

    “‘Teaching a youngster to fight,’ Mr. D’Amato explained, ‘does not mean raising fists in the schoolyard, on the street. It means,’ he said, ‘learning discipline,’ a favorite word of his. He pointed to a young man who was sparring in the ring. ‘He was a troubled boy when he came here. He’s learning to control his emotions. He’s learning discipline, which he didn’t have.” (Ch. 10)

    Having Character

    (The following is about Gramercy Gym, Cus's first gym.) “The gym was up three flights of rickety stairs. If you stood at the bottom of the stairs, you could see all the way up to the top. It was like you were climbing a stairway to heaven. Once you got up to the top, there was a big hole in the door, patched up with mesh wiring, and there was a huge watchdog that would smash up against the mesh, barking like crazy. Cus always said he could determine a lot about the character of a kid who made that trek up the stairs. He even called that walk “the trial.” If a kid came up alone and wasn’t deterred by the dog and pushed the door open and said he wanted to be a fighter, Cus knew he had something to work with. But if someone brought a kid there, it was a different story. “Now, if they were brought up by somebody, I knew I had my work cut out for me,” Cus said, “because that fellow didn’t have the discipline or a desire strong enough at the time to come up there by himself and open the door and say, ‘I want to be a fighter.’” (Ch. 3)

    “He repeated the story of how Mad Dog Coll put the gun to his face when he was a kid. “I was scared to cry, because I thought if he didn’t kill me, everybody else would think I was a coward, but if he killed me, everyone would talk about me forever, because I was a man and stood up to the gun.” (Ch. 5)

    “Cus told me that one time four wiseguys came up to the gym while about forty boys were training. Two guys stood by the door, another guy went over to the lockers, and the leader of the group went up to Cus and politely inquired if he could talk to him in private. Cus took him into his office. As soon as Cus walked in, the guy closed the door and stuck what appeared to be a gun under his coat into Cus’s stomach. He mentioned one of Cus’s fighters. “We’re in. I’m taking the fighter,” he told Cus. “I’m just telling you. Even if you go to the law, it won’t matter. We make our own laws.” As he was talking, Cus slowly turned around, inching his way toward the door. Then he threw the door open and stepped out into the gym, catching the wiseguy by surprise. Cus remembered his father’s reaction years earlier when some tough guys with knives threatened to take over his ice business. “You could cut me up in little pieces and I wouldn’t give in!”
    Cus stuck out his hand. “You can start here,” he said, hacking one hand at the fingers of the other, “and you can cut off my hand piece by piece but you’re out! Get the hell out of here!” (Ch. 5)

    “Paul Mangiamele said that Cus told him of an incident that happened in an alleyway near the gym. A guy came up to Cus and pulled out a gun and pointed it right between his eyes. “You gotta do it our way—” the guy started, but Cus cut him off. “Pauly, the barrel looked like a cannon,” Cus remembered. “I was scared to death but I looked that son of a bitch right in the eye and stared him down. ‘Are you going to use that thing or just talk to me? Because you don’t scare me.’ I was shaking in my boots but I stared him down and he walked away.” Cus was fearless. “Believe me, I would not want to die,” he told Sports Illustrated. “But I would not be afraid to die for a principle.” (Ch. 6)

    “Floyd (Patterson) was crazy about candy, but he refused his reward because his teacher told him that he could not share the candy and he had a previous agreement with another boy that they would share any prizes either boy won. His teacher kept pressing Floyd on why he wouldn’t accept the candy, and when she found out about the agreement she gave him the candy anyway. Floyd’s selfless act made a huge impression on Cus. “It told me that he had the character to stand up and do what he thought was right. Now this is a very important thing, because character is what makes a man predictable. It’s very easy to fold up like an accordion. But a man who has character will stick with it and go along to what he has to accomplish and this is what this boy had. This told me that I could trust this boy and not be afraid that he’ll go behind my back and allow someone with money or some other inducement to get him to turn against me so I’ll be left holding the bag.” (Ch. 6)

    “For Cus, boxing was a metaphor for living. You prepare a plan whether you’re in the ring, in a war, or going to work in a factory. When you strengthen your will and build up your character, you can persevere and face up to whatever challenge you face. ” (Postscript)

    Fighting Mentality

    “They think they’re better than you, Mike.” (Ch. 4)

    “If you could have heard Cus talking to me, it was scary what he wanted me to do to somebody else. It felt wrong, but it was legal. And it excited me. “You’ve got to tell them how you feel. Show them your pain. Show them your mother’s pain.” (Ch. 8)

    “In some way, when I got in that ring, I was getting retribution for all the people who fucked me up as a kid. Being bullied stays with you your entire life. No one was going to pick on me ever again. Whenever I got in the ring I pictured that the people I was fighting were the people who bullied me when I was younger. I was dead serious. I wasn’t doing this to motivate myself. I was a glutton for power and fame.” (Ch. 5)

    "Every fight I had, Cus would be talking about breaking ribs, exploding livers, pushing a guy’s nose into his brain. “Hit him behind his ear, explode his eardrum or give him a cauliflower ear that stops the fight automatically.” He wouldn’t be shouting it like “BREAK HIS RIBS!” He delivered the message coolly and calmly. He talked about hurting people with no feeling." (Ch. 8)

    “When I was a kid, Cus would say, “I want you to break this guy’s arm. Hit him in the lower ribs, there’s no protection there, hit him there, bring it up to his nose. Try to ram the bone through his nose into his brain.” And he’s saying all this so calmly. ” (Ch. 11)

    “Your jab is like a weapon. Like a battering ram. Your objective is to push his nose into the back of his head. You throw punches with bad intentions. You move your head after every punch. You are a scourge from God—the world will know your name from now to the eons of oblivion.” (Ch. 5)

    “Floyd said he fought with “detached viciousness,” which must have pleased Cus. ” (Ch. 9)

    “If I showed mercy to a guy in the ring, he’d be, “Where did you learn those feelings? Where’d you learn compassion? Who taught you that? I didn’t teach you that. Who have you been around in school? Some girls have been telling you things, whispering in your ear? Oh, you’ve got compassion now, huh? If that’s your mother, your brother, me, anybody, you do what I’ve taught you to do to people. There’s no feelings in here.” I never forgot that phrase. “There’s no feelings in here.” Cold, so cold.” (Ch. 8)

    “He’d say, “I may fear him, but I’m not afraid to kill him.” (Postscript)

    “Cus loved Henry Armstrong. “Constant attack, no letup, moving his head with a good defense. That’s what Armstrong would do, break his opponent’s will, destroy his spirit, make all his causes a fucking lie.” (Ch. 4)

    “Just seconds into the fight, we clinched and when the referee parted us, I knocked him cold with a right hand. His wife, carrying his newborn baby, and his two other little kids ran into the ring, crying. I told Cus that and he laughed. “What? The babies and the mother were crying? Boo-hoo-hoo.” He was so happy.” (Ch. 10)

    “Cus loved when I was arrogant, when I looked at these other fighters and snorted and looked like I was saying, “How dare you challenge me?” (Ch. 8)

    “I had said something complimentary about Holmes after he beat Cooney, and Cus was all over me for that. “You have to reign solely supreme. Anything you like, you have to despise.” (Ch. 10)

    “Ali is the greatest because he loves himself,” Cus said.” (Ch. 5)

    “Around that time, Cus and I were talking about Ali. Cus was saying that Ali had such character. He had the perfect fighting mentality, he truly loved himself, and he really believed everything he said. “I don’t understand,” I said. “I thought all that stuff was just a game.” “No, Mike, he believes every word he says. He believes he’s a god.” (Ch. 10)

    “And then before each fight, we’d both get serious and do that Roman shit. When we shook hands it was like a fucking lock. Boom. Ice-cold. Once we shook like that, I knew what it meant. No feeling, no love, no kidding, just that coldness that meant it was time to go into the ring and do something bad.” (Ch. 10)

    (Cus talking about his fight with mob controlled boxing) “As far as I am concerned, the fight is not over until I win. I may not win the battles, which I look upon as only temporary advantages to my opponent, but I’ll win the war! And the war will go on till I win out...” (Ch. 9)

    Never Quitting

    “You can’t quit, you’ve got to fight until you die.” (Ch. 2)

    “That was Cus’s whole thing—you can kill me but you ain’t gonna break me.” (Ch. 2)

    “To a guy like Cus you don’t wave your hand and quit a fight. You have to give every last ounce you have in you. If you quit, Cus won’t go in the ring and get you, he’ll leave you there like a fucking dog. ” (Ch. 5)

    “Cus wasn’t concerned with the loss. He sat me down and went to the Boxing Encyclopedia and he showed me that Henry Armstrong got knocked out in his second pro fight. Harry Greb got knocked out in his first pro fight. “You know what happened?” Cus said to me. “These guys got knocked out, but they didn’t quit. Nobody is ever going to be better than these fighters, so look what happened to them, they learned from experience.” (Ch. 8)

    “He used to tell me, "If you quit in the ring, you’re useless as a human being. You could run a fifty-billion-dollar company but if you quit on anything, there’s no reason for you to live. Why do you want to live? Facing the slightest struggle you know you’re going to give in.” (Ch. 10)

    “But being incarcerated for something I didn’t do could go two ways. It could have destroyed my will and drive. But thanks to Cus, it did the opposite. This was one of Cus’s true tests. And picking myself up from the ashes was what he always taught. Because you’ve been to prison, because you lost your fight, you lost your wife, does that mean it’s time for you to give up life and give up living? We’ve got to grab it again, we’re going to conquer the world again! And that’s what it’s all about. Not feeling sorry for yourself, but feeling, “They hurt me and I’m not going to let them hurt me again and to make sure of that, I’m going to kill them!” You have to make up some kind of affirmation, because if you don’t, you sink into the ground and die.” (Ch. 11)

    “Another thing that got me through the jail sentence was the literature that Cus had me read. Every time I’d feel down and lost, I would always go to Edmond Dantès from The Count of Monte Cristo. He didn’t go to jail and think of revenge. He prepared for revenge and success, he learned all the arts, and he had a mentor. ... I thought I was Edmond Dantès from the gutter. “When I’m out of prison, I’ll show you. Look at me. Fuck you, look at me.” That’s how I survived.” (Ch. 11)

    (The poem "Don't Quit" that Cus plastered on the walls of the Catskills gym.)
    “When things go wrong, as they sometimes will
    and the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
    When the funds are low and the debts are high
    and you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
    When care is pressing you down a bit,
    rest if you must—but don’t quit.
    Life is queer with its twists and turns,
    as every one of us sometimes learns.
    And many a failure turns about
    when he might have won had he stuck it out;
    Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow—
    you may succeed with another blow.
    Often the goal is nearer than it seems
    to a faint and faltering man.
    Often the struggler has given up
    when he might have captured the victor’s cup,
    And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
    how close he was to the golden crown.
    Success is failure turned inside out—
    the silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
    And you never can tell how close you are.
    it may be near when it seems afar;
    So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.
    It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.”
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019 at 8:17 AM
  2. OrigFan255

    OrigFan255 Black Belt

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    Mike never tried to intimidate another fighter in fight night stare downs....He took the Fedor route.

    Stay calm, don’t get worked up and (The dude across from you ALREADY KNOWS he gonna get F’D up!)

    No need for theatrics!
     
  3. pecho26

    pecho26 Purple Belt

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    Cus....what an absolute legend.
     
  4. sampuncher

    sampuncher Brown Belt

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    I absolutely loved the relationship these two had.
     
  5. Davey Crockett

    Davey Crockett Mane, Firmino, Salah

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    Tyson can’t even talk about Cus without crying. The guy was on another level in terms of what he gave back to the world
     
  6. HNIC215

    HNIC215 Semper Fidelis...

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    [​IMG]
     
  7. EXOICHO

    EXOICHO Brown Belt

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    wtf are you talking about

    did you ever watch a tyson fight
     
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  8. MEAN357

    MEAN357 Pernell Whitaker belt

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    Cus was a beast youngest champ in history with Patterson then beat his own record again when Tyson won the belt.
     
  9. HaulParris

    HaulParris Gold Belt

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    Thank You! Excellent read.
     
  10. RicardinhoPT

    RicardinhoPT Blue Belt

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    I have the book at home so I didn't read your text as I don't want to spoil anything. I have read Iron Mike though and there I strongly get the feeling that Cus made him into a war machine but would also not be capable of stopping him from derailing later on. While Cus was alive for example there was already the incident with Teddy Atlas...
     
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  11. EXOICHO

    EXOICHO Brown Belt

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  12. filthynumber1

    filthynumber1 Silver Belt

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. 91 seconds

    91 seconds Disposable Hero

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    Read both his books. They were pretty good. The second one talked a lot about Cus with Patterson and how he helped out Ali..Cus gave Ali advice right before he fought Foreman. Muhammad called him up before he left to go and asked Cus what to do. Cus told him as soon as the bell rings show no fear and pop him and that's exactly what Ali did. Ali actually wanted Cus as his trainer at one point but Cus told him the styles were a bit different and Ali should stick to what he knows. D'Amato also said before the first Frazier fight telling Alis coach that hes getting hit too much in training, he was worried about that first Frazier fight.

    Cus D'Amato greatest boxing mind in history imo
     
  14. Smoochie Wallace

    Smoochie Wallace White Belt

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  15. Sharkhunter

    Sharkhunter Purple Belt

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    he was scared of Lewis, he knew what was going to happen
     
  16. kingJohn

    kingJohn Brown Belt

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    Before I ever saw it spelled out, I use to think the guy's name was Custom Auto
     
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  17. ultramanhyata

    ultramanhyata Gold Belt

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    This is a great example of the power of confirmation bias...

    Imagine the hundreds of troubled kids who came through his camp who Gus told were going to be future boxing champions...

    I remember on the last day of practice on the freshman football team the assistant coach took me aside, looked me in the eye and said, "I want to tell you something. You are the most improved player on this entire squad. This team needs you next year. Don't let me down."

    This meant a lot to me because I had spent plenty of time on the bench during the season. I opted not to play the following year but always sort of privately cherished the memory of these words.

    About a decade later I was talking to an old friend who had been on the same team. We had a few drinks and I decided to share the words the assistant coach had said to me. With as much humility as possible.

    My friend replied, "No way! Coach told me the exact same thing!"
     
  18. OrigFan255

    OrigFan255 Black Belt

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    Reread. Keywords “fight night”
     
  19. bigconan

    bigconan Yellow Card Yellow Card

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    ahhh, have you ever seen tyson's fights? he most certainly did not take the fedor route...the exact opposite....and tyson was a quitter...he was a known front runner...the moment a fight was tough, he folded. in his 2 fights with holyfield, he folded...once, got stopped...2nd, bit ear, so he wouldn't get ko'd again...to save face in a way.
     
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  20. bigconan

    bigconan Yellow Card Yellow Card

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    ya, the person that wrote that, never saw any of tysons fights or staredowns..haha
     

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