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  Cus D’Amato – The Legend Who Made The Legend

By Ewa Turalska - (
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Mike Tyson took thirty eight seconds to sparked out Lou Savarese in 2000. After that The Beast gave the most memorable and pumped up speech in history of boxing.

“I'm the best ever. I'm the most brutal and vicious, and most ruthless champion there's ever been. There's no one can stop me. Lennox is a conqueror? No, I'm Alexander, he's no Alexander. I'm the best ever. There's never been anybody as ruthless. I'm Sonny Liston, I'm Jack Dempsey. There's no one like me. I'm from their cloth. There's no one that can match me. My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah.”

Let’s look back, a way back and think... Alexander the Great arrived on the shores of Persia along with his men. As soon they got there they realized there were vastly outnumbered. Alexander’s men pleaded that they retreat at once, returning at later date with more men. Alexander the Great however decided to take a slightly different approach. He ordered his men to burn their boats at once, he turned to his men and said "we go home in Persian ships, or we die". Tyson was a Alexander of boxing in any meaning. But Alexanders are not made by themselves. Neither Tyson was. Behind his build up importable force and confidence stood Cus D’Amato. One of the finest coaches and boxing philosophers. When Tyson was walking into the ring the boats were already burnt thanks to Cus D’Amato. He transformed this street, trouble boy with low self -esteem into mental warfare and one of the best fighters in the history of boxing.

Constantine "Cus" D'Amato handled the careers of Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson, and José Torre. He was a proponent of the peek-a-boo style of boxing, in which the fighter holds his gloves close to his cheeks and pulls his arms tight against his torso. But mainly he was known for his incredible knowledge, life wisdom which he successfully was using and mixing with his boxing skills. If he lived nowadays he would be one of the greatest life coaches or motivational speakers. Let’s get it closer to his great lessons – I have picked two, which I believed where the most significant in the career of Mike Tyson.

Discipline and repetition.

Discipline is a key in boxing, every fighter knows that. D’Amato believed that greatness will come with repetition, and no one is born with the skill.

Mike Tyson day regiment planned by Cus:

5 am

Wake up and jog 3 miles

6 am

Return home from his jog, shower and go back to sleep

10 am

Wake up once again and eat oatmeal

12 pm 10 rounds of sparring in the ring

2 pm

Eat steak & pasta while drinking fruit juice in preparation for next training session.

3 pm

Back in the ring for more sparring and technical drills followed by 60 minute session on the exercise bike

5 pm

2000 sit-ups; 500-800 dips; 500 press ups; 500 shrugs with a 30kg barbell (this was broken down into 10 rounds, circuit style). Tyson also performed 10 minutes of neck exercises during this workout


Eat steak and pasta while drinking fruit juice

8 pm

30 minute session on the exercise bike

After his final workout for the day Tyson would study tape of the boxing greats that came before him, analyzing their techniques.


Another remarkable idea of him was how he explained the fear. Protective mechanism that what it was – and that how he used to teach Tyson. Fear can motivate you and help you achieve whatever you want – that was his philosophy. Many years later we could hear Mike Tyson saying:

“While I m in the dressing room five minutes before I come out, I m breaking my gloves down, I m pushing the leather to the back of my gloves, so my knuckle could pierce through. When I come out I have supreme confidence. I m scared to death. I m afraid. I m afraid of everything. I m afraid of losing. I m afraid of being humiliated. But I m confident. The closer I get to the ring the more confident I get. The closer, the more confident. The closer the more confident I get. All during training I ve been afraid of this man. I think this man might be capable of beating me. I ve dreamed of him beating me. For that I ve always stayed afraid of him. The closer I get to the ring the more confident I get. Once I m in the ring I m a god. No one could beat me. I walk around the ring but I never take my eyes off my opponent. Even if he s ready and pumping, and cant wait to get his hands on me. I keep my eyes on him. I keep my eyes on him. Then once I see a chink in his armor, boom, one of his eyes may move, and then I know I have him. Then once he comes to the center of the ring he looks at me with his piercing look as if he s not afraid. But he already made that mistake when he looked down for that one tenth of a second. I know I have him. He ll fight hard for the first two or three rounds, but I know I broke his spirit. During the fight I m supremely confident. I m making him miss and I m countering. I m hitting him to the body; I m punching him real hard. And I m punching him, and I m punching him, and I know he s gonna take my punches. He goes down, he s out. I m victorious. Mike Tyson, greatest fighter that ever lived.

These words are a bigger picture of what D’ Amato was capable to do with Tyson’s mind, even though he did die shortly after his first professional fight – he showed in him values which drove Iron Mike toward championships and made him the most recognizable boxer next to Mohammed Ali.

He took him from the bottom to top, as he saw his potential before anyone else did, and drove him to succeed until his vision came to life. Although, a question is about how much further and better Tyson’s career could go if Cus D’Amato would live another ten years and could have been in his corner.


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