The person that had the most to do with Mike Tyson turning from a juvenile delinquent into one of the most legendary fighters of all time is Constantine “Cus” D’Amato. Below, we remember a titan of boxing history while also detailing how Cus helped Tyson become the Baddest Man on the Planet. Let’s get right into action so you can plan ahead your bets against their Mike Tyson Odds & Mike Tyson Prop Bets.
Remembering Iron Mike Tyson’s Mentor Cus D’Amato – Boxing Lines
Cus D’Amato was never a professional boxer
While a young man living in Bronx, New York, D’Amato made a huge decision. He flirted with the idea of becoming a Catholic Priest. It was either that or get into the boxing room.
Thankfully for us, Cus decided to become a boxer. He had a great amateur career but never took the next step. During a street fight, D’Amato suffered an eye injury that he couldn’t overcome.
Nobody would give D’Amato a boxing license. Instead of wallowing in misery, Cus decided to open a gym.
D’Amato was 22-years-old when he and Jack Barrow opened the Empire Sporting Club.
D’Amato trains Floyd Patterson to become history’s youngest heavyweight boxing champion
D’Amato’s gym had some success. At one point, Cus trained future middleweight champion Rockey Graziano. But before Graziano lifted the belt, he bolted to a more high-profile trainer.
For years, D’Amato said that he waited for a champion to walk through the doors. The day finally came when Floyd Patterson decided to train at the Empire Sporting Club.
Patterson came to D’Amato at an early age. Cus helped Floyd win the gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
After winning gold, Cus guided Patterson through the heavyweight ranks. Floyd won the heavyweight championship that undefeated Rocky Marciano had vacated.
D’Amato continued training Floyd until Sonny Liston knocked out Patterson in the first round of a rematch fight.
Cus moves to the Catskills and meets Mike Tyson
By the time he started training Mike Tyson, Cus D’Amato had closed the Empire Sporting Club in the Bronx and had moved to the Catskills. He ran a small gym, a tiny facility.
For all intents and purposes, D’Amato’s training days were over. Cus and Mike Tyson met almost by happenstance.
While locked up at the Tyron School for Boys, Tyson approached former pro boxer Bobby Stewart. Mike knew Bobby trained some of his juvenile delinquent peers.
At first, Stewart didn’t want to help Tyson. Iron Mike had been nothing but a problem since arriving to the school. But Tyson was persistent until Bobby decided to give Mike a shot.
After teaching Tyson all he could, Stewart introduced Mike to Cus D’Amato. It’s D’Amato who taught Tyson the peek-a-boo style that made him famous.
Not only that, but after Mike’s mother passed away, Cus became his legal guardian. Per Tyson, D’Amato was the only person he ever feared.
Cus was an old school trainer. He pulled no punches. In his autobiography, Tyson writes, “I was petrified when I was alone with him. If he called me – ‘Mike, I need to talk to you’ – I didn’t feel good going over to him. That’s when he’d start giving me his detailed criticisms of my fights. People see the public celebrations of my sensational knockouts, but they don’t hear Cus talking to me alone after the fight.”
D’Amato’s most famous quote is this:
“A boy comes to me with a spark of interest. I feed the spark and it becomes a flame. I feed the flame and it becomes a fire. I feed the fire and it becomes a roaring blaze.”
Cus D’Amato died when Tyson was 19-years-old. The Baddest Man on the Planet was 11-0 at the time.
He didn’t get a chance to see Tyson become heavyweight champion. To this day, Iron Mike Tyson regards Constantine D’Amato as the single most important reason for his in the ring and out of the ring success.
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