BAD INTENTIONS: The Mike Tyson Story by Peter Heller

BAD INTENTIONS: The Mike Tyson Story

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A bare-knuckled biography of Iron Mike Tyson, the fight game's reigning heavyweight champion, which earns no worse than a draw with Phil Berger's Blood Season (p. 739). Heller, author of In This Corner (1973) and a sports producer for ABC-TV, knows his way around boxing's shadowy world--which is just as well because, thanks to a penchant for late-night rumbles, sexual escapades, marital strife, legal battles, and other forms of trouble, his subject is one of the most widely publicized titleholders in history. As the author makes clear in his vivid accounts of key bouts, Tyson is also a superb prizefighter; he's won 36 of 36 professional matches, including 32 by knockouts. Heller tracks Tyson's stormy career from his criminal youth on the mean streets of Brooklyn ghettos through February's victory over Great Britain's Frank Bruno. Paroled as a teenager from a home for juvenile offenders in Upstate New York to the guardianship of Cus D'Amato, a legendary trainer/manager, Tyson received the tutelage, experience, and discipline that enabled him to start his relentless march to the undisputed title. Without scanting the champ's ring accomplishments, Heller focuses on the individuals who influenced or otherwise affected Tyson (who just turned 23) along his wayward way. Their ranks encompass the oddly coupled likes of Teddy Atlas, Bill Cayton, Robin Givens, Jim Jacobs, Don King, Kevin Rooney, and Donald Trump. In Heller's book, Tyson is an ungrateful, thuggish, and vengeful warrior, grimly happy in a brutal trade, who has no idea of how to handle either himself or his success outside the ring. Triumphant against all credible challengers--Holmes, Spinks, Thomas, et al.--he's been knocked for an emotional loop by ex-wife Givens and persuaded to dump an honest manager (Cayton) by the manipulative King. Heller's portrait of Tyson is not a pretty one, but the text rings true throughout.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1989
ISBN: 030680669X
Publisher: New American Library