Blood Season: Mike Tyson and the World of Boxing

By Phil Berger | Go to book overview
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7

Tyson seemed to have emerged practically overnight; to the public, one morning this phenom who made grown men drop like Sequoias was suddenly there. In fact, though, when Tyson started his pro career in March 1985, he had not been a special case at all.

That was no shock. For amateur boxers did not routinely strike it rich when turning pro, as, say, the stars of college football and basketball did year after year. That kind of cash-rich transition and spotlit recognition were far more rare for the amateur fighter, coinciding usually with the Olympics, held every four years.

As great as an amateur fighter might be, if he did not make it to the Olympics and then win a medal, preferably a gold one, he was unlikely to earn the big dollars at the start of his pro career.

While Tyson had won junior Olympic titles as an amateur, he failed at the next level, in his bid for the 1984 Olympic team. Whether he was, as he would later claim, a victim of amateur boxing politics was beside the point. In losing his Olympics

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