Even though Berbick was the champion, he was going into the fight as the backdrop to Tyson's story. Most people were interested in whether Tyson, who had turned twenty that June, would become the youngest-ever heavyweight champion.
Big fights, and Berbick-Tyson was that, had a voltage that the routine matches didn't. The time leading up to such a bout unfolded with a ritualistic familiarity that heightened anticipation. A week before the match the press would begin to arrive; behind them would come the assorted other Boxing Guys-- managers, trainers, cornermen, cut men, promoters, booking agents, commission members. In the lobby of the Hilton, they would mix and mingle, trading gossip and opinions and checking up on the latest odds.
For the writers, there were workouts to watch, a final press conference to attend. After sending their daily quota of words back to their home offices, they could find solace and sun poolside or continue to the Hilton lobby for a crack at the gaming tables. In a town that did not encourage early-to-bed, the boxing crowd would loiter in the lobby late at night, talking fight talk amid the constant paged searches for parties real and