A full week before the fight, the world press began descending on Atlantic City. What a strange place was this A.C. On its six-and-a-half-mile boardwalk were soaring casinos with interiors full of baroque excess. But just beyond those gaming halls, out where the Monopoly-board streets of Atlantic and Pacific and Baltic lay was a city sagging and creaking from neglect, streets sunk in doom and poverty. The comedian Jackie Gayle would quip later in the week: "The hotels here are worth millions of dollars. You look out, it looks like downtown Beirut."
Even where tourists loitered--the A.C. of white rolling chairs and saltwater taffy--the boardwalk could seem a pitiful stop. Every day old folks on coupon deals were bused in, and the sight of them nickel-and-diming at the slot machines--all those old-timers in fogy clothes, belts hitched up to their pectorals--lent a pathos to the glittery scene. For Sly, A.C. was the low-rent version of Vegas. To the public, Tyson-Spinks was a big event, the chance to see a fighter who might reasonably be expected to test Tyson as he had not been tested before. To Atlantic City, the fight was a lure, attracting increased numbers of civilians who were, by the laws of casino mathematics,