Study The Past

Below is a great video which shows a young Mike Tyson sharing his thoughts about several legendary fighters from the past.

While Tyson is often remembered for his brute strength and power, many don’t realize that he was also a student of the sport. Cus D’Amato schooled him well. He instilled upon Tyson the importance of learning from those who came before him.

Unfortunately, the lessons that were passed on to Tyson are often forgotten. Many athletes and trainers in today’s era are in a constant search to find or create something new. Rather than learning from those who came before, they attempt to reinvent the wheel.

New or different doesn’t always equal better. More often than not, the fundamentals still work well. This isn’t to say that there will not be opportunities to improve on the past, but such opportunities don’t come nearly as often as many believe. It’s also much more difficult to improve upon the past if you don’t know it.

The take home lesson here is quite simple. If you are an athlete, study the greats from past and present. Take advantage of the free resources that are available to you. A young Mike Tyson didn’t have the luxury of watching classic footage on Youtube. Fortunately, you do. Much can be learned through simple observation.


“Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.” – George Santayana

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  1. Had seen and enjoyed this before. For fans of boxing a great course on its history, as well as an intriguing glimpse into one of its champions. We see a side of Tyson revealed that we could all wish had prevailed over other less worthy impulses which derailed his life in the years to follow. It’s clear from this clip that there was much more to ‘Iron Mike’ than the figure we (unfortunately) came to know all too well. Sharp boxing acumen. I like THIS Mike, and feel saddened that this Mike lost his way amidst his success and the accompanying hype.

  2. Tyson was a true student of the game and learned from the old master D’Amato who trained and guided champions like Jose Torres and Floyd Patterson. There were a lot of similarities in Tyson and Patterson’s styles albeit, Tyson was much more powerful, stronger, and maybe even faster with the hands. Patterson was an underrated puncher but we all know that Tyson’s power belongs up their with the monsters named Foreman, Shavers, Marciano, Dempsey, Frazier, Louis, etc. If we could have ranked Tyson based on his career from 1985-1989, there is no doubt his name would be right alongside the Alis, the Louises, the Marcianos, the Dempseys etc. But the Douglas bout would come along and then a rape conviction and a 3 year incarceration. Often neglecting head movement, throwing one punch at a time, doing everything D’Amato taught him not to do, Tyson became a fringe contender at best against some limited opponents. When they first started talking about a Holyfield-Tyson fight in the late 80’s most thought it was a joke and feared for Holyfield’s safety. Holyfield would’ve been destroyed by the ’88-89 verison of Tyson.

  3. Wow! What a great video. Thanks, Ross. Helped to educate me not only about the history of some of the world’s great fighters, but also about Iron Mike. I too feel sad to see this Mike versus the tragic Mike. If longevity is one of the hallmarks of a great champion, then certainly we’d have to exclude Mike from the top echelon. But I don’t believe that ANY fighter, past or present, including Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, etc… would have stood a chance against Tyson in his prime. During his brief tenure Mike was the greatest heavyweight in the history of the sport.

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