‘Tyson’ production a telling documentary

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“The closer I get to the ring, the more I’m in control. Once I get in the ring, I’m God,” Mike Tyson.

“The closer I get to the ring, the more I’m in control. Once I get in the ring, I’m God,” Mike Tyson.

When we think of a boxing hero, we think of Mohammed Ali. When we think of a boxing enigma or the man whose behavior shamed the world of boxing, we think of Mike Tyson.

Why? Well Tyson’s persona was years in the making, and when you consider his background and upbringing, the world is lucky he turned into a volatile, international champion and not just another urban statistic.

Filmmaker James Toback reveals the best and worst of Mike Tyson in this thought-provoking documentary, answering intimate questions about the world’s youngest and most controversial international boxing champion.

Though he may be most infamous for biting off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a grudge match and for giving the boxing world a black eye, Tyson gets a very balanced, even-handed treatment in this probing bio-doc.

Born June 30, 1966 in a section of Brooklyn so rough he only remembers getting his ass kicked for the first 12 years of his life, Tyson remembers the first time he won a fight. He was raising pigeons on his roof, and when a thug decapitated one, Mike fought back.

It was a defining moment, the first time he stood up for himself and the last time he took crap off anybody.

While incarcerated, he came to the attention of Cus D’Amato, Floyd Patterson’s old coach. Cus turned Tyson into a disciplined fighting machine and became his legal guardian, confidant and surrogate dad in1984.

Tyson made his professional boxing debut in ‘85, knocking out Hector Mercedes in the first round. Quick knockouts became Tyson’s trademark. But as fate would have it, the central, stabilizing influence in his life, Cus, died that same year. Tyson, “It was like I lost my whole life. I felt vulnerable, scared, naked.” Despite his grief, in two short years and at age 20, Tyson won the AB, ABC and IBF belts, the first time any fighter accomplished such a feat.

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