Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Two

By Peter Weston Wood on December 25, 2013
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Two
"I gravitated to reading revolutionary books. My favorite was 'The Count of Monte Cristo.'"

“My favorite boxing books deal with the seamy underside of the sport—Budd Schulberg’s ‘The Harder They Fall’ and Leonard Gardner’s ‘Fat City’”…

I asked professional fighters to finish this sentence: “MY FAVORITE BOOK IS…”  Their responses were fascinating and illuminating; sometimes surprising and sometimes just plain funny. 

If the adage, “We are what we eat” is true, then “We are what we read” might also be true.

Read the responses of these tough guys and peek into the soul of a prizefighter.

1. “Iron” Mike Tyson—World Heavyweight Champion—WBC Heavyweight Champion 1986-1990; WBA Heavyweight Champion 1987-1990; IBF Heavyweight Champion 1987-1990 

o Youngest fighter to gain the Heavyweight Title
o Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York
o Turned pro in 1985 and fought 15 times that year, winning every fight by knockout
o Tyson appears as himself in the 2009 movie “The Hangover”
o The Animal Planet announces it will release a television series with Tyson called “Taking on Tyson”
o Has a Simpsons cartoon character based on him named Drederick Tatum
o Received an Honorary Doctorate from Central State University, outside of Springfield, Ohio in 1989
o His one-man play, “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” ran on Broadway at the Longacre Theater in August 2-12, 2012
o Defeated Trevor Berbick (TKO 2)
o Defeated James “Bonecrusher” Smith (TKO 2)
o Defeated Pinklon Thomas (TKO 6)
o Defeated Tony Tucker (UD 12)
o Defeated Marvis Frazier (TKO 1)
o Defeated Jose Ribalta (TKO 10)
o Defeated Alonzo Ratliff (TKO 2)
o Defeated Tyrell Biggs (TKO 7)
o Defeated Larry Holmes TKO 4)
o Defeated Tony Tubbs (TKO 2)
o Defeated Michael Spinks (KO 1)
o Defeated Frank Bruno (TKO 5 & TKO 3)
o Defeated Carl “The Truth” Williams (TKO 1)
o Defeated Donovan Ruddock (TKO 7 & UD 12)
o Defeated Mitch “Blood” Green (UD 10)
o Defeated Bruce Seldon (TKO 1)
o Defeated Brian Nielsen (RTD 6)
o Defeated Frans Botha (KO 5)
o Defeated Clifford Etienne (KO 1)
o Amateur record 48-6
o Won 50 (KO 44) + lost 6 (KO 5) + drawn 0 = 58 rounds boxed 216 KO% 75.86

Mike Tyson’s Favorite Book (in 1993, while in prison): “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas

“I was totally into reading. There’s nothing that’ll pass time more than reading a whole book. My cell-mate, Wayno, and I would read to each other in our room every night. One guy would have the book and the other would have a thesaurus or a dictionary so when we came across a word we didn’t know, we could look it up. We’d even use the words in sentences so we really got them down. I really enjoyed Will Durant’s ‘The Story of Civilization.’ I read Mao’s book, I read Che. I read Machiavelli, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Marx, Shakespeare, you name it. I read Hemingway, but he was too much of a downer. I gravitated to reading rebellions, revolutionary books. My favorite was Alexandre Dumas’s ‘The Count of Monte Cristo.’ I really identified with the main character Edmond Dantes. He had been framed by his enemies and sent to jail too. But he didn’t just sit there and brood; he prepared for his eventual success and revenge. Whenever I felt lost in prison, I’d read some Dumas.” (“Mike Tyson—Undisputed Truth,” pp. 278-279)

Tyson’s Favorite Book (in 2013, ten years after being released from prison): “The World’s Greatest Letters: From Ancient Greece to the Twentieth Century.”

“I have a favorite book that I read every day. It’s called ‘The World’s Greatest Letters: From Ancient Greece to the Twentieth Century.’ I love connecting the past this way. You learn so much about these people by reading their letters. Some of these people are so self-centered they don’t think that anyone else is capable of loving the way they do.  A lot of these guys are control freaks and they get frustrated because their love is not answered quickly enough. What these people are writing is so poetic, the way they express themselves in language is so breathtaking. And sometimes the person they’re writing to doesn’t give a shit about them. I read these letters and I cry. You think about Napoleon, this great world leader, and you read a letter where he’s begging to his love Josephine to come to him and she doesn’t. Check it out…” (“Mike Tyson—Undisputed Truth”, p 567)

2. Leo Randolph—WBA Super Bantamweight Champion (beat Ricardo Cardona via 15th round TKO)

o Defeated Baby Kid Chocolate (W 10)
o Defeated Tony Rocha (KO 2)
o Defeated Oscar Muniz (SD 10)
o Flyweight Gold medalist at the 1976 Summer Olympics
o 1975 National Golden Gloves Flyweight Champion
o 1976 National AAU Flyweight Champion
o Named the Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year for 1976, along with his fellow U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in boxing (Howard Davis Jr., Sugar Ray Leonard, Leon Spinks, and Michael Spinks)
o Amateur Record: 160-7
o 2005 Inductee into the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame
o Won 17 (KO 9) + lost 2 (KO 1) + drawn 0 = 19 rounds boxed 119 (KO% 47.37)

Leo Randolph’s Favorite Book: “The Bible”

“The Bible is the most inspirational and motivational book going. You can’t beat it. It’s The Heavyweight Champion of Books. I also read magazines. ‘Ebony is a great read. It inspirational, as well, but not as inspirational as The Bible.”

3. Jim Amato—Veteran Boxing Writer

o Began covering fights in 1992, reporting for Boxing Illustrated
o Has contributed articles to Boxing World, Boxing Times, Heavyhitters, Cleveland’s East Side Daily newspaper, The Neutral Corner and the IBRO Journal
o Member of the Boxing Writers Association Of America (BWAA)
o Member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO), founded by Hall Of Famer Ralph Citro
o On the Publicity Committee for the American Association For The Improvement of Boxing (AAIB) co-founded by Steve Acunto and the late Rocky Marciano
o Member of the Ohio State Former Boxers And Associates and the Trumball County Of Ohio Legends Of Leather

Jim Amato’s Favorite Book: “Boxing Is My Sanctuary” by Ted Sares

“’Boxing Is My Sanctuary’ by Ted Sares is just a wonderful book. As I said in my review of this book…‘Ted Sares is the A.J. Liebling of our time.’”

4. Roman Greenberg—Heavyweight Contender

o Won the IBO Intercontinental Championship by 6th round TKO against Alex Vassiliev in March 2006 Defeated Colin Kenna (W 8)
o Defeated Steve Pannell (TKO 3)
o Defeated Julius Francis (W 10)
o Defeated Alex Varakin (KO 6)
o Defeated Josh Gutcher (TKO 4)
o Defeated Kendrick Releford (W 10)
o Won a silver medal at the Junior World Championships in 2000
o Speaks four languages - Hebrew, Russian, German, and English.
o Won 27 (KO 18) + lost 1 (KO 1) + drawn 0 = 28 rounds boxed 137 (KO% 64.29)

Roman Greenberg’s Favorite Book: “False Flag: The Soviet Spy Who Penetrated the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service” by Zeev Avni

“This was an incredible story about a Russian spy, Zeev Avni, who penetrated the Mossad. His tory is true, but it reads like a novel.”

5. “Merciless” Mike Mollo—WBA Federation Heavyweight Titleholder

o Defeated Kevin McBride (TKO 2)
o Defeated Troy Weida (TKO 1)
o Defeated Art Binkowski (TKO 2)
o Won 20 (KO 12) + lost 5 (KO 3) + drawn 1 = 26 rounds boxed 108 (KO% 46.15)

Mike Mollo ‘s Favorite Book: “The Use of the Body” by Rocky Marciano

“I grew up watching film of Rocky Marciano. Both of our families came from Naples, Italy, so Rocky was a hero to my family. My strength and conditioning coach Joe Wright gave me a rare book written by Rocky called ‘The Use of the Body.’ Joe found this book in 1967 while he was somewhere in England. I’ve been reading it and it’s a masterpiece.”

6. Eddie Goldman—Veteran Boxing Writer

o Host of “No Holds Barred” audio interviews on Blogger http://nhbnews.blogspot.com/ & and Ourmedia.org
o Writes for TheSweetScience.com
o A senior contributing editor at Tapout (formerly Bodyguard) Magazine and writes the Combat Sports News page on KingoftheCage.com
o Runs (http://www.ourmedia.org/user/57277/)
o Editor and writer for BoxingRanks.com, MaxBoxing.com, the ADCC News Page, Penthouse, the Extreme Fighting web site, Grappling, Inside Kung Fu, Gracie Magazine, Wrestling International Newsmagazine, Full Contact Fighter, Roundcardgirlz.com, and numerous other publications and websites
o Narrator in the film “The Smashing Machine”
o Producer of “Knockout Radio” on MaxBoxing.com, and co-host and co-producer of o"Light Show” on WBAI-FM
o Color commentator and analyst for IFC mixed martial arts and USKBA kickboxing TV broadcasts and videos
o A member of the Boxing Writers Association of America
o Won third place for Boxing Event Coverage in the Boxing Writers Association of America’s 2003 Barney Awards for excellence in boxing journalism
o Was voted 2000 Journalist of the Year by the readers of Grapplersworld.com.
o Graduated Columbia with a history major and a philosophy minor, and did graduate work in magazine publishing at NYU
o Wrestled in high school

Eddie Goldman’s Favorite Book: “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”

“My favorite book? Easy. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” I read it when I was 17, a senior in Lynbrook High School—a suburban Long Island community which transposed the letters of ‘Brooklyn’ to come up with its name—‘Lynbrook.’ Well, this book opened my eyes to what was happening throughout America—the horrible racism and the gross inequities which permeated American society. Its impact has always remained with me.”

7. George Kimball—Veteran Boxing Writer

o Author of “FOUR KINGS: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing”
o Winner of the Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism from BWAA, 1985
o Longtime columnist for the Boston Herald
o Wrote columns for The Irish Times, ESPN.com, and Boxing Digest
o Freelance writer, broadcaster and occasional book critic (for The Irish Times and The Boston Phoenix)     

George Kimball’s Favorite Book: “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac

“I’m a pretty voracious reader, and might go through two or three books a week. My tastes are pretty eclectic, ranging from fiction (Richard Price’s ‘Lush Life,’ Dennis Lehane’s ‘The Given Day,’ and pretty much anything by Larry McMurtry) to poetry (‘Gunslinger’ by Edward Dorn) to journalism collections (A.J. Liebling, Pete Hamill, John Schulian, Pete Dexter, Hugh McIlvanney), history, and biography. My favorite boxing books are a couple that deal with the seamy underside of the sport—Budd Schulberg’s ‘The Harder They Fall’ and Leonard Gardner’s ‘Fat City’—a truly great, underappreciated novel. (‘Fat City’ was published 40 years ago. It was Gardner’s first novel, and also his last; he’s never written another one.) But if you’re going to pin me down to one book, it would have to come from among those I liked so much that I’ve read them over and over again. J.P. Donleavy’s ‘The Ginger Man’ and Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’ would be among those, but Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ has been a constant presence for most of my adult life. I first read it in my teens, and I read it in my twenties, in my thirties, forties, and fifties, and when the ‘Original Scroll’ version came out a couple of years ago, I read it again in my sixties.”

8. Sen. John McCain

o Presidential nominee of the Republican Party in the 2008 presidential election
o McCain introduced the “Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform of 2000,” which he introduced with Richard Bryan of Nevada
o First led Congress to enact the self-explanatory “Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996”
o Senior United States Senator from Arizona
o Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958
o Became a naval aviator, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers; during the Vietnam War, he nearly lost his life in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire
o In October 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi, he was shot down, badly injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese
o Was a prisoner of war until 1973. McCain experienced episodes of torture, and refused an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer; his war wounds left him with lifelong physical limitations
o Retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981
o Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982
o Served two terms, and was then elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, winning re-election easily in 1992, 1998, and 2004
o Boxed in the Navy.

John McCain’s Favorite Book: “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon

“In captivity, McCain used to act out scenes from books and movies to keep his mind sharp. In addition to Hemingway, he loves the stories of W. Somerset Maugham, ‘The Great Gatsby,’ ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ and James Fenimore Cooper’s ‘Leatherstocking Tales,’ especially ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ (he remembers the N.C. Wyeth illustrations). He likes William Faulkner in small doses…he has read—twice—Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ (NYT Book Review, 11/2/08, p.27

9 Mia “The Knockout” St. John

o WBC International Female Welterweight Champion
o Former IFBA International Female Lightweight Champion
o Defeated Amy Yuratovac (W 8)
o Defeated Franchesca Alcanter (W 4)
o Defeated Joy Irvin (TKO 2)
o Defeated Donna Biggers (W 10)
o Compiled a Tae Kwon Do record of 27-1; was awarded a black belt, and worked as a model to fund her education
o Attended California State University, Northridge, earning a degree in Psychology
o Appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine
o Created the non-profit foundation “El Saber Es Poder”
o Won 47 (KO 18) + lost 13 (KO 4) + drawn 2 = 62 rounds boxed 290 (KO% 29.03)

Mia “The Knockout” St. John’s Favorite Book: “A Sentence With The District” by Beto Gutierrez

“I love this book because the author is fearless in exposing our failing school system. Every child in this country, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, has a right to a proper education. My mother always used to say to me, “El saber es poder!’”

10. Jeff Jowett—Veteran Boxing Writer

o Reporter for Boxing Digest
o Wrote for Ring Magazine
o Wrote for Boxing Illustrated
o Amateur referee

Jeff Jowett’s Favorite Book: “African Genesis” by Robert Ardrey

“This requires a lot of thought! Still not sure about best book, but the best thing I ever read is easy: a short story by James Joyce, ‘Araby.’ Does in 5 pages what took Cervantes about 900…As to books, that’s tough. For one, there probably should be a distinction between different types, like fiction and non. Probably my best non-fiction is ‘African Genesis’ by Robert Ardrey, because it exposes the lie of Special Creation which religion is commonly built upon; i.e., that humans are somehow ‘special’ and not part of or responsible to the rest of the biosphere. From here, you have a platform for the brutalization and exploitation of other animals, but also each other, because all you have to do is make some other race or ethnicity somehow ‘less’ than you are, and all bets are off…’Notes From the Underground’ by Dostoyevsky is technically fiction, but really straddles the genre with political diatribe. To me, it’s an epiphany. Of course, I’m not going to boldly claim I’m getting it right, but it seems to me he’s saying that what humans cherish more than anything else is to be an asshole; i.e., naked self assertion for no other purpose. And in Russia, they knew how to deal with this: the Gulag…Then to fiction…well, for pure artistry of writing, leading the thought pack right now I suppose would be ‘Rebecca,’ by Daphne du Maurier. I can’t believe scholars regard her as just a 2nd-rate hack! I thought this was so well constructed. I love description, and I thought the descriptions of the estate, the manners, the customs, the etiquette, and the narrative character’s unease and embarrassment are superb. The leading character is already dead by the start of the book, yet has an existence and an influence more vivid than the living characters. The narrative character is so dwarfed that she is never even given a name, yet I didn’t even realize this until about ¾ through!...Also much in the running would be ‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams, and I’d be inexcusably remiss not to include ‘Lolita’...Let’s see,,,some other ‘bests’... Best play I ever saw: ‘Our Town…Best jazz album: ‘Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis…Best any album: Again Miles, with Gil Evans, ‘Sketches of Spain’... Favorite painter (I don’t know near enough about art to use the word ‘best”’: Renoir, just an eyelash ahead of Toulouse…Favorite art critic: Of course! Sister Wendy!!!!!!!!!!!...Greatest song: ‘Londonderry Air’ (a/k/a Danny Boy)...Best melody: Duke Ellington’s ‘Satin Doll’...Most beautiful chick ever: Valerie Bertinelli… Hottest chick ever: This defies challenge! Where do you begin???? Could be Betty Page…The Greatest Man in the World— unquestionably—Don Elbaum!!!!!!!!!”

11. Jack “K.O. J.O.” Obermayer—Veteran Boxing Writer

o Writes for Boxing Digest
o Wrote for Ring Magazine
o Wrote for Boxing Illustrated
o Wrote for Flash Gordon’s Fight Programs
o Wrote for Fite Fax
o Amateur record: 16-7

Jack “K.O. J.O.” Obermayer’s Favorite Book: “The Great Bridge” by David McCullough

“I love history and I love New York, that’s why I loved this book. In the 19th century, the Brooklyn Bridge was viewed as the greatest engineering feat of mankind. The Roeblings—father and son—toiled for decades, fighting competitors, corrupt politicians, and the laws of nature to build a bridge which, after 100 years, still provides one of the major avenues of access to New York City.”

12. Mark Medal— Inaugural IBF Light Middleweight Champion March 11 – Nov. 2, 1984

o Defeated Earl Hargroves (TKO 5)
o Defeated Ali Perez (KO 3)
o Defeated Frank Minnigan (KO 3)
o Defeated Dexter Smith (W 10)
o Defeated Kevin Howard (W 10)
o Trivia: Mark Medal and Rocky Marciano are the only fighters to have Grossinger t-shirts with their names printed on the back!
o Won 24 (KO 20) + lost 3 (KO 2) + drawn 1 = 28 rounds boxed 151 (KO% 71.43)

Mark Medal’s Favorite Book: “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss

“My favorite book? Well, that has to be…’The Cat in the Hat!’”

13. Dan Goossen— President of Goossen Tutor Promotions

o Discovered and managed the career of bouncer-turned-actor Mr. T in the late 1970s
o Guided Michael Nunn, Terry Norris & the Ruelas brothers, Gabe and Rafael
o Named “2001 Promoter of the Year” by the WBA.
o Currently promotes:
o WBO Welterweight World Champion Paul Williams
o IBF Featherweight World Champion Robert Guerrero
o WBO #1 world heavyweight contender,Tony Thompson
o Mexican heavyweight sensation Cristobal Arreola
o U.S. Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward
o Heavyweight Eddie Chambers
o World Champion James Toney
o Floyd “Money” Mayweather
o The only person in the US to hold a boxing manager’s and promoter’s license simultaneously in the 1980s
o A member of the Task Force on the Betterment of Boxing testifying at the Boxing Reform Senate Hearings sponsored by and presided over by Senator John McCain
o A member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

Dan Goossen’s Favorite Book: “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson

“My favorite book was ‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. First, and foremost, it was the very first book I read, other than a school book. Secondly, it was interesting to read an adventure story about a colorful pirate. Thirdly, what made ‘Treasure Island’ even more significant was that this book was chosen to be Walt Disney’s first live-action film, which, for me, was thrilling.”

14. Ron Scott Stevens—Appointed Chairman to the New York State Athletic Commission in 2003. He served in this capacity until July 25, 2008 (two terms)

o Held licenses as a ring announcer, matchmaker and promoter
o Editor/Writer for several boxing magazines
o Awarded the Rocky Marciano Official’s Award in 2006 by the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing (“AAIB”)
o Awarded the James A. Farley Award for Honesty and Integrity by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2007.
o Playwright

Ron Scott Stevens’s Favorite Book: “Elmer Gantry” by Sinclair Lewis

“What’s my favorite book? Okay, I’ll tell you. It’s either ‘Elmer Gantry’ by Sinclair Lewis or ‘The Fixer’ or ‘The Natural’ by Bernard Malamud or ‘From Here To Eternity’ by James Jones or ‘Winds of War’ by Herman Wouk or ‘The Black Lights’ by Thomas Hauser. How about I give you my favorite movie? It’s either ‘On the Waterfront’ or ‘The Hustler’ with Paul Newman. When I look at these titles I see, for the most part, there is a common theme—they’re all about the underdog, or anti-hero, and they are also about the way life is, rather than the way we want it to be.”

15. Teddy Atlas—Boxing trainer and fight commentator

o Trained Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson
o Trained Heavyweight Champion Michael Moorer
o Trained Featherweight Champion Barry McGuigan
o Trained Canadian light-heavyweight Donny Lalonde
o Trained light heavyweight contender Chris Reid
o Boxing commentator for NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games in Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008)
o Published his autobiography, “Atlas: From the Streets to the Ring: A Son’s Struggle to Become a Man” in 2006
o Serves as commentator on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights and Wednesday Night Fights
o Won the Sam Taub Award for excellence in boxing broadcasting journalism
o Founded The Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation, a New York-based 501(c)(3) community service organization that provides financial, legal and emotional support to individuals and organizations in need.

Teddy Atlas’s Favorite Book: N/A

“Reading is such an important activity. I have a lot of favorite books I’ve enjoyed over the years. Reading a book is a very personal thing and I’d prefer not to name any one book. I’d prefer to keep my personal interests private. Some books I’ve valued because of my father, some books because of my own tastes. But all of the books I’ve read have been profitable.”

16. Alex “The Destroyer” Stewart— Rugged heavyweight contender

o Started his professional career scoring 24 straight knockouts
o Defeated Eza Sellers (TKO 3)
o Defeated Jesse Ferguson (W 10)
o Defeated James Warring (W 10)
o Defeated Rick Enis (TKO 3)
o Defeated Paul Poirier (TKO 3)
o Defeated David Jaco (TKO 1)
o Defeated Harry Terrell (KO 1)
o Was a member of the Jamaican 1984 Olympic team
o Won 43 (KO 40) + lost 10 (KO 7) + drawn 0 = 53 rounds boxed 223 (KO% 75.47)

Alex “The Destroyer” Stewart’s Favorite Book: “You Belong To Me” by Mary Higgins Clark

“The mystery ‘You Belong To Me’ by Mary Clark is a good little book and the kind of thing I like a lot. It always kept me wondering what’s gonna happen next. It’s like you wonder why certain characters act the way they do and why other characters are so stupid. But you find out in the end. I’ve read a few other mysteries by her, but this one really stuck with me.”

(This is the second of a 15-part series)

Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part One
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Two
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Three
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Four
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Five
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Six
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Seven
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Eight
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Nine
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Ten
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Eleven
Peek Into the Soul of a Prizefighter—Part Twelve

Peter Wood is a former middleweight finalist in the 1971 New York City Golden Gloves. Wood was selected to represent America in Montreal, Canada.  In 1976, he was asked to represent America in the Maccabian Games held in Tel Aviv, Israel. He is the author of Confessions of a Fighter, and A Clenched Fist—The Making of a Golden Gloves Champion. Wood’s writing credits include a guest column in The New York Times, and articles in Commonweal, America, Ring and Boxing Illustrated.

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Mike Tyson vs Trevor Berbick (1986) full fight Hight Quality



Sergio Víctor Palma Leo Randolph 09 08 1980)



Cedric Boswell vs. Roman Greenberg | August 29th 2008 | Center Stage . Atlanta, GA



Thomas Hearns/Mark Medal June 23, 1986 Caesars Palace.



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  1. Bill Angresano 02:05pm, 01/02/2014

    As is usual with Peter Woods’ writing , it is COMPELLING and thoughtful. This is such a great question posed to a segment of sport, and life,  usually overlooked . Much like the sport and it’s unique participants.

  2. kid vegas 12:18pm, 12/31/2013

    Thanks Peter

  3. Ted 11:57am, 12/31/2013

    “I’ll list my 10 favorite non-boxing books next time” I’ll be looking forward to that Peter.

  4. peter 07:59am, 12/31/2013

    @Kid Vegas…My top ten boxing books are: 1) “The 16th Round” by Rubin “Hurricane” Carter 2) “Raging Bull” by Jake Lamotta 3) “In This Corner” by Peter Heller 4) “The Contender” by Robert Lipsythe 5) “Weigh-In” by Fraser Scott 6) “Atlas” by Teddy Atlas 7) “On Boxing” by Joyce Carol Oates 8) “Mike Tyson, The Undisputed Truth” by Larry Sloman 9) “A Flame of Pure Fire” by Roger Kahn 10) “Buttercups and Strong Boys” by William Plummer…Thanks for asking! I’ll list my 10 favorite non-boxing books next time…BTW, Kid Vegas, you were one tough fighter! A real puncher. Thanks, again.

  5. kid vegas 05:34pm, 12/30/2013

    Peter Wood, what do you read, mate?

  6. Bob 07:05am, 12/28/2013

    Great information here, Pete. Love the way you seek out these interesting topics. Very unusual trivia about Medal’s name being on the Grossinger’s T-shirts. I would have thought lots of 50s fighters would have had it. Great stuff. Keep them coming and don’t forget about the heavyweight from the Pacific Northwest. I’m looking forward to the update.

  7. Ted 06:09pm, 12/27/2013

    Michael Moorer. lmfao

  8. Eric 02:00pm, 12/27/2013

    Would love to find a copy of the Marciano book. Marciano had to be about the most physically fit fighter ever. I’m sure if Marciano had anything to do with writing this book there had to be lots of valuable information regarding getting into shape. I’m sure a copy of “The Use of the Body” is a very rare find.

  9. Michael Moorer 01:48pm, 12/27/2013

    Teddy Atlas wants to remain private on his reading material? What’s up with that? He must be reading a lot of porn titles that he doesn’t want revealed.

  10. John 01:42pm, 12/27/2013

    I liked Jim Amato’s pick of “Boxing Is My Sanctuary” by Ted Sares. It’s an encyclopedia of boxing knowledge perfect for the fight fan. However, personally, I’d have to go with the classic “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. Sares’ book would take second place.

  11. Eric 12:49pm, 12/27/2013

    “War and Peace” is the 16th longest novel ever written. Always thought it was the longest.  Suprised Tyson didn’t read the equally huge “Les Miserables” while in prison.

  12. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:14am, 12/27/2013

    Let’s see now…Mark Medal likes “Cat in the Hat”.....count me in…... Leo Randolph loves the Bible and Ebony, OK…. so far….Alex Stewart likes to relax with Mary Higgins Clark…..great choice…. Mollo prefers Rocky’s book….makes sense….Roman Greenberg gets off on an Israeli spy thriller….what’s not to like…and George Foreman spends endless hours in the company of Tolstoy and according to quotes from “Undisputed Truth” Tyson is a Tolstoy and….wait for it…. Dostoyevsky buff.

  13. Pete The Sneak 06:24am, 12/27/2013

    Absolutely wonderful stuff Mr. Peter Wood. I will be following this enjoyable series very closely and already can’t wait for the next installment…A quick thought on Mike Tyson to add to what some of the other posters mentioned…Who would have thought that Tyson, who spent his childhood in the streets of Brooklyn robbing people, mugging old ladies and barely, if at all, attended any school would have found time to learn to read? I’m sure that was the Cus D’Amato affect and Mike probably started late, but it tells you nevertheless how intelligent Mike was to be able to grasp all this literary knowledge while at the same time learning to Box on top of everything else that was going on around him. Pretty impressive…Peace.

  14. nicolas 02:42am, 12/27/2013

    I agree with Eric about Tyson, and always felt that many members of the media were trying to make news with him, not report it. I remember even earlier in his career, when he was being interviewed by a guy I think named Roy Firestone on ESPN, and I saw in Tyson a thoughtful person.I would love to see Tyson being interviewed about literature.

  15. kid vegas 06:18pm, 12/26/2013

    I agree with Ted the Bull

  16. Ted 01:33pm, 12/26/2013

    Enjoyable and unique. Keep them coming, Peter.

  17. Ted 01:00pm, 12/26/2013

    Teddy’s answer is a tad strange. Reading is private? Huh!! Strange thing for an “author” to say.

  18. Eric 09:36am, 12/26/2013

    Maybe Juan McAmnesty needs to read “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” for a third time. Obviously, McCain never grasped why it was the Roman Empire fell.

  19. Ted 09:19am, 12/26/2013

    Holy moley!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Eric 08:37am, 12/26/2013

    Quite impressed with some of the selections by some of these fighters. “The Count of Monte Cristo” is yet another mammoth sized classic chosen by a fighter. These guys sure aren’t living up to the public’s stereotype of the dumb, semi-illiterate fighter. Can’t imagine James Toney devouring “War and Peace” or “Atlas Shrugged.” I always thought Mike Tyson was far more intelligent than he was perceived by the public.

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