Mike Tyson would KO sparring partners quickly so he could get home in time for Tom and Jerry, says ex-bodyguard
MIKE Tyson would destroy training partners in minutes not for pleasure – but to just get home quickly to watch TV.
Tyson often turned a planned five-hour sparring session into less than 60 minutes of destruction because he was desperate to watch cartoons.
That is the insight from Tyson’s confidante, ex bodyguard and chauffeur Rudy Gonzalez, who had a ringside seat at fights and home battles during the New Yorker’s rise to infamy.
Speaking earlier this year, Gonzalez said: “When we trained in Vegas his sparring sessions were from 12 to 5pm.
“He would be the nicest guy beforehand asking the sparring partners: ‘How you doing today, how’s the family?’
“Then he would just knock five guys out so within an hour there was nobody left.
“I saw him punch the heavy bag so hard it broke a few times from the chains and the other boxers would just leave saying: ‘we are not f****** with you today. I do not care how much money you pay me.’
“Anyone who felt they were up for taking him on, he would hit them and they’d snap. Soon after they would pack their bags.
“So one day I asked: ‘Boss I am confused, isn’t this about working on techniques?
“He replied: ‘If I keep it going we will miss Tom and Jerry cartoons.’”
Tyson, who returned to the ring in an eight-round exhibition with Roy Jones Jr in 2020, has retained his love for cartoons, making his own Mike Tyson Mysteries series for Adult Swim.
Gonzalez was by Tyson’s side as he rose from the most terrifying teenage boxer in history to become the youngest heavyweight champion of all time aged 20.
Under the guidance of legendary trainer Cus D’Amato, who became Tyson’s legal guardian after serving time in juvenile prison, he transformed from teen criminal into a street fighting hoodlum and ultimately a polished power punching boxing phenom.
While living with D’Amato at his Catskills home, his training was far more regimented.
D’Amato passed months before Tyson became heavyweight champion in 1986.
BUILDING A BOXING FRANKENSTEIN
Gonzalez said: “When I first worked with him he had to be home by 9pm, because we were running 10 miles in the morning.
“His manager Jim Jacob and trainer Kevin Rooney along with Cus would make sure I enforced that training schedule.
“Mike was so disciplined. He would sit upstairs in the house studying boxing films for hours, seeing how different fighters moved and hit.
“Cus was injecting him with centuries of training. The peek a boo technique – it felt so clean and natural for him. Cus built a boxing Frankenstein.
“Cus would repeat over and over to Mike from the beginning, ‘Do you know you’re going to be heavyweight champion of the world someday?’
“If you say it enough times, you believe it. And if you believe it, then you’ll have no doubt.”
Gonzalez, whose book about his Tyson experiences – The Inner Ring – is being developed into an animated movie, added that other staff were terrified of Tyson during his training time.
Gonzalez has made headlines in the past with his book about his time with Tyson, pointing the finger at promoter Don King for many of the star’s troubles.
He claims King ‘psychologically broke him’, adding: “Mike’s story would have had a different ending if Cus had lived longer.
“His sister Denise always made me promise to keep Mike away from Don, calling him a clown.”
He claimed that he witnessed ‘deceit, betrayal, and fraud perpetrated’ upon Tyson
The Inner Ring (Premium Edition): The Set-Up of Mike Tyson and the Uncrowning of Don King Paperback is available now to buy.
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