Few things in life could be as terrifying as facing Mike Tyson in the ring at his peak.
I still remember seeing the fear in Michael Spinks’ eyes before joining the man with the impressively impassive stare there.
The fight was memorable for all kinds of reasons.
In 1988 it was the richest fight in boxing history though as Spinks only lasted 91 seconds it is doubtful whether he can be truly said to have earned his purse.
Tyson threw eight punches, Spinks two, and that was that.
One writer memorably described the bout, such as it was, as like watching a gym teacher running around the ring as fast as his legs could take him.
For the next decade or so Tyson dominated the ring like few others have done.
His raw, boxing untutored violence had a magnetic pull and he quickly became “the baddest man on the planet.”
Now Iron Mike has published his fascinating autobiography Undisputed Truth detailing everything from his rapacious sex life to a major drug habit.
His story is compelling for all kinds of reasons but mainly for his unsparing account of his self-destructive habits.
There is the classic paradox of the iron man who spared no-one in the ring and dreamt of pushing rivals’ noses back into their brains but who was desperately vulnerable, even child-like inside.
Millions upon millions of dollars were frittered away and he spent a spell in prison for the rape of a beauty queen, a conviction he is still appears to be unhappy with.
As one writer neatly put it he now has nothing to sell but his own myth.
From the extracts I have read so far the most interesting, as is often the case, are those detailing his time in prison for the rape.
Given his worldwide notoriety he soon had well-wishers sending him huge amounts of money and gifts making his stay more enjoyable – no prison food for him!
His personality manipulative nature immediately came to the fore and it was not long before he enticed a female officer into a sexual relationship.
Sadly for Mike she was rather on the hefty side and he writes wryly that he was glad he had kept up with his weights...