Luis Fernandez asked:


what do you guys think??

Steve’s answer:

In my personal opinion Tyson in his prime was the greatest boxer of all time. Since then he’s lost to fighters who were ‘nobody’ on the scale of world boxing history, but that doesn’t negate his past accomplishments. In his prime I believe he could have beaten Ali and Marciano.

But putting that aside, let’s talk about his training. I’ve researched Tyson for years and I’ve watched loads of footage of him, and this clip is one of many I’ve seen of Tyson working out. When you see him working, you can see that he trained specifically for what he needed to do, and that was to evasively close in and take out with a devastating barrage of punches, guys who often were far bigger than him in height, weight and reach.

It was only when he stopped fighting in this aggressive, evasive-entry way that he began to lose. He started to stand outside, in the very range that taller fighters could dominate him.

In the clip you also see the ferocious intensity of the guy, and his persistence in replicating the technicality of his moves. He wasn’t just an angry guy, he was a fighter with a lot of direction. And he had a boxing brain second to none with regards to its history and technique. Tyson isn’t just the ‘animal’ people make him out to be.

Tyson has inspired me in many ways, not only for the physicality of the way he moves, but the ferocity with which he delivers his shots. And when I watched him in the early days, he reinforced my understanding of how the head as a major target must be evasive but also must lead the body.

Tyson is a great example of someone who, in his prime, trained specifically as he needed to fight. He had the natural psychological and physical attributes, but they needed to be honed in a specific way. If only the martial arts community understood that and began to do the same, then the martial arts would be far better for it.

Think about it. He’s in the gym. He’s working out at high intensity, in environments that are not pretty. They’re not decorated for effect and he hasn’t got any fancy equipment. Everything is functional. No crutches. And that’s how martial arts should be. Boxing gyms at this level represent the Spartan approach that all martial arts could learn from, from amateur right up through professional.

Boxing is standup only and striking only, but the training environment and way of going about training can be easily applied and transferred to any martial art training, on the feet or on the ground. And that’s what I’d like to see, but all too often it’s quite the opposite.

All too often martial arts really aren’t about training. Training is blood, sweat and tears.

So when I look at that clip, I see a solitary man on a mission. He’s focused on what he’s got to do. Sure, he’s getting a lot of money but that focus started long, long before he ever started earning big bucks. In the martial arts at the moment, it seems to be me as an observer that many people aren’t focused at all. They’re all over the place, different seminar every weekend, cafeteria-style approach to putting a little of everything on their tray without knowing what they’re going to do with it.

Tyson’s mentor, Gus D’Amato, was a knowledgeable guy. A trainer that like has the eye to bring on talent and know how to direct it to best effect. There ain’t many of those on the ground. When Tyson fired Kevin Rooney, he made a big mistake. When you’ve got something good, stick to it.

But in the martial arts, a good trainer is very, very rare. You’ve got a lot of poor imitations, and a lot of guys teaching who haven’t got a clue.

So that’s what that clip means to me.