When This Writer Met Cus D’Amato, Jim Jacobs and Mike Tyson!
By Ken Hissner: It was September 13th, 1980, when I was in Catskill, New York. I had met Cus D’Amato and Kevin Rooney in Scranton, PA after Rooney defeated Garland Wright three days earlier. I invited myself to Catskill.
Upon arriving, I also met Camile Ewald, who ran the house, and you saw how all the guys respected her and knew she was in charge. You had to like her. Cus and I talked from about nine at night to three in the morning, and Camile let me know not to keep him up that late again. She was right, and after our talk, I felt Cus was a genius.
Mike Tyson was 15, and I knew nothing about him. We watched videos in his bedroom supplied by Jim Jacobs (would co-manage Tyson as a pro), who I once had lunch with. On the way to the restaurant, we met his wife, Lorraine. Jacobs was a class act. Tyson loved watching Jack Dempsey, no robe, no socks, etc. We also watched my No. 2 all-time favorite Kid Gavilan get robbed by Bobo Olson.
At the dinner table was among others Teddy Atlas and Rooney. We watched Patrick Ford, whom I felt beat Salvador Sanchez though he lost a majority decision. On another visit in 1984, we were at the gym, and the Hiltons of Canada were there. Davey, Sr., his sons Davey, Jr., Matthew, and Alex. The father always wanted Cus to train him.
Years later, after Jim Jacobs and Cus D’Amato had passed away, I got a call from Mike asking about David Jaco, with who he had an upcoming fight with in January of 1986. I told him, “he’s just a big white guy, don’t worry.” Mike stopped him in 2:16 of the first round.
After retiring, Tyson and I met again in Bethlehem, PA, at a boxing event at the casino where he was involved with a promotional group. I gave him a picture of me with Cus and Kevin. During the event, he was talking with Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes. Having had a run-in with Holmes in 1983 when I promoted a show in Easton where he threatened, saying, “I ought to beat the sh*t out of you. Next time I tell you something, don’t go to my brother. I had asked Mark to be on the show in an exhibition, and he had it ass-backward.
After that, I wrote an article calling it “Tyson-Holmes 2” and said the last time they fought, Holmes’s feet were up in the air! I never passed up a chance to take a shot at Holmes! Like when Nick Wells knocked him out twice in the amateurs. How “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon and Carl “The Truth” Williams beat him and got robbed, as well as when Butterbean knocked him down. Most recently when his future trainer Ernie Butler knocked him out in the gym days after Holmes approached him to train him.
I can still see President to be Donald J. Trump sitting next to Muhammad Ali at ringside. Ali entered the ring, touching gloves with Holmes and then going to Tyson whispering in his ear probably something like “kick his ass!”
Getting back to Tyson, he was never the same after Rooney stopped training him. I remember when he entered the ring with Buster Douglas, he paced back and forth before the fight started like a hungry lion before he became the victim. Tyson was surrounded by good people while they were alive.
It was quite an experience meeting Cus, Jim, and Mike!
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