If you’re wondering what there is left to say about Mike Tyson, try Money, Myth and Betrayal. Even people numb to corruption in boxing will be shocked anew. To those such as Don King and Robin Givens who have contributed to the mess that is Tyson’s career, Illingworth adds a few surprises: Cus D’Amato, the legendary trainer credited with being Tyson’s savior, is revealed as a self-serving old man who spoiled Tyson so he could get one more champion before he died. According to the author, Jim Jacobs and Bill Cayton, who ”inherited” Tyson from D’Amato, got the fighter to sign contracts that served their ends better than his. Former boxing champion and New York State Athletic Commission chairman Jose Torres shed his sainthood by writing a gratuitously vicious biography of the champ. The press does not look much better: Either shills for promoter Don King or Monday-morning moralists, they ignored the sins of those who plotted against Tyson.
Unfortunately, the errors in Money — Torres won one title, not two; Floyd Patterson beat Ingemar Johanssen twice, not three times — may make fight purists dismiss it. But remember, purists are the ones who bought the myths about Tyson in the first place. B+