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“He Hates It”: 37 Years After His Father Figure’s Death, Mike Tyson Finally Shares the Truth Behind Famous Intimate Moment

Published 05/20/2023, 10:00 AM EDT

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Mike Tyson broke out in a cold sweat in front of one man. It was his father figure, Cus D’Amato. D’Amato was well into his 70s when he became Tyson’s legal guardian. Tyson’s knockout abilities back in his amateur days stemmed from D’Amato’s voice screaming inside Tyson’s head, “Try and punch through your opponent, not at him.” Conversely, Tyson was like a body double for Cus to re-live the adrenaline rush of a young man.

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Violence and greatness were one and the same thing for the trainer. Tyson admitted to Cus being “just a bunch of rage.” Talking to the New York Times about his mind games, Tyson “soon learned to walk on eggshells around him.” Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining.

A memento of Mike Tyson and D’Amato


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The titan of the boxing world opened up about a deeply personal keepsake from his past in a podcast hosted by Patrick Bet-David and guests Michael Franzese and Adam Sosnick. As the podcast conversation drifted towards Tyson’s relationship with D’Amato, host Patrick Bet-David asked a poignant question, “Do you in your house or your office have a picture of him?” Tyson, without hesitation, confirmed, “Absolutely.”

But the dialogue didn’t stop there. Tyson was prompted to share more about his favorite photograph with D’Amato. In response, Tyson opened up a world seldom seen by the public. He shared, “Um, me hugging him,” indicating that his preferred moment captured with D’Amato was not one surrounded by the typical boxing ring fanfare, but a quieter, more intimate instance.


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Immediately intrigued by this revelation, Bet-David queried if the moment was captured post-fight. Tyson was quick to dispel this assumption. The candid photo was simply them “taking a picture.” This revelation, suggesting it wasn’t a known or public image, piqued the curiosity of both the podcast hosts and listeners.


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Eager to identify the photograph in question, Bet-David proceeded to explore various images via Google. As he pointed out various photos, Tyson patiently negated each until they landed on the correct image. It was then that Tyson humorously recreated D’Amato’s reaction to the intimate moment, “He’s like get that off me. He hates it man. What are you doing get off.”

This part of their conversation offered listeners a precious glimpse into a personal, seldom-seen aspect of Tyson and D’Amato’s relationship. Despite D’Amato’s rough exterior and his aversion to such close interactions, Tyson cherished this captured moment of warmth and affection, a testament to the complex, deep bond between the boxing legend and his mentor.

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It begs the question- how often do we overlook the personal dimensions of public figures, particularly those in the tough world of sports like boxing? Moreover, it opens a window for introspection. How do our own relationships and mentors impact our lives, sometimes in ways unseen by the world around us?

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Written by:

Mrinal Mishra


One take at a time

Mrinal Mishra is a Boxing writer at EssentiallySports, who is dedicated to covering live events with a special emphasis on influencer boxing events. With a focus on storytelling, Mishra strives to bring to light the stories of fighters that often go untold. As a big fan of Mike Tyson, Mishra believes that boxing will remain relevant for eternity, and he is committed to covering the sport with the respect and admiration it deserves.
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Edited by:

Shibu Immanuel