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Mike Tyson’s ear fixation, and mine

Round 1

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“Like Dempsey, he has the power to galvanize crowds as if awakening in them the instinct not merely for raw aggression and the mysterious will to do hurt that resides, for better or worse, in the human soul, but for suggesting the incontestable justice of such an instinct.”

— Joyce Carol Oates, “On Mike Tyson”

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On June 28, 1997, in Las Vegas, during the rematch fight between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson—a fight billed as “The Sound and The Fury”—things weren’t going well for The Fury.

Tyson had already been beaten badly by Holyfield in the previous fight, suffering a TKO, or “technical knockout,” in the 11th round after a sustained pummeling. That match had shown Tyson to be vulnerable, and he looked every part of the sports cliché “a shadow of his former self.” He made excuses afterward, claiming Holyfield had used intentional head-butts to cut and daze him when the two fighters entered into a clinch. Most people believed Tyson had lost his edge, had grown fat on the largess of his life or been corrupted by the influence of Don King—all of which was true.

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