"Tyson won't find Berbick running, like all those guys he's been knocking over. Against Tyson, running is fatal. You have to slide one side or the other, take his momentum away, or move back and hit him with a good counter. He has to get you in clinches or on the ropes to operate on you.
"Berbick has had terrific sparring. He's been working with cruiserweights Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Bernard Benton. He's licking his chops at the thought that for once he won't have to chase, that Tyson will be right there in his face. Trevor is a good body puncher and has 23 KOs to his credit. He's confident and so am I. I think he will stop Tyson in a late round."
Such a possibility did not weigh on Mike Tyson as the fight approached. Surfacing from the enveloping depths of concentration mentioned earlier, he talked quietly in Las Vegas of the inordinately long road he has traveled to this Saturday night in Nevada. He recalled that even in his timid childhood days in New York he had probably been basically aggressive "because I always liked wrestling and karate but never had the confidence to try anything like that."
Then he recalled, in a voice close to a whisper, the precise nature of the experience that had changed him. Some accounts have it that an older boy tried to steal one of the pigeons Tyson still adores as pets. Well...yes, but it was much worse. The older boy grabbed the bird and ripped its head off in front of Tyson, releasing a flood of belligerence in him that only D'Amato had been able to check and channel. Still more wistfully, Tyson thought back to the friends he had known in his street-running days in Brownsville. "Some of those fellas had real talent. They could have made something if they had stuck it out, but they're not around anymore. They're gone, some dead, others in jail. I know how easily I could have joined them."
The narrowness of his escape causes Tyson to shun distractions while in training. "What bothers me most is being around people who are having a lot of fun, with parties and stuff like that. It makes you soft. People who are only interested in having fun cannot accomplish anything."
Jacobs is convinced that Mike Tyson will accomplish a great deal, that he has been destined for the fight game's version of immortality since the day that his "extremely high intelligence and physical gifts" were first exposed to the genius of Cus D'Amato. "I have zero trepidation," says Jacobs. "This is the best heavyweight in the world, and he is about to prove it."