"My life is
the truth, and the truth is a mystery," Berbick said a few days before the
fight. "One day there will be a book about my life which will solve all my
mysteries. Like, I should have been dead and gone."
Berbick replied, "that is one of the mysteries."
background also contains a few mysteries, which is why he opened as a 6-to-1
underdog to Tyson, although the odds had dropped to a more reasonable 3-to-1 by
fight time. The 32-year-old champ—that's by his own count; he is listed as 34
in The Ring Record Book, and 33 in his own press kit—had a 31-4-1 record. Three
of those losses came at the hands of such lightly regarded opponents as
Bernardo Mercado (KO 1), Renaldo Snipes (a 10-round decision) and S.T. Gordon
(another 10-round decision), who's a cruiserweight, for goodness' sake. But he
also has victories over Muhammad Ali and Greg Page and he did force Larry
Holmes, then the WBC heavyweight champion, to go the full 15 rounds in a 1981
loss. And, most recently, there was that upset of Thomas in the second bout of
the heavyweight title unification tournament which is cosponsored by Home Box
Office, the Las Vegas Hilton and the self-styled Dynamic Duo of promoters, Don
King and Butch Lewis.
morning, Tyson arose out of habit at 5:30 a.m. and breakfasted on a bowl of
raisin bran, augmented by some chicken fingers and shrimp left over from the
night before. Berbick, who is normally a big eater, ignored breakfast.
Around 1 p.m.,
Tyson ate some pasta. Berbick, deciding he was hungry, went to the Venetian
Restaurant with Angelo Dundee, who had come aboard as the champion's latest in
a long line of trainers. Berbick distractedly picked at pasta and chicken.
At 4 p.m. Tyson
had a steak.
later, as he waited for the car that would take him to the Hilton Center,
Tyson, who had weighed in on Friday at 221� pounds, fueled up for the last time
with home-cooked vermicelli and tomato sauce, washed down with orange juice.
Finally satiated, Tyson left for the arena.
At 7:20, Tyson
was the first fighter to enter the ring, dressed in his customary black trunks,
a color choice that cost him a $5,000 fine. Knowing that Tyson preferred black,
Dundee, exercising a champion's prerogative had selected that color for
"It will be
like cutting the hair off a Goliath," said Dundee.