usually dresses only in trunks and shoes, without socks, arrived in the ring
wearing a white Hilton bath towel, with a head hole hacked out, as a warming
cape. "It was cold out and we wanted him to stay warm on the walk from the
dressing trailer to the Center," said Steve Lott, a Tyson aide. "We
just forgot to take it off when we got inside the building."
Berbick to keep the challenger waiting in the ring, and he had added a pair of
punching mitts to his equipment bag so that he could work with his man in the
corner to keep him at fighting heat. No need. Berbick, 218�, arrived on time, a
vision in black, including a floor-length hooded robe and knee-high black socks
that he had purchased only that morning.
Dundee reminded Berbick in the corner, "Don't forget: Box him; move
side-to-side; don't go head-to-head." Berbick nodded even as he was
dismissing the advice. All week the champion had been saying that no little guy
( Tyson is generously listed at 5'11"; Berbick is an honest 6'2�") was
going to beat him.
Tyson went right
to work, following an angry jab with hooks and right hands that he accurately
described later as being thrown with "murderous intent and precision."
His target was Berbick's left ear. "I wanted to bust his eardrum," he
the first round, a Tyson right whipped Berbick's head about, and the
soon-to-be-former champ staggered backward. After that moment, he was never in
the fight; 20 seconds before the bell another right sent Berbick to his corner
head-hunting," Rooney told Tyson. "You've got to go to the body first,
then the head."
Ten seconds into
the second round, a right dropped Berbick; he jumped up immediately and
unwisely. Still he refused to run. "I made a silly mistake," he said
later. "I tried to prove my manhood."
Near the end of
the second round, that mistake got him knocked silly. Tyson ripped Berbick with
a right hand to the kidney, missed a right uppercut and then slammed a left
hook to Berbick's temple. For a moment, Berbick hung there; then, like a puppet
who had just had his strings snipped, he collapsed onto his back. At the count
of three he struggled up but lurched into the ropes. At six, he was up, only to
tumble over onto his right shoulder. At nine, he stayed up, swaying like a reed
in an every-which-way wind.