Back on his feet, Bruno nodded when Steele asked him if he was all right. Later in the round he caught the recklessly charging Tyson with a jarring hook to the jaw, freezing the champ for a moment. A few seconds later Bruno fired a combination—straight right, left hook—to the jaw that forced Tyson to back up a step. "Yeah, I was stung—I could feel my legs twitch," Tyson said with a shrug later. "But I expected it. We are in the hurt business."
For all the admiration Bruno earned, in particular from the 2,000 of his countrymen in the announced crowd of some 9,800, he displayed more stubbornness than skill. He tends to stand up straight and has very little mobility, and his pawing jab did not prevent Tyson from bulling in. After the third round, Tyson sensed that the challenger was wearing down. "I could feel him breaking slowly," the champion said.
In his corner, Tyson's novice seconds were all but begging him to go to the body. Tyson's former trainer, Kevin Rooney—fired for "disloyalty"—was working with two amateur boxers at a Golden Gloves tournament in Schenectady, N. Y. Another of the champ's former cornermen. Steve Lott, watched the bout with the spectators in the Hilton Center. "It doesn't matter what they tell him in the corner—Mike won't listen anyway," said Lott, grinning.
Bright, who grew up with Tyson in D'Amato's Catskill. N.Y., home, was working his first pro fight. His instructions to the champ were to attack Bruno with rights to the body, followed by left hooks. "I watched enough tapes of Bruno to know that he could be hit," said Bright. "We kept telling Mike to do the things we had practiced, but he stayed too far away. He should have been right on top of Bruno."
In the fourth and fifth rounds, as Bruno continued to unravel, Tyson did begin to snap right hands to the body. "How dare these boxers challenge me with their primitive skills?" he would say. "It makes me angry. They're just as good as dead."
Midway through the fifth, Tyson dug a left hook into Bruno's right side, drawing a grunt of pain. Seeing Bruno moving back against the ropes, Tyson caught the challenger with a right-left combination, forcing him to cover up. The champion paused, ever so briefly, and studied his opponent, a butcher calculating the quickest way to carve a side of beef. Tyson turned slightly to the left, feinting a hook, then shifted quickly to his right and fired two flashing rights. The first caught Bruno in the side; the second started low and screamed upward, catching the challenger under the chin, lifting his head up and back. That was it. The barrage continued and Bruno's face turned bloody. Steele stopped the fight at 2:55 of the round.
Before the bout, veteran trainer Eddie Futch had lauded Tyson as "the hardest-punching heavyweight since Joe Louis." Nobody disputed him. Like Louis, Tyson showed that even on a bad night, he can be daunting.