Both Tyson and Fedor have been dubbed ‘baddest man on the planet’ but while both were or are top of their respective games they are very different men. Last night I watched documentaries on each of the ‘Worlds baddest’ and while one rose and faded the other continues to rise and looks unlikely to fade in anything like the same way. Nevertheless there are interesting parallels.
By the time Tyson became the youngest ever World Champion he had a fantastic team around him. Cus D’Amato had taken him out of reform school and away from his troubled neighbourhood in New York and with Kevin Rooney and Teddy Atlas was guiding his boxing potential. After D’Amato died Rooney took responsibility for Tysons training, resulting in his distinctive style that brought him success and fame.
Tyson’s Peek-a-Boo style allowed him to slip and weave his way in close, avoiding his opponents punches, allowing his devastating speed, power, and aggression to wreck the other fighter. In the documentary “The Tyson Story” Kevin Rooney time and again mentions how Tyson, right from the start threw punches with ‘Bad Intention’. That’s the phrase he uses; ‘Bad Intention’. You only have to watch him training to see that while the knockouts are dripping with bad intention.
For me this ‘Bad Intention’ is the overriding similarity between Tyson and Fedor. If you watch Fedor training the same ‘Bad Intention’ is evident and again he’s dripping with ‘Bad Intention’ in the ring. In the documentary ‘Baddest man on the planet’ Fedor says he trains “relentlessly, like an engine”. He has a strong team around him practicing with his trainer Aleksander Michkov for many years, he is comfortable with his surroundings and just gets on with it. His aggressive style re-wrote ground and pound in MMA.
Outside the arena there are similarities, both literally fought their way out of poverty, both liked to fight as kids but I can’t see Fedor fading the way Tyson faded, he just doesn’t have the distractions. Tyson faded because of those distractions and sacking Rooney was clearly a mistake, he changed his fighting style and became a beatable fighter, and then there were the frustrations boiling over with inexcusable results in and out of the ring.
Despite the inexcusable side to Tyson the ‘Bad Intention’ in the punches, training and the fights is key; besides Fedor has shown that these inexcusable outcomes are NOT inevitable. Regardless, this ‘Bad Inntention’ is the type of thing you get from Steve Morris’s assertion to ‘Watch the Fight’ take it, absorb it and use it in training. This ‘Bad Intention’ attitude can then be taken from training into the fight if you have one, in either a sporting or in self-defence setting. In essence you’re preparing properly and you will improve.