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The Last Great Fight: The Extraordinary Tale of Two Men and How One Fight Changed Their Lives Forever Paperback – 28 October 2008
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- Language : English
- Paperback : 308 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312353316
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312353315
- Customer reviews:
"Joe Layden's meticulously researched study transports us from the Ali to the Tyson era....Layden is the first to take the full measure of the David in this David-and-Goliath storty...he offers a rich portrait of a soft-hearted former basketball standout who would secure the heavyweight crown only a few weeks after his mother died...the author manages to lay bare Tyson's own ambivalence toward the blood sport that would make him one of the most recognizable people in the world....The Last Great Fight succeeds in provoking a sense of tense anticipation about an event that is firmly etched in the memory of every boxing fan. And Layden's even-handed treatment of both the principals and the supporting cast provides a nuanced account of this epic moment." --The New York Times Book Review
"Layden had full access to the main players, and his interviews with the affable, star-crossed underdog provide a compelling perspective on the ultimate coulda-been." --ESPN The Magazine
"In prose that's as sharp as an uppercut, Layden revisits the day Douglas handed Mike Tyson his first loss. A generation of young fans know Tyson as a novelty act and boxing as a niche sport. Layden traces both declines to that night in Tokyo." --Sports Illustrated
"Boxing fans will want to add The Last Great Fight to the vast collection on great books on the Sweet Science, from Hemingway to A.J. Liebling to Norman Mailer. Just file it at the end of the shelf; it's the last book you'll ever need." --Los Angeles Times
"Compelling." --The Boston Globe
"Prose as crisp as a Sugar Ray Robinson jab." --Denver Post
"Layden's account of the crucial fight is tremendous. He has the kind of instinctive understanding of boxing that is rare in British writers: if one had to think of a point of comparison then Hugh MacIlvanney and the late Ian Wooldridge spring to mind." --Telegraph (UK)
"[An] exhilarating and hard hitting account. Boxing fans will want to add The Last Great Fight to the vast collection of great books on the Sweet Science, from Hemingway to A.J. Liebling to Norman Mailer. Just file it at the end of the shelf; it's the last book you'll ever need." --The Houston Chronicle
"Layden has researched and written the most compelling and moving book on the sweet science we've seen in years." --Booklist (starred review)
"A deeply reported, psychologically complex and artfully crafted examination of one of the biggest upsets in boxing history....Layden writes with the soulful, big-hearted tone of a Richard Russo novel." --Times Union (Albany, NY)
"Joe Layden's The Last Great Fight tells you everything you need to know about James" --Buster" Douglas' monumental upset of Mike Tyson."The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
"Exceptional....Vivid detail....Besides getting interviews with Douglas and Tyson, Layden has interviewed everyone who had any role in the event." --Nashville City Paper
"Joe Layden has talked to all the key figures involved and his account of the fight is compelling." --The Independent (UK)
"Layden should have a Ph. D in street psychology. I challenge anyone even remotely interested in what makes both ordinary and extraordinary people tick to pick this book up and not have trouble putting it down. It grips you and grabs you, as it eloquently describes just how fickle to concept of fame and the consequence of obscurity can be. Not only will you find yourself rooting for Douglas, the quintessential underdog, but also for Tyson, who in his own tragic way is no less of an underdog....It will make you laugh and cry, sometimes on the same page. Most importantly, it will make you think...It was a great fight, not only for its historical significance, but also because of its unrelenting action. This book, however, is better than the fight. You can't get a more starred review than that." --www.thesweetscience.com
"A tremendously moving story about Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas...This book isn't just about boxing, and the sad state it's in today, but it's actually about these two flawed individuals who made boxing history." --The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY)
"Tell the truth. You missed the moment when Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson for the heavyweight championship of the world. The fight was in Tokyo and Iron Mike was going to destroy this unknown fatso, whack him out blah-blah....What did you know? So now you have a second chance. The all-time upset of boxing upsets is replayed here through the deft, sweet prose of Joe Layden; a ringside seat that shows not only the punches that were thrown but what was behind them. Don't miss it this time. The book is better than the fight and the fight was a wonder." --Leigh Montville, New York Times bestselling author of The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth and Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero
"With rich detail and robust prose, Joe Layden's account of Tyson-Douglas doesn't merely re-create the most unthinkable upset in boxing annals. It takes you into the corners, the locker rooms, the minds of the two protagonists, producing revelations that arrive in combinations and a story that packs a heavyweight punch." --Wayne Coffey, author of the New York Times bestseller The Boys of Winter
"The Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas fight resulted in the most spectacular upset in boxing history, yet it was an epic that has almost been forgotten. In The Last Great Fight, Joe Layden restores the fight to its rightful place in sports legend and fills in the spaces that other historians have missed. This is the best boxing book in the last 25 years." --Allen Barra, sports columnist, Wall Street Journal, and author of The Last Coach: A Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant.
About the Author
JOE LAYDEN is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer whose work has been honored by the New York Newspaper Publishers Association, the National Associated Press Sports Editors, the New York State Associated Press Association, and the International Reading Association/Children's Book Council.
Mr. Layden has written or co-written more than thirty books for adults and children, including The Last Great Fight and The Ghost Horse.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Instead, both guys fought courageously. Douglas dominated almost every moment of the fight, except for the closing seconds of the 8th round when Tyson dug down deep and floored Buster with an uppercut.
But Buster came back strong in round nine, and then he finished Tyson in the 10th round with a deadly payback uppercut, followed by four concussive blows. The end result was a dazed and battered Tyson, groping around on the canvas for his mouthpiece. Douglas' stunning victory is still considered by many today as the greatest upset in heavyweight championship history, even more of an upset than Braddock decisioning Max baer or Cassius Clay stopping Sonny Liston.
Layden goes on show how Douglas' managerial team was torn apart with dissension, and how Buster lost the itch for fighting. His weight ballooned up to 300 pounds. He lost some of the weight, but his flabby, weak and unprepared for his first title defense against Evander Holyfield. Evander would go on to knock Douglas out in the third round. Douglas would spend years and years fighting the battle of the bulge, putting on so much weight that he nearly died at one point while in a diabetic coma. Buster now raises his kids and enjoys retirement in the central Ohio area. he also has a home down in Marco Island, Florida. He is financially well off and looking for ways to help others.
Tyson, on the other hand, was effectively finished as a prodigy fighter. He would go on to have some decent moments in the ring, but his life would become characterized by an increasing number of brushes with the law. Even his ring performances would become memorable for their controversial moments, such as the ear biting incident in the second Holyfield fight, the punching out of the referee in the Savarese fight, and the leg biting incident in the prefight melee with Lennox Lewis and his entourage.
But Layden goes a step further by contending that not only were Douglas and Tyson in decline after their fight, but that Boxing was in decline after their fight. No one in the heavyweight ranks came forward who had the style and charisma (and circus atmosphere) of Tyson.
While I feel that it is a bit of an overstatement to tie the decline of boxing's popularity with the decline of Tyson himself, Layden makes a very interesting case and his book cannot be ignored.It is one of the best boxing books that I have read, and I highly recommend it.
The Tyson-Douglas Fight is one of the most underappreciated moments of modern sports history, primarily because (a) it occured overseas right before the advent of the Internet and 24 hours News (b) Mike Tyson has now become more of a punch line than what he was in 1990 - arguably the most feared and greatest fighter in boxing history. Objectively speaking, Douglas over Tyson represents the greatest upset in the entire history of modern sports. In light of that, this is a book that truly had to be written.
Layden does a great job of analzying the fight/fighters in a Before/During/After narrative structure that is extremely detailed, fast-pasted and filled with fascinating ancedotes. I could not put the book down (read it in one day) and found it equally fascinating, depressing, and inspirational. There are many life lessons one to can learn from this story and for anyone interested in sports (and what they mean in a larger life context), this book is a must-read. Tip of the hat to Joe Layden - great job.
The author does a fine job of detailing Buster's life and his memorable upset bout against "Iron Mike." Few details are spared, as the author, Joseph Leyden, really did his homework. Frankly, I never knew Douglas was such an interesting guy.
The people surrounding both Douglas and Tyson also are fascinating. Especially interesting is the insight on Don King. It all makes for a very good read.
It's a cliche, but you don't have to be boxing fan to enjoy this book.