Who would have thought that Muhammad Ali’s defiant repudiation of American foreign policy, in the mid-1960s considered virtually traitorous by some observers, would come to be, in the decade to follow, a widespread and altogether respectable political position?
Joyce Carol Oates writes on the rise and fall of Mike Tyson in a series of essays following his career.
The scandal of Holyfield-Tyson II forces admirers of boxing to consider: Why is biting any more demonic than fighting itself? Its demonism isn’t conventional, that’s all.
Mike Tyson’s conviction on rape charges in Indianapolis is a minor tragedy for the beleaguered sport of boxing, but a considerable triumph for women’s rights. For once, though bookmakers were giving 5-1 odds that Tyson would be acquitted, and the mood of the country seems distinctly conservative, a jury resisted the outrageous defense that a rape victim is to be blamed for her own predicament.
There is an unsettling air about Tyson, with his impassive death’s-head face, his unwavering stare, and his refusal to glamorize himself in the ring—no robe, no socks, only the signature black trunks and shoes—that the violence he unleashes against his opponents is somehow just.
Confronted with an opponent like “Bonecrusher” Smith, who violates the decorum of the ring by not fighting, Tyson is at a loss; he hits his man after the bell, in an adolescent display of frustration.
A longtime aficionado of the sweet science, Oates first became interested in boxing as a child, as an offshoot of her father’s interest.
Joyce Carol Oates attended a screening of James Toback’s documentary Tyson with the director and Iron Mike himself, and participated in a Q & A session, as reported in New […]
John Ranard We note the death of social-documentary photographer John Ranard last month, best known to Joyce Carol Oates fans for his work included in her book On Boxing. Quoted […]