This world is
sick, this world is evil. Mike is 19. Now he can stop fooling himself. He has
always been happiest alone.
to die," his assistant manager, Steve Lott, is saying. "That's what
makes him the best fighter in the world. He's like a Roman gladiator: He's
ready to die."
were slaves. Seven decades before Christ, a gladiator named Spartacus rebelled.
Seventy other gladiator slaves, as outraged by the world as he. followed his
lead; together they brought their masters down. The insurrection swelled to an
army of 70,000 that marched to the outskirts of Rome, that was poised to topple
the empire, to bring all the old laws and institutions down, down, down....
hesitated. Rebellion here wasn't personal. He found himself retreating to the
place where his heart first cried out, back to what was purest in his life, to
the land where it was easy and right to rebel, to fight, even to die.
Brownsville. Through the shadows, past the rubble and skulls, walking wide and
nonchalant moves Mike Tyson. He comes here after every fight, sometimes breaks
training to come before. Beneath a streetlight, something gleams. Take off the
$80,000 diamond-studded wristwatch when you go there, his friends have begged
him. Take off the 30 grand worth of rings. Man, you're crazy, get yourself a
No. They don't
start staring at things when he's there, in a daze," says his friend Rory
Holloway. "It's like he has to get something out of his system."
Or, perhaps, back
Mess with me.
Right here, in the rubble. Somebody. Anybody. Here it will be right to hit,
here it will be pure.
An old woman,
crazy with poverty, shambles up the sidewalk. He folds three $100 bills into a
tight roll, tucks it so nimbly into her hand that she barely feels it. Can
people understand? A chairman of an organized charity calls, he might agree to
appear, he might mumble an excuse and hang up. When no one's watching he will
slip hundreds inside palms and pocketbooks of poor people—reverse pickpocket
them—or bolt out of a car to help someone old hobble across the street. This
way it's right to give. This way it is pure.