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Book Review #50 – Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography by Mike Tyson

We have read and heard hundreds of stories of fallen heroes, but I bet you mustn’t have read anything like Undisputed Truth.

The book, that you can buy here, is Mike Tyson’s ruthless depiction of his own life. Unlike many, he makes no effort to defend himself or hide his dark side. Reading the book is a unique experience and feels like listening to a man pouring his soul in front of you.

Grown on the streets of New York, the Iron Mike was once a lowlife boy. He was bullied as a kid and trained on the streets to be a thug. He could have died there on the streets or continued to be criminal, but things changed when he met Cus D’Amato.

D’Amato proved to be a crazed coach who filled Tyson’s life with ambition, aggression, and egomania. His boxing philosophy and training fed Mike’s animalistic ferocity and egomania. In 1986, the 20-years old boy became a sensation and was hailed as the youngest heavyweight champion of the time.

If you aren’t a fan of boxing the next part may seem like a drag. Reading about Mike’s training and successes and then some more successes. This is not a long part though, and you will soon get to the part where his decline starts.

But I found it interesting. Reading about the transformation of a street boy to a world-known, praised and idolized champion. From someone scared to rise against bullies to a man who was feared in history for his prowess. The transformation is not incidental or magical. It is a journey.

Tyson doesn’t hold off in giving Cus the credit he owed and deserved. Cus had already proven his mentorship by leading Floyd Patterson and José Torres to world championships. The man, who took six minutes to evaluate the troubled boy he met and anticipate a great future for him.

Cus stayed an important character in the book, almost like a fatherly figure.

At one point, he was practically living in Cus’s house. That was the only functional family that Tyson had in his life. He wonders, and so do I as a reader, that maybe his fall and decline wouldn’t have come that fast and wouldn’t have been so ugly if Cus was still there for him.

Tyson is pretty blunt about this part of his life. This is one of the things that makes this book so interesting. He doesn’t hold off any wild thoughts and evil frolics from us. So much that he shares his wildest thoughts of eating the rival’s babies. He did get a little close to that when he bit off Holyfield’s ear.

There are so many fun and frantic stories hazed with alcohol and cocaine. Juggling dozens of girls and living a wild a life in his all Versace mansion, Tyson was on the route of self-destruction.

Tyson is in no way depicted as a decent man, he is rather filthy with a very despicable soul. You will be grossed out by so many instances in the book but still won’t be able to put it down.

There are only a few times when Tyson defends himself in the book. Once when talking about the rape allegations against a beauty pageant contestant in 1992. And, then again talking about his childhood and dysfunctional family.

What is exquisite about Undisputed Truth is that it is painfully crude and brutally honest. It has the rawness and crudeness that is classic Tyson. You will not find this book a patronizing memoir by a hotshot celebrity or a self-pitying, defending tell-tale by a fallen hero. This is what it says it is ‘undisputed’ account of truth.

Now I am not being an idealist, there might still be lies in the book. But I believe Tyson is as honest as human nature allows him to be. Ghost-written by Larry Sloman, Undisputed Truth is not a book to be missed.

Reviewed by;

Tonny Rutakirwa,


Tonniez Group Holdings,

Serving since 28th December 2008.

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