Mike Tyson is a cultural phenomenon: heavyweight boxing champion, author, movie actor, Broadway star, tiger owner, felon, tabloid gossip mainstay. His memoir, Undisputed Truth, was a New York Times bestseller. While no one is disputing the truth he tells in his book, it is clear that he has not told the entire story. That task goes to his one-time best friend, entourage wrangler, and manager, Rory Holloway, in Taming the Beast: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson (written with Eric Wilson), Holloway’s memoir of his fifteen years with Tyson.
The Beast is, no surprise, Tyson himself. When it came to getting the Champ ready to enter the ring, from his training to deal-making to extricating him from problems and relationships with individuals such as Robin Givens and her gold-digging mother, promoter Don King and everyone else under the sun, that job fell to Rory Holloway. Holloway met Tyson in 1982, when the future champ was sixteen and living in a juvenile detention home in upstate New York. Tyson soon was living in Holloway’s family Albany home. Holloway and Tyson became best friends—brothers, you could say—even before Tyson began a climb that would take him to the pinnacle of the sports and entertainment worlds. Holloway believed in Mike and would do anything for him. But rather than lock up Tyson to keep him out of harm’s way, Holloway climbed right into the cage and closed the door behind him.
In Taming the Beast, Holloway comes clean on all things Tyson, from Mike’s sex addiction, to his comically horrible driving, to his wild man approach to life. He breaks down the entourage—who was good for the Champ, who wasn’t—and deals with the criticism he faced as Tyson spun more and more out of control. When Tyson spit out Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997, he also spit out his longtime friendship with Holloway.
Compassionate, hilarious, and terribly sad, Taming the Beast is the story of a man so out of touch with reality that he ultimately distances himself from the only people who have his best interests at heart, severing the brotherhood that once existed in favor of yes-men who could supply him with the best drugs and the most hookers. It is a devastating story of watching, helpless, from a ringside seat as your best friend self-destructs and you cannot do a damn thing about it.
Painfully frank, street-wise, and cathartic, Taming the Beast pulls no punches with its question-and-answer style. It is the book every Tyson fan needs on his nightstand for the undisputed whole truth.