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Special Moves: Mike Tyson and the D'Amato Shift

25 years after his fall from grace, Bad Left Hook's technique analyst Connor Ruebusch breaks down the tricky footwork that made "Iron" Mike Tyson a champion in the first place.

25 years ago Mike Tyson lost his title to Buster Douglas. Naturally, the boxing and combat sports world has gathered to produce a number of beautiful, poetic, and insightful pieces on the rise and fall of one of boxing's most enduring figures, whose time at the top lasted a mere three and a half years, but whose legacy and life continue to captivate the world.

Tyson's fall from grace is a subject worthy of discussion, but as a technical analyst, I'd like to think that there's value yet in exploring the tools and tricks that got him to the top in the first place.

Cus D'Amato, the creator of the Peekaboo boxing system, produced three champions, all of them excellent defensive boxers and knockout punchers. In addition to a unique (and, ultimately, physically debilitating) style of head movement, D'Amato designed his fighters' footwork to accommodate angles and enhance their ability to hit, without being hit in return. As great as Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres were, nobody understood how to use D'Amato's system like Tyson, and today we analyze one of his signature pieces of footwork, a movement I have dubbed the D'Amato Shift.

If you have trouble with the embedded player above, feel free to watch this video on Youtube. While you're there, subscribe to MMA Nation for more videos like this, as well as interviews and lots of fighting discussion.

For more analysis, check out Heavy Hands, the only podcast dedicated to the finer points of face-punching. This week, Connor and Pat break down the concept of rhythm--which is essential to fighting and all forms of human movement--and the great fighters that use it to their advantage.

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