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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast read
This book was a very fast read for me. I finished it in a few days and would have done so quicker if I hadn't had to read it at Barnes and Noble. It really does give you a good feel of fighters' attitudes before they fought Tyson, and gives great insight into the personalities of the guys that fought Tyson. Furthermore, it tells what these men are up to now (Tony Tubbs =...
Published on December 1, 2006 by Brad

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If only the book lived up 2 the cover image
This wasn't a bad read at all just not exactly what I was expecting.

I copped this at a bookstore while on vacation in Florida and was able to get through it fairly easy that afternoon.

Kluck is a decent enough writer and "Facing Tyson" is chalked full of interesting, behind-the-scene tales from most of the top, choice few fighters who can say they...
Published on March 27, 2007 by stevey wundar


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast read, December 1, 2006
By 
Brad (Pensacola, Florida) - See all my reviews
This book was a very fast read for me. I finished it in a few days and would have done so quicker if I hadn't had to read it at Barnes and Noble. It really does give you a good feel of fighters' attitudes before they fought Tyson, and gives great insight into the personalities of the guys that fought Tyson. Furthermore, it tells what these men are up to now (Tony Tubbs = still fighting at 47, Bonecrusher Smith, selling cruise vacation packages, Peter McNeely, doing blue collar labor, Marvis Frazier, running the family gym with a positive outlook on life).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What happens after fighting Tyson?, December 29, 2008
Ted Kluck's Facing Tyson: Fifteen Fighters, Fifteen Stories ought to be required reading for anyone seeking a license to box. For the better part of two decades, Mike Tyson was the most famous fighter on the planet. Perhaps with more disciplined training later in his career, he could have been the best heavyweight ever. With a combination of speed, power and head movement, he sent bigger guys to the canvass with stunning regularity (50 wins, 44 by KO).

As interesting as Tyson the boxer and the personality may be, this is a book about those who were on the other side of the ring. Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Marvis Frazier and 'Bonecrusher' Smith are interviewed, among others. The best chapters are those lesser-known names that make up the crux of the pro boxing ranks. The jouyneymen who take fights for $1,000 on eight days' notice. Most forced to make a living outside boxing, but regularly risk their health for a bit of extra cash, and a chance at fame.

Many of the men profiled fought Tyson in hopes of richness and fame, not caring that they were more than likely to get knocked out. Sadly, corruption, theft, drugs, women and general mismanagement ate away whatever payday they got for facing the human tank in the ring.

Boxing is not for everyone. Even with all the natural gifts (athleticism, speed, power, etc.), without good training and excellent conditioning, a guy can get killed. This is a sport that should be more popular than football, were it not for the paper champions, pay-per-view business scheme and lack of a credible organization behind it. Kluck's work is a warning to every would-be boxer. We have only to look at the Tyson example for what can go wrong, even to one as Tyson, blessed with eye-popping skill.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If only the book lived up 2 the cover image, March 27, 2007
This wasn't a bad read at all just not exactly what I was expecting.

I copped this at a bookstore while on vacation in Florida and was able to get through it fairly easy that afternoon.

Kluck is a decent enough writer and "Facing Tyson" is chalked full of interesting, behind-the-scene tales from most of the top, choice few fighters who can say they went toe-to-toe with (once) one of the most feared men on the planet.

Where the book falls short, in my opinion, is in its inept detailing of raw, brutal honesty when it comes to getting to the root of Tyson's opponents and how they felt during their bout(s) with him.

Just look at that cover!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The power! The ripped physique! The blank, "who's next" glare on his face! That takes me back to my childhood and the Tyson who owned boxing.

Given this image, I was really hoping to read more "If the Incredible Hulk had a little brother, this is what he'd look like" or "The only thing I remember is wetting myself before and after the fight" kind've stories of terror from some of the fighters Tyson floored in less than a minute back in the day.

Now granted Tyson took his share of beatings as his career spiraled downhill, so I know these types of "fear tales" have a somewhat limited place.

But basically if you're reading this book hoping to know how Evander Holyfield trained to beat Tyson, how much money they had to pay Peter McNeeley to fight a recently-released-from-prison Tyson or what it felt like for Lennox Lewis to be bitten by a then disgraceful Tyson, you won't find those kind of answers here.

I can only imagine how being punched by Tyson in his prime felt -- something like running into a brickwall at 80 mph, maybe? -- and this book got me no closer.

Where it does succeed is in given intimate followup-type details on where these boxers are now in their lives & careers. Also, gold stars for putting each fight in perspective.

That's about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Facing Tyson Fails to Live Up to the Hype, July 26, 2013
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This review is from: Facing Tyson: Fifteen Fighters, Fifteen Stories (Hardcover)
Facing Tyson is a 272-page book that was published in 2006 featuring stories about Mike Tyson and 14 other fighters, including Sammy Scaff, Mitch Green, Marvis Frazier, Jose Ribalta, James "Bonecrusher" Smith, Pinklon Thomas, Tyrell Biggs, Tony Tubbs, Buster Mathis Jr., Evander Holyfield, Steve Lott, Lou Savarese, Lennox Lewis, and Kevin McBride. There are also three "Seconds Out" interludes with Larry Holmes, Peter McNeely, and Andrew Golota where author Ted A. Kluck relays details about his failure to get those interviews. This is Kluck's first book and he went on to write "Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion" and other Christian books. Technically, Steve Lott did not face Tyson as a fighter but he did manage Tyson at one point and is the President of the Boxing Hall of Fame. Despite the "15 Fighters, 15 Stories" subtitle only 13 fighters actually faced Tyson in the ring since Lott doesn't count and McBride features in 2 chapters (perhaps "13 Fighters, 13 Stories" was too superstitious). The real problem is that Tyson crushed half of these fighters within a round or two so that begs the question about what they could really say about the experience other than it being a painful payday. Four fighters represent Tyson's pre-champion era and while it would have been nice to hear from Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Frank Bruno and James Buster Douglas this book does provide info on most of Tyson's significant opponents. Kluck mentions that none of the people interviewed were paid for their participation so few nuggets of wisdom are offered to the reader. Each chapter is part biographical, part fight analysis, part interview, part "where are they now", and part dime-store philosophizing provided by Kluck.

The first chapter is Kluck's recounting of the post-fight press conference between Tyson and Kevin McBride while the last chapter also features McBride. Mitch Green and Lennox Lewis don't really give interviews since they make a few comments over the telephone to Kluck while they (presumably) turn the interview down. Buster Mathis Jr. and Lou Savarese saw boxing as a quick payday and both have moved on to less interesting careers (as far as storytelling goes). Bonecrusher Smith is a travel agent now. Tony Tubbs dreamed of winning the title again at age 47 and although he did string a few comeback wins together that prospect looks rather bleak now. Kevin McBride's comments seem sad (or funny) as he brags to a disinterested waitress about beating a faded Mike Tyson (Kevin then went on to lose 6 of 8 fights after his Tyson match). We also learn Evander Holyfield and Marvis Frazier have embraced God. At the time of writing some of Tyson's opponents have disappeared, are looking for compensation (Tony Tucker), are locked up in jail (Cliff Etienne & Henry Tillman), are currently evading the law (Razor Ruddock), declined the interview (Bruce Seldon) or wish to write their own books (James Buster Douglas) so their stories are not included. Personally, the best chapters were on Sam Scaff, Pinklon Thomas, and Tyrell Biggs (which are also the longest chapters in the book). The worst chapter featured Mitch Green. Many of the fighters offer stories about how Don King worked them over but a few thank him for his deal-making abilities.

Where the book fails is on making any of those people as interesting as Mike Tyson himself. While the book revolves around Tyson it really isn't about him. There is much more to Tyson than his opponents can tell you and there are few "aha" moments where you are genuinely surprised by what the fighters say about Tyson. The writing style seems pedestrian and lacks the flourish of a natural sports writer. To add insult to injury, Kluck is not a particularly good interviewer either. I'm not one to pull out the "rulebook" when it comes to writing but the run-on sentence is in abundance here, there are five word sentences galore, and many portions of the book are unclear. In the introduction, Kluck makes the mysterious comment, "And about finally taking her with me to Miami." The reader never learns the identity of this person who is presumably his wife or kid who tag along for the interviews. Kluck admits to not being a huge fan of boxing or Mike Tyson but acknowledges Tyson's place in sports history. Kluck tries to write an engaging story to make you feel like you are actually sitting there "ring-level" talking with the fighters but it doesn't really work. Kluck makes all sorts of odd comments in his attempt to be funny but he comes across as disinterested, jaded with human nature, and somewhat depressing at times. Some examples: "It's me getting shafted out of another interview, which could very well be the alternate title to this book", "Respect journalists who have flown 500 miles to be here", and Kluck also refers to himself as a celebrity and chastises one fighter for not doing a free interview because it will make him feel famous one more time. Kluck complains about his feet, his work, describes himself as a former "boxing apologist" because of the violent nature of the sport, admits to writing "crappy post-fight write-ups", and laments that his advance money had to be spent on airfare and cell phone bills (Ted, that's a tax write-off although I wonder why you bothered since the in-person interviews add little you couldn't have gotten from a tele-interview with the fighters). This isn't a tell-all book and it really isn't about Facing Tyson so much as skimpy interviews with the fighters. Only Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis are famous enough to warrant all the background info provided in this book while most of the rest of the fighters faded from the public consciousness long ago because they couldn't make a living in the ring.

The biographical info is good but the interviewees spend much less time talking about preparing for Tyson than you are led to believe by the title. Facing Tyson just wasn't very interesting although it did have its moments. The author's heart doesn't seem to be in it because this book doesn't live up to the hype and could have been so much better. It just missed the mark for me but some readers may appreciate it. There are better biographies on Tyson not to mention the excellent 2008 film "Tyson".
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good and quick read, February 15, 2008
By 
Peter (Melbourne Australia) - See all my reviews
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I was interested in this book as I wanted to see how the 15 fighters had fared since leaving the ring - had they retired well-to-do, financially comfortable or broke?

The author gives a breezy write-up on each fighter but doesn't really give us a look at the fighter today, more of a hint here and there on how they are going.

A good read if you want people's thoughts on facing Tyson.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as it could, February 7, 2014
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Mr Kluck inserts a little too much of himself in this book for my liking . I wish he would have let the fighters speak for themselves a la Hellers book on past boxing champs. Some purple prose at times , but worth a look.. I wish more fighters would have cooperated with the author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, May 24, 2013
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This review is from: Facing Tyson: Fifteen Fighters, Fifteen Stories (Hardcover)
Kluck's style of writing is in line with the "every man" type tone of the subject matter- he doesn't write over your head or show how verbose his vernacular is. Just a great idea for a book, thoroughly enjoyed it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I hoped for more., August 30, 2010
By 
Mark Easter (Independence,MO) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Facing Tyson: Fifteen Fighters, Fifteen Stories (Hardcover)
This book had the feel of someone's homework assignment rather than a labor of love. I did not feel like Mr. Kluck's heart was in it, but rather that he was given the job to write it. This should have and could have been done better.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fighting Tyson, October 26, 2006
This is a fantastic book. The author not only brought the fighters to life but, also gave a view of Tyson that was fresh. The book was interesting and easy to read with the "storytelling" that made you feel like you were part of the interviews.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just A Bunch Of Palookas, June 6, 2010
After reading the book "Facing Ali", which expertly chronicles 15 fighters that stepped into the ring against "The Greatest", I stumbled upon this book (which takes a similar approach, this time focusing on "Iron" Mike Tyson) at my local library and had high expectations. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to the hype.

Here is the list of the fighters that this book devotes chapters to: Sam Scaff, Mitch "Blood" Green, Marvis Frazier, Jose Ribalta, James "Bonecrusher" Smith, Pinklon Thomas, Tyrell Biggs, Tony Tubbs, Buster Mathis Jr., Evander Holyfield, Steve Lott, Lou Savarese, Lennox Lewis, and Kevin McBride.

Just look at that list of names and you will automatically see the problem with this book: Whereas the Ali edition featured some of his epic bouts with guys like Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and Ken Norton, this effort features only two fighters (Holyfield & Lewis) that are somewhat interesting...the rest are just a bunch of palookas that Tyson's camp set up as punching bags to ease Tyson's transition to the title. In addition, even those two guys give accounts of Tyson that are far short of intriguing, perhaps out of lack of financial considerations (author Ted Kluck refused to pay anyone for the book) or out of sympathy for the pathetic figure that Tyson has now become. I wanted to hear their real thoughts...not the politically correct version.

Perhaps the biggest weakness of the book, though, was that the sub-par fighters (and there are a lot of them!) don't have interesting stories to tell. In the Ali book, perhaps the most riveting story came from George Chuvalo, a guy who never amounted to much career-wise but had some interesting life experiences to tell. Unfortunately, the guys in this book have no such energetic stories.

Thus, this is a piece of Tyson literature that can easily be skipped for other, far more interesting Tyson biographies. The book doesn't delve too much into Tyson himself, and his contemporaries are about as exciting as their actual fights with the Baddest Man on the Planet...a lot of hype for a wee bit of action.
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Facing Tyson: Fifteen Fighters, Fifteen Stories
Facing Tyson: Fifteen Fighters, Fifteen Stories by Ted Kluck (Hardcover - November 1, 2006)
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