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You never knew what you would get with 'Iron Mike'.

MIKE TYSON was once the most recognisable sporting icon on the planet. Feared, ferocious, a frightening fighting machine.

Meeting him, admits Adam Smith, was, shall we say, an unpredictable experience.

That's why Smith often famously took along the considerable bulk of Glenn McCrory, our North East hero and former sparring partner to the Iron man.

McCrory, a colleague at Sky for many a year, acted as bouncer and calmer of the Tyson temper.

"Not only is Glenn big and useful protection, he also has a distinct charm and can talk his way into places which are notoriously difficult to access," Adam told me.

"Plus Glenn had had the dubious privilege of being one of Tyson's sparring partners when Iron Mike was red hot. Tyson respected him.

"Not only did you never know what you were going to get, you never knew when you were going to get it either.

One day Tyson's cheerleader Crocodile did that throatslitting gesture that I had seen on the hardest of streets but, given Tyson's dramatic pendulum swinging moods, we might be given the red carpet treatment the next day. He was totally unpredictable.

"One minute he was kissing a baby, the next he was banged up for rape. I'm convinced those violent episodes were engrained deep in his atrocious childhood.

"His dad cleared off when Tyson was two and his mum was plagued with problems and died when he was in his teens."

Tyson was at his most destructive early in his career, when he obliterated Michael Spinks in June of 1988.

One of the best light heavyweights ever witnessed, Spinks was taken out in just 91 seconds.

"Mike was in no mood to hang around," maintained Smith. "There were reports that Tyson drilled a hole in a locker door with his fist when warming up in his dressingroom.

"Oliver McCall told me when he was preparing for a world title defence against Frank Bruno that he got blitzed because 'when we came face to face I thought he was an animal. I admit I was terrified'.

"That is quite something when a fighter admits to an intimate secret like that."

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BIG FIGHT Mike Tyson, right, fighting Frank Bruno
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 14, 2012
Words:367
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