Mind Over Splatter

Hopkins’s Strategy: Wave a Red Flag at Trinidad

"When Tyson fought Berbick, the ring was vibrating during the national anthem," recalls Eric Bottjer, a matchmaker for Cedric Kushner Promotions. "[Ring announcer] Michael Buffer noticed that the ring was vibrating, and he looked over and saw that Berbick's legs were shaking bad. Angelo Dundee, who was in Berbick's corner, just shook his head. Berbick was petrified of him."

Too bad, because Dundee, who had engineered Clay's upset over Liston, wanted Berbick to make Tyson work for a few rounds, figuring that the young dynamo would tire and then be vulnerable.

Berbick, however, fought as if his legs were in quicksand, and Tyson knocked him out in two rounds.


RAY "BOOM-BOOM" MANCINI
vs. LIVINGSTONE BRAMBLE (1984)

Clean-cut and engaging, a real darling of the media, Ray "Boom-Boom" Mancini was the Oscar De La Hoya of the early '80s. Livingstone Bramble, the challenger to Mancini's WBA lightweight title, decided to get personal with him.

Bramble said everything he could think of to piss off the champion. He referred to Mancini as a "murderer," alluding to Mancini's fatal bout in 1982 with Duk Koo Kim of South Korea. The challenger dedicated the fight to the Ethiopians who were slaughtered in two wars with Italy. He cursed in front of two 10-year-old girls stricken with Cooley's anemia while Mancini was national chairman of the foundation fighting the disease. Originally from the Virgin Islands, Bramble brought in a voodoo doctor from St. Croix, whom he referred to as "Dr. Doo," to stare at Mancini and cast spells on him.

"Mancini was spooked for that fight," Bottjer says. "Mancini said before the fight, 'I've never said this before, but I guarantee I will win the fight.' He then fought angry and threw everything he had for the first six or seven rounds and then had nothing left, and Bramble stopped him in the 14th round."

Bramble revealed later that Dr. Doo wasn't really a doctor at all but was actually his basketball coach in St. Croix from when Bramble was a little kid.

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