Cus D’Amato was an American boxing manager and trainer…..who handled the careers of Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson, and José Torres…..all of whom went on to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame…..with several successful boxing trainers including Teddy Atlas and Kevin Rooney, were tutored by D’Amato…..as Cuz was a proponent of the “peek-a-boo” style of boxing….wherein the fighter holds his gloves close to his cheeks and pulls his arms tight against his torso, which was criticized by some because it was believed that an efficient attack could not be launched from it.
Boxing – 1980 – Special – Interview With Trainer Cuz D’Amato & His Heavyweight Contender Mike Tyson
D’Amato eventually moved to Catskill, New York….where he opened a gym, the Catskill Boxing Club…. and that is where he met and began to work with the future heavyweight champion, “Iron” Mike Tyson, who was in a nearby reform school….then he adopted Tyson after Tyson’s mother died. Cus D’Amato trained him over the next few years, encouraging the use of peek-a-boo style boxing….with the hands in front of the face for more protection. D’Amato was briefly assisted by Teddy Atlas, and later Kevin Rooney, both protégés of D’Amato, who emphasized elusive movement.
Boxing – 1981 – Special – How Cus D’Amato Made Mike Tyson Into The Youngest World Heavyweight Undisputed Champion In Boxing History
It is unclear at exactly which age (11 or 12) Tyson first became seriously interested in becoming a professional boxer….that is when “Irish” Bobby Stewart, a former Golden Gloves Champion, was approached by Tyson while working as a counselor at the Tryon School For Boys. Tyson knew of Stewart’s former boxing glory and specifically asked to speak with Stewart…..who immediately took on a gruff attitude of the subject after witnessing Tyson’s terrible behavior in his first days at the school….and a short time later, Bobby Stewart introduced Mike Tyson to Cuz D’Amato….when Tyson was around 12 or 13 years old….after Stewart stated he had taught Tyson all he could about boxing technique and skill. D’Amato died a little over a year before Tyson became the youngest world heavyweight titleholder in history at the age of 20 years four months….thus supplanting Patterson’s record. Rooney would later guide Tyson to the heavyweight championship twelve months after D’Amato’s death. Footage of D’Amato can be seen in Tyson, a 2008 documentary. Tyson credits D’Amato with building his confidence and guiding him as a father figure.
Boxing – 1980 – Special – Legendary Boxing Trainer Cuz D’Amato On The Power Of Fear While Mentoring Mike Tyson
A longtime boxing enthusiast, Jimmy Jacobs started collecting films of boxing matches at the age of 17 after reading about the controversial decision in Joe Louis and Jersey Joe Walcott’s 1947 World Heavyweight Title Fight….when wanting to judge the result for himself, he tracked down and purchased a copy of the fight. Whilst touring Europe as the greatest handball player of all time…..he began buying up old fight films, many of which had been shipped out of America in the wake of the 1912 Congressional ban on the interstate trafficking of boxing films. Jacobs became friends with the boxing trainer Cus D’Amato…..who secretly trained Jacobs intensively for six months with a view to his facing reigning world light-heavyweight champion Archie Moore….with the intention to make history by leading a boxer to a world title in his first ever fight…..however, the bout failed to materialize.
Boxing – 2009 – Special – Interview With Former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson On What Cus D’Amato Meant To Him
In 1959 Jacobs went into business with fellow collector Bill Cayton….and together they owned the production companies The Greatest Fights of the Century and Big Fights inc…..whereby they rescued and restored rare films of such fighters as Bob Fitzsimmons, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey and James J. Corbett….which might otherwise have been lost forever. In 1974, they purchased the Madison Square Garden fight archive….and the result was that between them they amassed the world’s largest collection of fight films (between 16,000 and 26,000)…..while dating from the 1890’s through to the present day. In 1998 Cayton sold the collection to ESPN for a reported $100 million. They also made over 1000 boxing documentaries and productions, including a.k.a. Cassius Clay, Jack Johnson, The Heavyweight Champions and Legendary Champions….with the latter three beomg nominated for Academy Awards.
Boxing – 1978 To 1988 – Special – Cuz D’Amato And Mike Tyson Documentary – A Triumph Of Character
In 1978 Jacobs and Cayton bought the management contract of world light-welterweight champion Wilfred Benítez from Benitez’ father for $75,000….and then guided him to two more championships and over $6.5 million in purses. The partnership ended in December 1983, when Benitez bought out his contract in order to manage himself. In 1984 they signed the 18-year-old Mike Tyson….who was being trained by Jacobs’ old friend Cus D’Amato….and oversaw his rise to becoming the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion….as Jacobs became a close friend and mentor of Tyson. They also managed Edwin Rosario….who became a three time World Lightweight Champion. Jimmy Jacobs was named Manager of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1986 after Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight to ever win the undisputed title.
Boxing – 1987 – Special – Mike Tyson Manager Jimmy Jacobs Interview With Renown Journalist Hugh McIlvanney
Highly respected boxing analyst Larry Merchant knew Jimmy Jacobs very well….while characterizing him as the only guy he ever knew who had “Three Greatest” in front of his name on May 20, 1986:
**** He’s the greatest handball player who ever lived, he’s regarded as the Babe Ruth of his sport
**** He has the greatest collection of fight films in the world some 98% of all the fight films ever made with 26,000 of them
**** He has the greatest collection of comic books in the world with every comic book ever published in America has gone to a warehouse in Los Angeles.
And now he wants a “Fourth Greatest”…. to have the greatest fighter in the world in Mike Tyson.
Handball – 1955 To 1975 – Special – The Legend of Handball Jim Jacobs – With Hosts Art Linkletter + Stuffy Singer
In four-wall handball, Jacobs won his first American singles championship in 1955, defeating Vic Hershkowitz in the final in Chicago. In total, he won six American singles championships and six doubles championships (partnering Marty Decatur). He was additionally a three time national champion in three-wall handball. Between 1955 and 1969, he won every national handball competition match he played in. In 1966, Robert H. Boyle of Sports Illustrated wrote: “Jacobs is generally hailed as the finest player of all time. Indeed, there are those who say Jacobs is the best athlete, regardless of sport, in the country.” In 1970, he was recognised by the US Handball Association as the “Greatest Handball Player of the Generation”…..who won every singles and doubles match he played from 1955 to 1969.
Boxing – 1985 – Special – Mike Tyson Training In Ring With Kevin Rooney Under The Watchful Eye Of Cuz D’Amato
With all of the above in mind….we dedicate this post with these wonderful videos of Jimmy Jacobs….Cuz D’Amato….and Mike Tyson videos…..which simply gives ImaSportsphile video museum more claim to being the 2nd or 3rd best source of boxing video on the planet…..as we hope that you always enjoy our Boxing Section here at ImaSportsphile…..cuz it is impressively extensive.
Boxing – March 29, 1988 – ABC’s Frank Gifford Pays Tribute To The Life And Career Of Jim Jacobs Boxing Manager & Handball Champion Extraordinaire