St. Martin's Griffin
It is considered by many to be the biggest upset in the history of boxing: James "Buster" Douglas knocked out then-undefeated and seemingly invincible Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson in the tenth round in 1990.
The Last Great Fight takes readers not only behind the scenes of this epic battle, but inside the lives of two men, their ambitions, their dreams, the downfall of one and the rise of another.
Using his exclusive interviews with both Tyson and Douglas, family members, the referee, the cutmen, trainers and managers, commentators and HBO staff covering the fight in Tokyo, Layden has crafted a human drama played out on a large stage. This is a compelling tale of shattered dreams and, ultimately, redemption.
“Joe Layden’s meticulously researched study transports us from the Ali to the Tyson era….Layden is the first to take the full measure of the David in this David-and-Goliath storty…he offers a rich portrait of a soft-hearted former basketball standout who would secure the heavyweight crown only a few weeks after his mother died…the author manages to lay bare Tyson’s own ambivalence toward the blood sport that would make him one of the most recognizable people in the world….The Last Great Fight succeeds in provoking a sense of tense anticipation about an event that is firmly etched in the memory of every boxing fan. And Layden’s even-handed treatment of both the principals and the supporting cast provides a nuanced account of this epic moment.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Layden had full access to the main players, and his interviews with the affable, star-crossed underdog provide a compelling perspective on the ultimate coulda-been.” -ESPN The Magazine
“In prose that’s as sharp as an uppercut, Layden revisits the day Douglas handed Mike Tyson his first loss. A generation of young fans know Tyson as a novelty act and boxing as a niche sport. Layden traces both declines to that night in Tokyo.” –Sports Illustrated
“Boxing fans will want to add The Last Great Fight to the vast collection on great books on the Sweet Science, from Hemingway to A.J. Liebling to Norman Mailer. Just file it at the end of the shelf; it’s the last book you’ll ever need.” –Los Angeles Times
“Compelling.” –The Boston Globe
"Prose as crisp as a Sugar Ray Robinson jab." –Denver Post
“Layden's account of the crucial fight is tremendous. He has the kind of instinctive understanding of boxing that is rare in British writers: if one had to think of a point of comparison then Hugh MacIlvanney and the late Ian Wooldridge spring to mind.” -- Telegraph (UK)
“[An] exhilarating and hard hitting account. Boxing fans will want to add The Last Great Fight to the vast collection of great books on the Sweet Science, from Hemingway to A.J. Liebling to Norman Mailer. Just file it at the end of the shelf; it’s the last book you’ll ever need.” –The Houston Chronicle
“Layden has researched and written the most compelling and moving book on the sweet science we’ve seen in years.” –Booklist (starred review)
“A deeply reported, psychologically complex and artfully crafted examination of one of the biggest upsets in boxing history….Layden writes with the soulful, big-hearted tone of a Richard Russo novel.” –Times Union (Albany, NY)
“Joe Layden’s The Last Great Fight tells you everything you need to know about James “Buster” Douglas’ monumental upset of Mike Tyson.” –The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
“Exceptional….Vivid detail….Besides getting interviews with Douglas and Tyson, Layden has interviewed everyone who had any role in the event.”—Nashville City Paper
“Joe Layden has talked to all the key figures involved and his account of the fight is compelling.” –The Independent (UK)
“Layden should have a Ph. D in street psychology. I challenge anyone even remotely interested in what makes both ordinary and extraordinary people tick to pick this book up and not have trouble putting it down. It grips you and grabs you, as it eloquently describes just how fickle to concept of fame and the consequence of obscurity can be. Not only will you find yourself rooting for Douglas, the quintessential underdog, but also for Tyson, who in his own tragic way is no less of an underdog….It will make you laugh and cry, sometimes on the same page. Most importantly, it will make you think…It was a great fight, not only for its historical significance, but also because of its unrelenting action. This book, however, is better than the fight. You can’t get a more starred review than that.” –www.thesweetscience.com
“A tremendously moving story about Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas…This book isn’t just about boxing, and the sad state it’s in today, but it’s actually about these two flawed individuals who made boxing history.” –The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY)
“Tell the truth. You missed the moment when Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson for the heavyweight championship of the world. The fight was in Tokyo and Iron Mike was going to destroy this unknown fatso, whack him out blah-blah….What did you know? So now you have a second chance. The all-time upset of boxing upsets is replayed here through the deft, sweet prose of Joe Layden; a ringside seat that shows not only the punches that were thrown but what was behind them. Don’t miss it this time. The book is better than the fight and the fight was a wonder.” –Leigh Montville, New York Times bestselling author of The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth and Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero
“With rich detail and robust prose, Joe Layden’s account of Tyson-Douglas doesn’t merely re-create the most unthinkable upset in boxing annals. It takes you into the corners, the locker rooms, the minds of the two protagonists, producing revelations that arrive in combinations and a story that packs a heavyweight punch.” –Wayne Coffey, author of the New York Times bestseller The Boys of Winter
"The Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas fight resulted in the most spectacular upset in boxing history, yet it was an epic that has almost been forgotten. In The Last Great Fight, Joe Layden restores the fight to its rightful place in sports legend and fills in the spaces that other historians have missed. This is the best boxing book in the last 25 years."
--Allen Barra, sports columnist, Wall Street Journal, and author of The Last Coach: A Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant.