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BLOOD SEASON: MIKE TYSON AND THE WORLD OF BOXING by Phil Berger
Whatever Atlas did with Tyson, it was by D'Amato's methods. For instance, when D'Amato had been with Jose Torres, he had developed a punching instrument known as the Willie Bag, after Willie Pastrano, from whom Torres would win the light heavyweight title. Willie was made of five mattresses wrapped about a frame. On the exterior of the front mattress was a rough-hewn sketch of a man, with his body demarcated by numbers that served as targets for particular punches. #1 was a left hook to the jaw; #2 a right hook to the jaw; #3 a left uppercut; #4 a right uppercut; #5 a left hook to the body; #6 a right hook to the body; #7 a jab to the head; and #8 a jab to the body.
D'Amato had created Willie to encourage his fighters to punch in rapid combination and had made tape recordings, in his voice, of varying sequences of numbers. When the fighter stepped up to Willie, he would respond to his master's voice by delivering the mandated combination punches.
For Tyson, there was also the sand-filled "slip" bag, a teardrop-shaped black bag about the size of a fist that would swing from a length of rope as the fighter stood directly in its path. To avoid being hit, Tyson was taught to move his head from side to side and dip down, the prescriptive maneuvers for avoiding actual punches. Through his work on Willie and the slip bag, and through sparring, Tyson was acquiring the means to activate his power without its backfiring on him.
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