‘That’s boxing, you can be fascinated but it appals you’

Iconic sports books revisited: Donald McRae speaks about the journey writing Dark Trade

Chris Eubank fights Michael Watson for the WBO middleweight title at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London in 1991. Photo: Brendan Monks/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Chris Eubank fights Michael Watson for the WBO middleweight title at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London in 1991. Photo: Brendan Monks/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

June 1991 and Donald McRae found himself alone on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Excited, uncertain, anxious he stood under a burning sky, the desert sun melting the asphalt and baking the patch of waste ground near a nondescript blue and yellow tin building. He was waiting for “the baddest man on the planet” to arrive.

The “Golden Gloves” painted on the gym told him he was in the right place. McRae was there to speak to Mike Tyson. He had no appointment, no arrangement, and was relying on a previous meeting with the heavyweight in the New York Catskills years before that he thought might get him beyond a warning snarl.

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