Published: June 8, 2005
By Justin Hodge and Brandt Quinn
June 6, 2005
Notorious Mike Tyson says his reputation precedes him, but has this ultimate boxing bad boy really changed his ways?
Someone once noted that there is something of a comic book quality
about Mike Tysons fights the violence is so exaggerated it has a
surrealistic air. This keen observation was obviously stated by one,
but noted by all, including Matt Groening of The Simpsons fame who
created Dedrick Tatum, a comical figure eternally shirtless who sports
the red gloves. He was also an almost insurmountable obstacle to
accomplishing Mike Tysons Punch Out again represented as a
half-clothed, brutal punching machine. At one point in time, almost
everyone in the world was ready to anoint the man as the greatest
mortal to ever lace up 10-ounce gloves, and the calling of the name Ali
was becoming all but a whisper. But then the shirt did come on, in
court, in prison. If we could only all remember Tyson as that topless
maniac in the ring, what would be our thoughts of the man? A guy who
blew through $400 million, was convicted of rape and took off a
sizeable portion of Evander Holyfields ear? Or as one of the most
skillful boxers armed with only fists? 944 scored an exclusive
interview with the notorious figure in the middle of a training session
weeks before the upcoming fight, June 17, with Kevin McBride.
944: First off, whats your prediction for the upcoming fight with Kevin McBride?
MIKE TYSON: I just hope to do well, I would like to get a knock out, but if not, I would be happy with 10 rounds.
With 44 knockouts under your belt, tell us what is it like to put a fighter flat on his back.
I dont know, you could say, Oh it feels good, but you really dont
think about that. You think about doing the right moves, not making any
mistakes, and all of a sudden, it just happens.
After the death of Cus DAmato you went on one of the most storied
rampages in the history of boxing 16 fights, 16 knockouts, most of
them coming in the first round. What impact did his death have on your
career and your personal life?
It was just a big loss and a setback in my life. I know it didnt
appear that way on record, but I was angry at him for a long time ? I
was only 18 or 19, but I felt if he just would have gone to see a
doctor, he may have been around to see me do well.
So it really made you mad that he didnt believe in getting medical attention?
Well not only that, but I really wanted him to see me do well ? This
moment was something we talked about since I was 12 ? and if he hadnt
been so stubborn, he might have been around to see it.
Youve stated that youve reinvented yourself and that you are a
more centered person. Do you feel the Mike Tyson who fought Holyfield
I dont know. I like to think that Im more centered. I grew up a
little ? and began to become more conscious of who I was as an
individual. I realized I dont have to be a madman to get attention. I
just feel like a lost soul ? Right now Im tryin to find myself. I was
an unhappy person back then. I had a medical condition known as
clinical depression. Everyone was thinking about their own best
interests ? but now, I really do feel well.
One of our favorite quotes was when you referred to yourself as Mr. Mom. Take us through a day in the life of Mr. Mom.
You know, I have a very young daughter, and sometimes I dont wanna
hear that crap. You know, I dont wanna hear my son calling: Hey
daddy, what are you doin daddy. Im outside daddy? The same thing
over and over, and Im like whoa. You know I wasnt working for a
long period of time, and I was stuck with the kids, and I lost my mind
for a little bit. I was just so happy that they have a mother ? Im a
decent father, but Im not gonna be a great dad.
What do you think about the people who doubt you? You know, the ones who say that Mike Tyson is a has-been?
Thats OK; people are entitled to their own opinion. You know, because
first people would say this and that, and I would ask, Who said that??
? but thats all because they were insecure. Im confident with myself
and who I am as a man, and um ? I dont know ? people are entitled to
their opinion. I have my opinion and feelings about situations ? and so
thats my entitlement as well.
So it has been rumored that Jamie Foxx is going to be playing you in
an upcoming movie. What do you think about him, and do you think he has
what it takes to play Iron Mike??
I love Jamie Foxx and respect him since I have seen him come from the
beginning. When he was doing standup at the small black comedy shops,
and he was brilliant then. Im just so happy to see him successful, and
I would love to be involved with him playing my role.
Have you been approached by anybody to do reality television?
All the time ? Those guys just want to make a fool out of me, and I am not interested in being made a fool of.
What is happily ever after? for Mike Tyson? What sort of retirement do you see yourself having?
Hey, Im just happiest being with my friends and my children who care
about me. Thats the only thing that matters to me; thats all that
Would you ever fight Evander Holyfield again?
I dont know. Anything is possible. I think they are trying to take his license away right now, which is crazy.
Describe yourself for us in three words.
Yin and Yang.
Yin and Yang huh?
A great man! (From background) Being a great man dont mean youre a
good man. Id rather be a good man than a great man ? Good men inspire
great men. I always think about Charles Houston that inspired Thurgood
Marshall. I bet youve never heard of Charles Houston, but you know
We need to brush up on our history.
Yeah, those are great people, um ? good people, good-hearted people that inspired great people.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
Youre welcome and God bless.
photography by King Lawrence