Published: November 14, 2005
Source: Mirror & thesun
By Darren Lewis
You don’t need to know about boxing to be aware of the notoriety in which Mike Tyson has been held.
the former world heavyweight champ remains a legend and tickets have
been snapped up for his country-wide tour of chat shows, starting in
London tomorrow night.
I met him in a small hotel
room in London’s Park Lane Hilton. Gone were the flashy trappings of
the past. Tyson sat on the bed in a T-shirt and jeans, sparking into
life as the tape recorder clicked on.
revealed: “For 20 years I was one kind of person. Now I don’t like that
person any more.
All my life I’d been bullied (speaking about his childhood) and then I was able to do
something about it.
“I never again had to worry about people beating me up, trying to rip my clothes, I was in control. Ain’t that something?
“I was a bad ass and I loved it. I could go
anywhere I wanted, into the worst neighbourhoods. I loved it. No-one
would f*** with me.
“But now I don’t like going into a room in a club and seeing that everybody is afraid of me. And in some cases it is big men.”
then joked: “I looked at myself in the mirror the other day and said to
myself: ‘You’re a dwarf.’ I measured myself as 5ft 10in.
I think about the women I slept with, I think to myself: ‘These women
must go out with anybody if they have got money because I wouldn’t go
out with me. I’m a f****** dwarf!
“Everyone in my family is 6ft. What happened to me? I’m tree stump. A fire hydrant. People p*** on fire hydrants, man!”
His costly divorce from actress Robin Givens clearly still rankles but, again, he is trying to move on.
said: “Listen, I saw Robin at the premiere of 50 Cent’s new movie. Let
me explain it to you. Sometimes I feel as though I am left out of the
world, right? I figure there are big parties and stuff but nobody
invites me any more.
“The next thing I know,
the phone rings. Its 50’s management. ‘Do you want to come to the
premiere? You can bring who you want.’ So I go down there and I am like
a big shot there.
S O I get there and I am
watching the show and at first I am happy just to be back in this whole
life. The movie ends and as soon as the lights go up, I go to get up
and, boom, Robin is in front of me.
first thing I want to say to her is ‘You f****** slut! I hate your
f****** guts!’ But she has two very beautiful kids with her.
I say hello. She says, ‘Hello, Mike’ and gives me a little kiss and I
want to scream at her, to say, ‘Man, what the hell are you doing on the
Oprah Winfrey Show talking about me? I haven’t seen you in 17 years and
you’re on the Oprah Winfrey Show talking b******* to promote your
“But if I say that I would probably
f*** the kids up – and I don’t want them traumatised like me because I
have already seen my mother being talked to in the streets like a dog.
“And anyway, we can’t be getting mad and having grudges all the time as we are getting older.
“And we are human beings. It’s over, it’s all right. So I could have been a real a***hole but I let that go.”
As well as the expletives, his conversation is peppered with raucous laughter followed by high fives.
is the sheer unpredictability of Tyson that has set him apart from
sport’s other champions. We like nice guys but are enthralled by the
bad guys. We love, for example, Wayne Rooney’s wild streak. So too,
does Tyson. He said: “I like the way he acts. He is supposed to act
that way. What they do with him is they take a kid and they tell him,
‘Be a kid, but act grown up.’
“How are you going to do that? Sport is all about immaturity.
“That’s why guys stay in it too long. Because they want to stay children.
many guys do you know, like me or Roon, who can curse a guy out and
probably get fined but not really get our a*** kicked or thrown into
jail? Some people might not think it’s cool but actually it’s what they
want to do. The masses will always be with guys like Roon, not with the
“Because it’s almost like he is living everybody’s dream. A lawless life, living on the edge.
“He can’t be a mature adult, a scholar and all dignified at this stage of his life. He’s young, he’s successful.”
39, was young and successful in 1992 when he was jailed for a doubtful rape of beauty queen Desiree Washington, who then appeared on the Oprah Winfrey
Show. Tyson, who served three years, still protests his innocence.
He said: “When I first came here I had women outside with placards saying, ‘Moms Against Rapists!’ But I’m not a rapist.”
spoke of Frank Bruno, a former opponent for whom the halcyon days of
boxing have also been replaced by a seesaw of celebrity and notoriety.
He was stunned Bruno had turned to cocaine after the breakdown of his
He said: “I was in a similar kind
of situation. With my first marriage I was – I don’t know what I was –
I was just an uneducated cowboy (speaking about the period before the James Douglas fight).
get caught up with matters of the heart you are not well. It’s like a
sickness. It’s like having a broken arm, amnesia, a clogged up nose or
even pneumonia or something. You’re not well.
people don’t handle it well. I think Frank handled it tremendously,
especially when you consider the other more destructive options that he
had. Suppose he had killed that woman, God forbid.
he had killed his kids or himself? That’s how bad it gets. And I think
going the way he did, hurting himself, was more noble than him going
out the other way.
“We understand him. We
probably did worse things in our own lives when we don’t have the
microphone on us or the cameras around.”
His gigs in Manchester on Friday and Birmingham on Monday are both sold
out. There may be some people who still believe he shouldn’t be here,
but not many.
Tyson has a story to tell. Sure he lost his way while he was taken for all he had by people who saw him as a cash cow.
Don’t just think Don King, think the referee whose delayed count handed Buster Douglas a shock world title win.
But Tyson said: “All I know is that it’s nice to know that people are coming to hear me this week.”
No self-pity. No regrets.
He suffered six defeats in 58 pro fights and admits a comeback is unlikely but not out of the question Antonio Tarver is a possible opponent.
Tyson said: That guy has some serious issues and Im f****d up.
He called me up threatening me, cursing me. Dont f*** with me. Its a serious idea. I need a buck, like everyone else.?
Hasim Rahman, who was due to fight Vitali Klitschko, has been handed the Ukrainians WBC title after he quit last week.
But Tyson added: Youre not a champ if a guy pulls out. You have to fight for it.?