Published: December 5, 2005
Mike Tyson by night & day.
By Craig Gibson
Saturday 19th November 2005 – Old Trafford Manchester
The night went something like this (forgive me if any details are incorrect this was written from memory).
We arrived at approximately 7.30pm and were ushered up stairs to the main hall. Being the celebrity spotter that I am I scanned the room to see who would be enjoying the show this evening. The results came back, negative! No celebrities in the house, not one. These were later given a shout out by the compare and probably the most famous I shit you not was some guy who was referred to as the Accountant to the stars!!!!
Still eager to maybe bump into some boxing or sporting royalty I continued to search. At last I found John Conteh in a hall way getting mauled by some drunken thugs out on a jolly that recognized some famous guy!
This was to set the theme for the evening as the place was full of ignorant people who appeared to know nothing about the fight game and didnt really care less about Mike Tyson.
Ah I spot a very familiar face, dont let me down now brain, who is it? I say to myself, forget it! I dont need to remember his name I know he is Mikes good friend and thats good enough to approach him. The gentleman in question was Tom Patti, a close friend of Mike with whom he grow up with in the Catskill Mountains. Also a very good boxer himself, having won 6 Golden Glove titles. We exchanged words and I got my picture taken with him. I was to meet Tom again later on and he invited me to the hotel where everyone was staying. Would I get to meet Mike in person? Read on?????..
Eventually at around 8.30 the compare got in the Mic and stated that he would now be introducing the guests who would be sitting at the top table. Then with flashing disco lights, very similar to those in Phoenix nights and the sound of Rocky theme songs pumping out of the speakers, many eager fans rushed to the front hoping to catch a glimpse of the man they had paid hundreds of pounds to see.
The soundtrack played and played with no sign of Mike, Frank or even Steve Bunce for that matter. Then came the news I was not wanting to hear after the events that took place at Derby, “Ladies and Gentleman we have a slight delay and its going to be a couple more minutes as we have an issue with our main guests”, this was it I thought, the night is doomed Mike has thrown a strop and has decided he cant be arsed. Then another announcement Just five more minutes ladies and gents, we have had a security issue downstairs”. Whats happening here can this get any worse??
Eventually Rocky was played again and the guests were called out one by one. Tyson predictably was brought out through a bigger more theatrical entrance, but hey thats what we paid for.
From there on they all sat down and 30 or so eager fans got up to the security rope and got there photos. Did I? yes I did!!
Basically what happened for the next 2 hours or so we had fans going up to the rope time after time with the compare having to scream down the microphone every two minutes for them to take there seat or they would be evicted!!
Then came the auction where we saw the following items sold for charity
Replica WBC championship belt signed their and then by Mike and your photo taken with Mike – £6,000
Framed Mike Tyson Photos and glove £5,000
Framed and signed Bruno glove £5,000
After all that it was time for the guests to speak.
Ray Fisher, Antony Farnell, Joe Egan, Baseball player (unsure of whom, but can be seen pictured with Mike, Mikes current girl, Mike Tyson, Frank Bruno, Tom Patti, Steve Bunce
After Frank Bruno and Joe Egan said a few words the man we had all be waiting to see got up to answer questions which were a mixture of questions from audience and ones Steve Bunce had previously prepared.
Iron Mike Tyson
In no particular order, Mike was asked the following questions
Steve Bunce (SB)
If you could put any 2 fighters from any era together in a ring who would it be?
Mike Tyson (MT)
Louis and Rocky Marciano, it would be a great fight and I dont think like many people do, that Louis would knock Marciano out I think a lot of people would be surprised
Who do you currently admire in world sport today
Aw man I dont know, I dont keep up with sports these days, so I dont really know anyone out there. I cant say, (Mike was then badgered a little in to giving an answer by Steve Bunce and the crowd chanted Rooney), Yeh Rooney is a good guy I like him Mike answered.
Of the two which one would you be? a Hawk or a Pigeon
Mike basically answered this in quite a long winded way and never really answered the question, just explained about a hawk being a natural predator, king of the birds and a pigeon being the only bird that relies on humans to survive.
Mike Im 15 years old and an amateur boxer, Im fighting in a semi final next week or month and have traveled from Guernsey to see you tonight, what advice would you give me?
This was the highlight of the show for me as at this point Mike was asked if he would like the lad (James Woolnough) to come up on stage and Mike said sure?. A very slight teenager in a dickey bow approached the stage looking like a hare caught in the headlights. Mike gave him a hug and proceeded to talk. Just as he was starting, something was said by the crowd and Mike said to him, forget them Im telling you this because you are gonna remember this moment for the rest of your life, I remember going up to these big fighters and being all crazy and crying etc. He then gave him a very good talk about dedication and how dedication isnt just training, its about all the things that you hate doing and despise doing but you do them anyway and you do them like you love them. Dont give up, this is a mans sport and I dont mean big tough guys I mean emotional men, men who have a will who say to themselves Ill never be humiliated and fight till they cant fight no more. He then spoke about Frank Bruno how he was a legend for never giving in when he was trying for a world title, and his achievement was greater than those who won it at the first time of asking.
As I said this was a great moment, it was heartfelt and a genuine answer to the young lads question as this was the longest answer he gave to any of the questions. Mike really showed his gentle side with this and Im sure made a few more fans that night.
Mike do you still keep your tigers?
Nah man, what happened, if your with my cats and I’m around they will be ok with you, but a lady who worked with my cats trainer came round the house one day and no one was home. She decided to impress her friend and jump the fence to show her friend that she had a rapport with the cats. My cats didnt like it and scratched her arm, well actually, tell it how it is, it ripped her arm off. Mike was laughing at this point as were the crowd. But she got it put back on and well the surgeon didnt do a really good job, man he did a bad job on her arm.
If you could go back and change anything you have done in your life would you?
Mike basically said that he had had a wonderful life and had so much fun over the years. He then talked about how he was so very humbled that he was fortunate enough to be sat with all the people in the room as guys from where he comes from dont get the chance to do that kind of stuff. He also said how nervous he was and was really scared sitting up on stage talking to everyone as he wasnt very articulate.
Mike what truly makes you the happiest these days?
At this point some punk shouted rape, and the loser next to me quietly shouted ruphanol (drug used in drug rapes) I came very close to giving this dude a slap but I wasnt going to ruin my night. Anyway Mike answered that there isnt one particular thing, he takes a day at a time but he gets into trouble sometimes as he likes to do things to excess.
Mike made a point of turning round to Frank at the end of the interview and telling him that not to worry about the future, after all he had been divorced and his head was still screwed up but it gets better, he also said something about Eddy Murphy telling him that no matter how bad your life is, nothing is as bad as a woman breaking your heart.
Mike who gave him you your toughest fight?
Mike answered that any time you ask a fighter that question you think you know what the answer would be. But that is not the case with him; he said that the guy who gave him the hardest fight was a guy in the amateurs when he was 14. The guy wouldnt stop coming, Tyson knocked him down several times during each round, but still he got up and kept battering Mike back. At the end of the 3rd round Teddy Atlas could see that he was getting disheartened and he said “Mike, you remember all those old fighters who you look up to, all the greats, well it is rounds like these that made them what they became, so get out there and be the man Mike” (something along those lines). Mike said he went out and again knocked that guy down but he just wouldnt stay down, Mike eventually won the fight on points and he said that was a moment in his life when he knew that it was tough but he had what it took to be a champion.
Sunday 20th November – Radisson Hotel, Manchester, England
After speaking to Tom Patti the night before, told me that if I were to drop by the hotel around noon today he would try and sort it for me to meet Mike.
Therefore I went to their hotel in the hope of meeting Mike in person.
I arrived a bit earlier than told to just in case they had decided to leave early, then basically i waited around for 3 hours. During this time I got speaking to Joe Egan and Nigel Rafferty (www.boxrec.com/boxer_display.p…boxer_id=006382) who Joe kept telling me was the baddest white man on the planet man and that was something that Mike also believed.
I also saw Tom Patti again and at this point I must mention that Joe Egan and Tom Patti were both absolutely class, true gentleman, very accommodating and gave me so much of their time. So thank you Tom & Joe.
To my surprise there was only myself and 3 other fans waiting to catch a glimpse of Mike.
Then like some stage managed show the lift doors opened and through the mass of muscle, stood in the center of the lift was the man Id waited 17 years to meet, the one, the only Iron Mike Tyson.
Mike walked out of the lifts and was ushered to the side door, at this point I shouted “Come on Mike there is only 4 of us”, he then turned around and started to sign stuff for the other guys.
My new found friend Tom Patti was good enough to take a picture of me and Mike together. He also told Mike I was a good guy and that he had met me the night before.
When I met Mike I handed him my original programme from the Lou Saverese fight at which point he looked at it really strange like he wasnt gonna sign it, but after an uncomfortable moment he asked my name and proceeded to sign it for me. It wasnt till I got home that I realised what he had done. The picture is of him and has the following statement on it
Mike had obviously read the Loved by few and had written ALL over the few.
Who said you should never meet your hero!!
Keep believing people dreams can come true.
TysonTalk Thanks Craig Gibson for writing this article for all of us to enjoy.