Mike comes clean in interview with the Daily News


Published: June 20, 2004

After sweating through a 90-minute workout in the sweltering Central
Gym in downtown Phoenix this past Friday afternoon, Tyson cooled down
and then sat down with the Daily News to talk about his new desire to
rule the heavyweight division, how he is coping with less money and a
scaled back entourage (three guys and trainer Freddie Roach), and his
newly discovered maturity.

Sitting on the floor of a cramped weight room in the gym, his back to a full length mirror, Tyson didn’t deflect any questions.

DN: Do you still like boxing? Do you still have the drive and the desire?

MT: I like fighting. Fighting is easy. You have to
have the desire to train. That’s what I’m trying to get back is that
desire to train. The hardest part is getting in shape to fight. You
fight in just one night, just one time.

DN: How do you feel now when you’re training?

MT: I feel good when I’m training. I feel like I’m
doing something with my life. I just have no enthusiasm for anything. I
feel like I’m doing nothing. For two years I did nothing. Absolutely

DN: Does it bother you that people in the sports world don’t believe that you are a serious contender anymore?

MT: Is that what people say? Those guys have personal vendettas and grudges against me. Everybody has their own opinions.

DN: Is being champion again important to you?

MT: I just want to stay in shape and train and fight
consistently. If I do that I will become champion. Being champion is
not the hard part. It’s about being on the proper path to be champion.

DN: You have to look at the heavyweight division and think you have a chance to be champion again.

MT: You know Lamon Brewster never even hit (Wladimir)
Klitschko don’t you? The guy just collapsed. And him and his brother,
Vitali, are running around acting like they’re world beaters. (Vitali)
beat Corrie Sanders and he’s running around thinking he beat Muhammad
Ali. Corrie Sanders came out of retirement to get paid so he could play
golf ? My sparring partner, Nate Tubbs, knocked out Sanders in the
second round when he was in shape. When he fought Klitschko, he looked
like Moby Dick.

More quotes available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More‘ below).

DN: Vitali Klitschko said you’re No. 2 on his list behind Lennox Lewis. How long would it take you to get ready for that fight?

MT: Two fights. He has to know he’s horrible. When he
fought Sanders, the only time the people applauded was when they
announced the fight and when they said Sanders wasn’t coming out for
the next round. It was one of the most boring fights in boxing history.

DN: Can you beat the Klitschkos?

MT: If I can’t beat these guys I might as well retire. They’re making boxing look bad.

DN: Everybody wants to know how you could lose $300 million in a lifetime?

MT: I never had that much money in one whole (lump). I was pretty reckless with people who I trusted in my life.

DN: But $300 million is an astronomical sum no matter how you slice it.

MT: It could have been more. I don’t want to say that because that makes me look like a bigger jackass.

DN: What sort of changes have you had to make since the bankruptcy filing?

MT: I live in this very small home, about a $100,000
(two-bedroom) house. And I’m very happy there. I made that change
because I was forced to make that change. It wasn’t like I went out and
said I’m going to deal with less.

DN: What other changes have you made?

MT: I don’t go out as much. I stick to myself more. I’ve got two cars now and I’m the verge of selling them.

DN: You’re not near taxicab status, are you?

MT: I’m getting pretty close.

DN: Once you had the motorcycles, the Range Rovers, the Mercedes, the Bentley.

MT: I don’t miss any of that. I’ve been able to spend time with my children the way it should be.

DN: On Father’s Day, do you reflect on your relationship with your children?

MT: I go see my children. It’s really not what it
should be. I don’t have nothing or no one. I’m not happy or sad about
it. It is what it is.

DN: What kind of father are you?

MT: I’m a big lug. I discipline my children and I yell
and act tough. But then I go back and give them what they want after I
finish yelling at them.

DN: Do you feel like you’ve matured in the last few years?

MT: I like to think I have. You never know until I get
that (championship) belt and then things will change again. Everything
that happened to me happened for a reason. Life lessons are priceless.
There’s not enough money to purchase the lessons I’ve learned.

DN: Speaking of getting that championship back, Don King
controls three of the title belts and you’re suing him. Do you think
you could ever fight for him again?

MT: I’ve been working on forgiveness. Life is too
short to hold grudges. There’s not enough time. Every second I’m closer
to my death. I’m trying to do the things to make me the most successful
and to manage my life properly, which is something I’ve never done.

DN: It sounds like you would settle your differences with Don King to get a chance at winning the title.

MT: I’m not going to gain anything by holding sour grapes or wanting to hit the guy over the head with anything.

DN: You once said you could never fight for King again.

MT: I was talking with a lot of emotion. I don’t know
if I ever will fight for him again. But anything is possible. My main
objective is to secure my children’s future. I have a young son who was
not around when I was making all that money. He’s the only one who is
not secure in this life. I would really like to do that before I die
and can’t fight anymore.

DN: How do you learn to trust again?

MT: I don’t think I’ll ever be able to trust again. In order to trust someone else you have to trust yourself.

DN: Why do you say that?

MT: I brought it on myself. You really can’t blame
anyone else. When I was younger I didn’t trust myself. Trusting
yourself means being responsible. I believe I’m more responsible now.
That’s the biggest accomplishment I’ve learned so far is being more

DN: What’s the biggest example of being more responsible now?

MT: I’m in a situation where I have to take the
garbage out every Tuesday and Friday. That’s a hell of a leap from
having a maid and a servant.

DN: You have a lot of insight on the sport of boxing. Have you ever considered a career as a boxing color commentator?

MT: That would be good. I’m a realist and I always
come across as a morbid guy. But it’s hard for a guy like me with my
stigma to be involved with television. I understand that. I don’t hold
anything against the television companies like HBO or Showtime and call
them racist. I’m in a totally different atmosphere from those guys
(commentators). I’ve been to prison, in street fights and I’ve led a
hooligan’s life for a long time.

DN: How’s the community service you do at Gleason’s Gym going?

MT: I like doing that. I want to go back there. We
transferred some of it back here (to Phoenix). But I’m going back there
to do more.

DN: I noticed that your entourage has shrunk. What happened?

MT: When the band stops playing people stop dancing ? Some of those guys have their own lives and families to take care of.

DN: You mentioned that this is the first time you’ve been alone, living by yourself. How has that been for you?

MT: I don’t really like being alone in the house. In
life people need to reflect. You can’t be looking at a wall. The wall
doesn’t reflect back. You can’t talk to anybody like I’m talking to you
right now (if you’re alone). It’s not right. But I isolate myself. I’m
just not an intimate person. I think I’m becoming old. I don’t feel
like going out. When I was a young kid you couldn’t have told me that
when I got to be 38 or 40 that I wouldn’t want to go out and see
beautiful women, and rap and drink bottles of champagne. I would have
said, “Get out of here.”

DN: So what’s a fascinating night for Mike Tyson now?

MT: I call my friend Nick and then I call my friend Rick. It’s Nick and Rick. Rick and Nick.

DN: What’s up with the tattoo on your face? You said you were
going to get one on the other side after your last fight. Are you still
going to do that?

MT: No. I’m going to extend it down my neck and my
chest. My girlfriend didn’t want me to do that. But she’s not around
anymore, so I might as well get it done later on. I might just get it
all the way down my leg and be like those Samoans.

DN: Then you’d be ready to fight David Tua?

MT: What happened to that guy? Did he (mess up) his
life or what. Listen, I think my life is (messed up) but when I look at
other guys like Meldrick (Taylor) and Riddick (Bowe) and Terry Norris I
know I have nothing to complain about. At least I got my faculties and
I can still fight. Some guys shouldn’t be allowed to spar.

DN: You know Riddick Bowe is talking about coming back. What do you think of that?

MT: Andrew Golota messed him up real bad, didn’t he?
Can he get a license again? I guess anybody can get licensed just about
anywhere. You know me and Riddick went to school together in Brooklyn.
He was a year or two behind me.

DN: Do you think you’ll be elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame when your career is over?

MT: I don’t even think about that no more. When I was
a kid that used to be my biggest dream. Not everybody makes it. I’m
just happy that someone knows my name.

DN: If there was one thing that you could go back and change about your life what would it be?

MT: I wish I could have stayed with just one woman.

Source: NY Daily News