Tyson gives another interview after license granting

By
TysonTalk

Published: June 22, 2004

Moments after being granted a license to box in the state of New Jersey on Monday afternoon, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson left the offices of the State Athletic Control Board and jumped into his red Bentley and headed to ‘Willie’s Restaurant’ in downtown Trenton.

With only a handful of media in tow, an elated Tyson tossed his menu aside and said “Ah, heck. I’m so excited about getting my license… I don’t know what to order!”

On July 30th, Tyson (50-4; 43 KO’s) will face British fighter Danny Williams (31-3; 26 KO’s) in Louisville, Kentucky. And according to Tyson’s advisor, Shelly Finkel, ‘Iron’ Mike’s next fight will be staged in New Jersey.

Being that the Nevada Commission has long set the example for other Athletic Control Boards to follow, New Jersey Commissioner Larry Hazzard decided to set his own precedent by licensing Tyson. He told Fightnews: “Nevada has always been put in a position where they set the precedents, while New Jersey has never been given those opportunities. This time, I was able to set the example by deciding that Mike Tyson should be licensed. It’s about time that we all forgive Mike Tyson for his past transgressions. He has always expressed a desire to fight in the State of New Jersey, and at this time, I feel he meets our standards. So, there was no reason for me to continue to deny him a license. Besides, there were less politics involved this time around. Also, since Mike loves to fight here so much, I’m sure he will spend the remaining portion of his boxing career here in New Jersey.”

As word quickly spread throughout the neighborhood that Tyson was ‘at Willies’, people of all ages and races piled into the tiny restaurant to get an autograph. Cell phones with cameras were drawn as fans stood in line to sit next to Tyson to have their pictures taken with the former champ. Many in their work uniforms, including a mailman, came by to shout words encouragement and to catch a glimpse of boxing’s most popular figure.

Graciously, ‘Iron’ Mike obliged all of his fans and personalized their moments with his wit and charm: “Brother, the flash ain’t going off. You gotta press the other button!… Wait, let me get my new license into this picture!… A newspaper is all you could find to get me to autograph?… Hey, wanna take a look at my new license?…”

Upon exiting the restaurant, Tyson continued to be flocked by admirers as he walked down the street and into a local store. While inside, an enormous crowd gathered on the sidewalk waiting for him to come out. ‘What’s going on?’ asked a motorist. ‘Mike Tyson is inside!’ said someone. Eventually, traffic came to a crawl as people parked their cars to join the burgeoning crowd. Police cruisers and officers on horses arrived to direct traffic, but not before they entered the store to get Tyson’s autograph.

Throughout all the excitement, Tyson cordially took time to sit with Fightnews.

Congratulations on getting licensed in New Jersey! How does it feel?

It feels great! I’m so happy! You have no idea how happy I am! I can’t wait to come back to New Jersey to fight. If it wasn’t for Larry Hazzard, I don’t know what I would do. He set a precedent by doing what he did. I was so down and out. I had no money and no place to stay. I had to borrow money from guys I knew on the street. By licensing me, Larry helped put food on my table again.

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

You began training on your own a couple of months ago. And, Freddie Roach has told me that you are in great shape right now and very focused. Are you pleased with how your training is going?

Very much so. I’m 229 pounds right now and I feel incredible. I’ve been training every day and it’s great working with Freddie, Ian, Panama, Tom and Allen. They’re getting me really motivated. It’s very hard work, but I feel great about it.

Are you looking to regain command of the heavyweight division?

I would like to. If I work really hard, I think I can do it. I would love to win another championship!

Shelly (Finkel) has said that he is trying to get you three more fights before the end of the year. Who would you like those opponents to be?

It doesn’t matter. I just want to fight. I’ll be appreciative to anyone who wants to fight me.

When looking at the current crop of heavyweight fighters, there is no doubt that you can rule the division once again and unify the titles. But… there’s Don King. Are you willing to deal with him once again?

I’m not mad at Don anymore. In fact, I’m not mad at anybody. I’m just happy to receive my license today! I’ll fight anybody and I’ll allow anybody to promote me… provided that it’s profitable. I need the money!

Cus D’Amato. How do you think things would have gone if he were still alive today?

If Cus were still alive, I would have had a different life. He would have had a very positive influence over me. But thankfully, I’m still here and I can still set a precedent in the ring in his honor. I can still make a statement that he would be proud of. I miss Cus very much.

There are many people in boxing who feel strongly that your conviction of rape was a set up. Now, it’s being reported that Alan Dershowitz has released a new book entitled ‘America On Trial, Inside The Legal Battles That Transformed Our Nation.’ In the book, he states that you did not get a fair trial and that there were many things kept from the jury. What are your thoughts on this?

When the trial was in process, I knew I didn’t receive a fair trial. Evidence of my innocence was available but they wouldn’t accept it. But what am I going to do? I did not rape that girl. I’m not a rapist! But I am a black man in America and people are eager to believe that I am a rapist. It’s a stigma. Most guys, from communities where I come from, are born with these stigmas. It’s a really horrific thing… to punish someone who is innocent. I know it’s finally out in print that I didn’t have a fair trial. But the problem is that people don’t want to believe that I am innocent. Society doesn’t want to hear that our justice system is not perfect and that there are many people who died on death row who were innocent. There are many people in jail right now who don’t belong there! Our justice system is not perfect, and I was a victim of that non-perfect system. When I was sent to prison, it made me have no respect for society or cultivation. It really scarred me in such a way… that it’s still really hard for me to overcome. But, I just have to keep working at it everyday.

With the demise of great trainers and fight tacticians like Cus and Eddie Futch, what do you think the quality of fighter will be like in the years to come?

It doesn’t look good. Right now, fighters are calling the shots and they have no respect for their trainers. They don’t listen to them and they don’t want to learn. In the long run, it hurts the fighter. Passing on the knowledge of the sweet science of boxing is going to become a lost art.

Who would you liked to have fought, but never got the opportunity? Maybe Riddick Bowe or Ike Ibeabuchi?

There was never a point in my career when I considered fighting Riddick Bowe. I wouldn’t fight him then and I wouldn’t fight him now. He is a very good friend of mine and I love him. We went to school together. He was the good guy and I was the bad guy! (Laughing) But, uh… yeah. I would liked to have fought Ibeabuchi. That would have been an interesting fight.

In which fight do you feel you threw the most perfect punch?

I don’t know. I just tried to throw them all the best I could. Cus taught me to throw everything with bad intentions.

Who was the hardest puncher you have ever faced?

Probably…. Razor Ruddock.

Your facial tattoo is kinda cool. It’s similar to the ones in the film ‘Once Were Warriors.’ Where did you get the idea for the design? How long did it take?

The design is Maori and it took about three hours. I got it done in Las Vegas by a guy named Victor Paradox. I thought about getting the other side of my face done, but I don’t think I will now. Instead, I’d like to get an extension on it. I’m thinking about having it continue down my neck and around my chest area. My last girlfriend didn’t want me to do it. But, since she won’t go out with me anymore… I’m going to get it done.

Every where you go, you are mobbed by fans. But when you walked into Madison Square Garden for the Byrd-Golota fight, the entire arena went crazy! How do you feel about all the admiration?

The fans gave me a tremendous reception that night and it felt really great. It made me feel anxious to get back in the ring and to give the fans something to really cheer about. I believe I’m ready to re-enter the heavyweight division now.

Source: fightnews.com

Thanks to maddlibb