(Transcribed by Michael Readman) In the sport of boxing most fighter’s careers end when they step out of the ring for the final time, with only a small amount finding the same success out of the ring as they have had in it. “Iron” Mike Tyson is trying to join that group. He has already found success with acting and his one man show, but now he is heading back to a boxing arena and trying his hand at promoting with his first boxing show set to happen this Friday, August 23rd at the Turning Stone casino.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” interview with Mike Tyson, he talks about his upcoming promotion and discusses some of his goals with this new venture. Mike also touches on his success he has had with his Broadway show and talks about whether he could have ever imaged himself having a second career after his boxing days. Mike also shares his views on the current scene, discussing boxing stars Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. In addition Tyson discusses his relationship with Cus D’Amato and how he believes he shaped who he became as a fighter. Here is what Mike Tyson had to say.. Here is what Mike Tyson had to say.
Jenna J: I’m joined by a very special guest to “On The Ropes” Boxing Radio, he is the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, he is an accomplished Broadway actor and now he is an aspiring promoter. I am joined by ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, how’s everything going today Mike?
Mike Tyson: Hey Jenna, what’s happening buddy?
Jenna J: Everything’s happening, I’m talking to you today. I’m very happy to have you on the show. Mike, I just mentioned a second ago, you’re going into promoting and you have an event coming up on August the 23rd. Can you tell the fans about what is coming on?
Mike Tyson: Oh yes, it’s gonna be my first show and it’s in up state New York, at the Turning Point Resort. I’m gonna have the 130 pound IBF champ Argenis Mendez defending his title. This is my first, but I’m very excited about doing it, and doing it in up state New York a few hours north from where I grew up at. This is just very exciting for me, Jenna.
Jenna J: Mike, what has made you decide to go into promoting? You’ve done pretty much everything else, you’ve been an actor, you’re a Broadway star now. Why did you decide to go into promoting?
Mike Tyson: I just never thought about doing it before, and a gentleman by the name of Gary Jonas, a very savvy businessman came to me and he had a promotion company and we turned it into IMP(Iron Mike Productions) and we have a stable of boxers. This gave me the opportunity to give back to the society that gave to me so maybe at the end of the day it’s possible they won’t say “Hey, what happened to my money and my friends,” maybe I can make that difference.
Jenna J: Mike you’ve been through it all with the promoters, you’ve seen the good and the bad and the terrible obviously. What makes you different from the other promoters out there? What are you looking to accomplish as a promoter and how do you want to be seen as a promoter?
Mike Tyson: I just want to be seen as the guy that’s gonna give everything that the fighters are owed, and the fighters are going to give their best. I’m gonna be fair and I’m going to be firm, like Joe Cortez says. I’m gonna treat fighters the way they deserve to be treated with the dignity and respect, and in return I expect to be treated the same way.
Jenna J: Ok Mike, besides your promoting, you’ve also been on Broadway, you’ve done your one man show ‘The Undisputed Truth.’ I actually had the chance to watch you on stage and watch you perform, and I was really surprised by how much of an entertainer you were and how much you entertained the crowd. Could you ever have imagined that you would be where you are today and you would be the performer that you are today, outside the ring?
Mike Tyson: No, no, I thought I’d be dead somewhere, I never knew I’d be living this long to be honest. I’m just very grateful that I am. To have the opportunity to live my life the appropriate way with dignity and respect. That’s what I’m really trying to convey, gratitude. I’m very grateful to be given the opportunity’s like I have. A lot of people say “You know, you get a lot of breaks Mike, you get a lot of breaks, people don’t forgive people like they have forgave you, they forgive you too easy.” And I say, most people don’t screw up as much as I screwed up, so I deserved to be forgiven more than most people.
Jenna J: Mike, when you’re on stage and in front of a crown and you’re performing, I saw one particular part of the show when you were having your confrontation with Mitch ‘Blood’ Green and you had the wig on and you were going through all that. How is it being up there like that and performing in front of people?
Mike Tyson: It’s the best part of the show for me, I think its hilarious. I think Mitch Green is an awesome personality for that particular venue. I really enjoy it, it’s one of my favorite parts of the whole show, if not my favorite. I always look at enhancing that role to make it better, falling on the floor, dropping down an popping back up like Jason Voorhees. I like that stuff.
Jenna J: Now Mike I hear that the Broadway show is actually going to appear on Television. What’s going on with that?
Mike Tyson: Yes, on HBO. I’m not sure which particular day, but yeah, I was very fortunate to have an HBO special and I’m very grateful for that. I remember after many years of watching Eddie Murphy and Paul Rodriguez and all these guys do their specials, I never though I would be on HBO too and have an HBO special.
Jenna J: Mike, when you look at the boxing landscape right now, and this is something I usually ask a lot of different fighters who have fought in different era’s like yourself, and they always believe that the era that they fought in was the best era and that their fighters were the best fighters. I’m curious when you look at the stars now, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquiao. How do you think they stack up against the all time greats? You’re such a boxing historian, where do you think those guys will stand?
Mike Tyson: Those guys you know, you could say that those guys have paid their dues and those guys are all time greats. I don’t know who’s the greatest of all time, I don’t know. The greatest of all time is a matter of opinion of their generation. These guys, Mayweather, him and Pacquiao, they put it down man and the world knows who they are, that’s what it’s all about.
You dominate your generation and the world knows who you are. As long as they are recording fighting they will mention your name, that’s what boxing and fighting is all about, it’s for your name to be mentioned and as long as they record fighting not necessarily boxing but fighting. As long as fighting is mentioned, your name will be mentioned. That’s what we do this stuff for, that’s what the real fighters do this stuff for. You can only spend so much money, it comes and goes and then the next thing we know, believe it or not we’re gonna die, but that stays forever.
Jenna J:Alright Mike, let’s turn things back to you. I hear that you actually have an upcoming reality show on Fox Sports called ‘Being Mike Tyson.’ What can the fans expect from that?
Mike Tyson: That’s not a reality show, it’s more of a documentary, it’s not really a reality show, it’s like a sports documentary. I guess it is a reality show but they called it a sports documentary so I won’t feel like I’m being the dick head in the reality show. So it’s a show on television showing Mike being Mike I guess, it could be a reality show. I don’t think I have an exciting life, people think my life is worth talking about, but holy god I’m so embarrassed to talk about my life, people think it’s something worth talking about.
Jenna J: I’ve seen you perform on stage, your life has been very exciting. I definitely got my moneys worth when I saw you up there.
Mike Tyson: Thank you Jenna, Thank you.
Jenna J: Speaking of the documentary ‘Being Mike Tyson’ I saw a brief highlight of it, and you actually had a talk with Evander Holyfield, who you were in the ring with, talking about the incident that you had in the past. I was just quite curious, how have you guys been over the years, it seems that you are quite friendly, when obviously thirteen, fourteen years ago you could of been anything but.
Mike Tyson: It just shows what life is about. Life is about healing, love and forgiveness and growth. That’s what we were discussing. Life is about contradictions you know, we’re not the same person at twenty five that we were at fifteen you know and we’re not the same person we were when we’re thirty five as when we were twenty five. It’s just a form of growing. There comes a time in life when you reach that paradigm shift, when everything that you actually believed was true is really a lie and you have to live your life from a whole different perspective now.
Jenna J: Mike, when it’s all said and done, how do you think people will remember you? Will they remember you just as a fighter, as the actor, or the Broadway actor? What do you think they will remember Mike Tyson as?
Mike Tyson:Hey, I’m just happy to be remembered, no one knows what God has coming around the corner for you. I’m just very grateful to have the opportunity to have done the things I’ve done in life. Since I was a little kid I’m very grateful to have met Cus D’Amato, Bobby Stewart and the men who I met in my life who tried to groom me, maybe they weren’t the right mentors but they were the right people to keep me alive and to teach me about surviving and life.
I never will forget Cus D’Amato, he gave me confidence, I’ll always remember him for that. Without that confidence I would never have done what I did, I’m only a small guy, I’m five foot ten, and you’ve got guys who were six foot six, two hundred and sixty pounds, all that stuff. He never believed I was too small, he though those other guys were too big.
Jenna J: It’s interesting that you mention that, all the heavyweights today are so huge it’s unthinkable that there could be a heavyweight at five foot ten that did what you did. Do you think that is your greatest impact with your size, that you accomplished great things?
Mike Tyson: Yeah, it was psychological, I never knew I was at a disadvantage, I always thought they were at the disadvantage because they were too big.
Jenna J: So you always thought you had the advantage no matter what their size was because that was your mentality?
Mike Tyson: Cus D’Amato as my mentor he always wanted me to hit them hard, keep hitting them, don’t be afraid and hit them back. It all came down from a street attitude, I don’t care who you are or how big you are, I’m gonna hit you back like your four foot high. I’m gonna treat you like I’m the bully and you’re the prey. That’s just how I looked at life. I never thought of myself as being small, I always thought of myself as a big guy, as a giant, I never thought I was five foot ten.
Jenna J: When they look at you Mike, they say you’re the last exciting heavyweight we’ve had. How do you feel about that when everyone says we need another Mike Tyson in the division?
Mike Tyson: I didn’t know what charismatic and excitement meant until I met Cus. Cus trained me to fight and be exciting. I didn’t know anything about that, I didn’t know anything about being a fan pleaser and none of that stuff, this is the way he trained me to fight. He was just the greatest fight man, he had the psychology of fear down to a science. Look at me, I had all those guys scared to death, he had it down to a science, he must have studied it for over thirty years, just the psychology of it, he knew how they felt, and that was our advantage. We knew how they felt inside, I don’t care how tough and how much of a killer and a malevolent monster they look outside, I knew how they felt inside.
Jenna J: Mike back to your boxing promotion you have coming up, at the Turning Stone Casino onAugust 23rd, what can fans expect from this event?
Mike Tyson: A lot of enjoyment and excitement and looking forward to seeing the next Iron Mike Production.
Jenna J: Final question for you Mike. For all the fans out there that have followed you throughout your entire career Mike, anything you want to say to them?
Mike Tyson: Thank you very much. I’ve had a long and a really shaky journey and I’m glad you were with me every step of the way.