(transcribed by Michael Readman) Mike Tyson is now only a day away from entering a boxing arena for the first time as a promoter. “Iron” Mike, a boxer once known for the excitement he brought inside the ring is now hoping he can bring fans the same type of enjoyment with a debut which will be a nationally televised card on Friday Night Fights, that will feature a world title fight doubleheader. Mike, now 47 has had an interesting road outside the ring and now it seems he is finally ready to take a step closer to where it all started.
In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” interview with Mike Tyson, Mike talks about what he believes caused his decline in the boxing ring, and also gives his views on how he thinks he would do against some of the champions of today. Mike also touches on the hot topic of steroids in boxing and gives his thoughts on how he thinks boxers of today are competing. Additionally 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.
Jenna J: Mike in regards to your boxing career, it seemed like you started to decline in your early thirty’s. What was it that you think started to turn for you? What was it that you thought started to cause you problems in the ring? Was it the fighters being too big, you now having to face bigger and better competition, or do you think that people kind of lost the fear of Mike Tyson?
Mike Tyson: No, I was getting high all the time! I was getting high and sleeping with prostitutes before fights, I was really a mess (laughs).
Jenna J: Mike the question I hear most from boxing fans lately is “How would Tyson do against today’s champions.” I have you here now, so how do you think you would do against the Klitschko’s?
Mike Tyson: I would always beat them, listen, I would think the same way that I would think today, I’d probably be using some more steroids or something but I was beating them the same way when I wasn’t using the stuff. It’s very difficult to compete now without using that stuff. I know people say “I don’t use it” but it’s almost impossible to compete without that stuff, almost impossible. It’s part of our culture now.
Jenna J: You say it’s hard for fighters today to compete with without using something. A lot of fighters are taking it now Mike, a lot of fighters are on performance enhancing drugs. What do you think of where boxing is?
Mike Tyson: No, no. All the fighters are on it, the ones that can afford it are on it. That’s my opinion only, I haven’t seen nobody do it but it’s common knowledge.
Jenna J: So you think that a lot of the top fighters today, if they’re at the elite, that they maybe are doing something they shouldn’t be doing?
Mike Tyson: Well listen, if they’re doing it in baseball, if they’re doing it in football, if they’re doing it in cycling, and you tell me that they’re not doing it in boxing. No, this is not true. In all sports we all want to compete and to be the best and to be the best we will do anything. There’s very little honor in this game for success and accomplishments, we get it any way we can.
Jenna J: Mike, what do you think of the guys that are being accused of it like Manny Pacquiao? Manny has had it through his career and now they are accusing Marquez of it?
Mike Tyson: Hey, I wasn’t there when somebody gave them some drugs or anything, I’m just saying this and quote me, it’s almost impossible to compete nowadays without it.
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.
Click play on the audio player to listen to the Mike Tyson interview in it’s entirety “On The Ropes”