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Mike Tyson is a Little Older, a Little Wiser and Seemingly a Whole Lot Less Crazy


(Eat up Mr. Feathers. I chewed up these worms and grubs special for you.)

From the time he first began knocking out anyone who was foolish enough to stare across a boxing ring at him, Mike Tyson has been one of the most polarizing fighters in professional sports.

From his highly publicized problematic personal life that included a stint in prison for a rape he still contends never took place to his falling out with promoter Don King and his business managers who he says all robbed him blind, Tyson walked a thin, yet precarious line of contradiction between the seemingly invincible, cold, calculated killer in the ring and the frail, emotional and mental midget outside of it.

If you were a fan of boxing in the 90s, you were more than likely a fan of Tyson. Pound for pound, many feel he was the best fighter who ever competed. He was the "Anderson Silva" or the "Fedor Emelianenko" of boxing long before either fighter ever competed in a cage or ring.

In recent years, the former champ who was purportedly once worth more than $300 million has suffered a lifetime’s worth of tragedy and tribulation, claiming bankruptcy in 2003 and tragically losing his four-year-old daughter in 2009.



In a recent Q&A with Details magazine, at times during the interview Iron Mike displays a level of intellect that went previously unnoticed,  due perhaps to his large number of mental lapses in judgment over the years.

Here’s what Tyson, who was once in talks to fight Bob Sapp in K-1 had to say about a number of topics including his turbulent life and career and what went wrong with both of them:

On how he feels about his fans:

"Objectively, I’m a pig. That’s why it’s very difficult for me when people are offering me all that adulation and love. I just feel dirty. These people want to hug me, they want to touch me, and I’m feeling like, "Get your fucking hands off me." I feel that energy of theirs, and it’s just filth and murder. It’s not that they’re bad people necessarily; it’s just that they did something bad, and you can feel it on them. I have to go and wash up before I touch my own kids."

On his old neighborhood:
"I went back to Brownsville with my reality-TV-show crew, they’re doing a segment about my childhood racing pigeons, and Brownsville’s all upscale now. They got surveillance cameras, buildings that were abandoned cost, like, a million now, and I’m thinking, My life must’ve been a lie, ’cause there’s nothing there that looks like my childhood. This white woman come up, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow. When I was a kid, she would’ve been robbed and raped and left for dead. This is a real strange scenario, and I just wanted to cry. I’m like, "Who am I? Where’s my heritage?"

On still being alive at 44 in spite of himself:
"I only know I’m not supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be in prison for murder. I’m supposed to be dead by now, have AIDS or something.
I never thought I’d make it to 25, man. People just gotta love each other, treat each other better. I don’t know about the Zen stuff to transcend to. I still got that fire in my heart, and it just burns, man. I don’t want to have any misconceptions here. I’m not a pacifist and never will be. I still get angry, and I still scream. I can talk about humility, but I’m not humble. I mean, if you say, ‘I’m humble,’ you’ve just contradicted yourself. But I’m trying to be, man, I’m trying so hard."

On his tumultuous life:
"My life is like a tornado, a fucking hurricane. It’s like I’m a naked tornado that comes through a city and there’s just so much wreckage. There’s so much destruction, and when it’s finally over, it’s like the morning after and you’re sober and…what the fuck happened here?"

On how he mastered the art of intimidation:
"I studied every fighter in history, at my manager’s house up in Catskill, ’cause he had all the greatest fights on film, he had every last one of them, and I watched them all, every night. They were all so vicious, man. Jake LaMotta, Henry Armstrong, Carmen Basilio. Sugar Ray—God, he was vicious. But Jack Dempsey more than anyone. All these guys let you know they wanted to murder you, and they’d take shots from you, over and over and over, get beat senseless, just so they could get theirs in. Sugar Ray maybe most of all. But Jack Dempsey? He wanted to maim you. He didn’t want you dead. He wanted you to suffer. He wanted to shatter your eye socket, destroy your cheeks, your chinbone. That’s what I learned from Mr. Dempsey, and I believe I learned it well."

On what he learned from Ali:

"Believe it or not, with all that poetry and the butterflies, what I learned from Ali was meanness. He was the meanest fighter of all time. He’d be in there with Foreman, hardest puncher of all time, he’d be in there with Frazier, another hardest puncher, and he’d be taking it, boom, getting pounded, and then he’d turn, when it was his time, and you’d look at that face, and he’s screaming. [Does an Ali impression] ‘I’m not [Throws a punch] scared [Throws a punch] of you, you fucking faggot. [Throws two punches] You fucking punk. I’m fucking God, and worship me. I’m the greatest. [Throws two punches] You’re a little fucking boy, cocksucker.’ Nobody at ringside reported it, but nobody shit-talked like Ali."

On controlling emotions in the ring:
"There’s no rage and terror in boxing. If there is, they’re counting to 10 over you."

On his definition of discipline:
"Discipline is doing what you hate to do, but nonetheless doing it like you love it."

On whether or not he has found a mentor to replace Cus D’Amato:
"I’m not a guru follower. I have to be my own Cus. I have to be the man who takes the boy under his wing, protects him, knows him better than himself. I’m still that little boy; I just have to learn how to protect him a little better."

On what led to the first loss of his pro career against Buster Douglas:
"I just stopped caring. I just stopped feeling Cus inside me. All those headlines. I didn’t care about boxing. And when Douglas got up after I knocked him down and came back at me—I didn’t have it in me. I didn’t have it in me when I knocked him down, either. It’s just…more power to him, he got up. Nobody else had."

On what went wrong against Holyfield:
"Man, I didn’t care about boxing anymore. I was wrong to do that—all wrong—all crazy to do that. But that wasn’t about boxing. I just wanted to fucking maim him. I had no business being in that ring. A year out of prison, 16 months out of prison, already with two belts to defend? I had no business with those belts. I was already done. They put you, a writer, in prison, for three years, hands tied behind your back. Then they put you up against some hack, and you outwrite him, and they give you two awards. And then I put you up against a Nobel Prize winner? Absurd."

On what went through his mind before he bit Holyfield’s ear:
"I wasn’t thinking. I wasn’t training for that fight. I was on fucking drugs, thinking I was a god. I should’ve been home with my family, man. My kids."

On Bruce Lee’s influence on his life and career:
"Yeah, and I would never disrespect Bruce, but it wasn’t his fighting that really got to me. There was too much showmanship there, even in his real fights. It’s his philosophy—the best ever, off the hook: "You must be like water. The most insignificant substance but the strongest and most destructive force on the planet." You have to be both weak and strong. Strong alone is not enough. You cannot reign if you have not served. If you have not served a king, how can you ever know what it’s like to demand that kind of obeying? That’s water-deep. That’s the ocean. Everything he did was extreme. He wasn’t no nice guy, and people don’t like extremists. But he was a perfectionist."

On why he got his Che Guevara tattoo:
"You know, physically, he was just a pussy. He walked into this room, people would think he’s a wimp. He can’t kick no one’s ass. But his intensity, his tenacity. Wow, it’s like: What kind of guy is this? He was a doctor, man. He was a wimp. And then he’s a killer? A revolutionary. He got turned out! But they got him. They got him good. And when that guy came to shoot him? The guy respected him, and he hesitated. Che said, "You gonna shoot me? C’mon, shoot me, you fucking pussy."

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Frank Dux- July 16, 2010 at 11:34 am
echoxer0 Says:
Thu, 07/15/2010 - 18:21

"that nobel peace price statement really shows some depth in this guy..."

@echoxer0 - just a thought - chances are, since he's talking to a writer, he is describing the Nobel Prize for in Literature or Journalism, not the Nobel *Peace* Prize. Don't know if his statement still has the same depth for you or not...
TheArtof8Limbs- July 16, 2010 at 9:05 am
SSHHHhh...this is my favorite part right here....

"I can feel it coming in the air tonight, Oh Lord
And I've been waiting for this moment all my life.."

Sing the chorus line guys...

'Oh Lord'

Tyson punch to Galifianakis' beard

Floor

End scene.
ProfessorMMA- July 16, 2010 at 7:04 am
Iron Mike is my favorite boxer of all time and really got a bad break at life. i dont think anyone would do well if put in his position at the age he was. I dont believe he raped that chick, and i agree 100% with him about coming out of prison and fighting right away. look at the fuckign assholes around him at the time, imo don king ruined mikes life and screwed him out of probably another 10 years of being the dominant force in boxing.
BenTheMan- July 16, 2010 at 2:50 am
"This white woman come up, and I'm thinking, 'Wow. When I was a kid, she would've been robbed and raped and left for dead."

"From his highly publicized problematic personal life that included a stint in prison for a rape he still contends never took place ... "

Personally, I believe him ... THAT rape never took place. But then again, its hard to keep track of them big numbers yaw!
Shrigs- July 16, 2010 at 12:13 am
@justscrappin

Well played sir.
ghostboner- July 15, 2010 at 11:56 pm
I love when people use bullshit reasons like psychology or poor upbringing to try and justify things. I don't care how poor you grew up or how rough the neighborhood was it still all comes down to personal choices. Tyson made some bad ones. Glad to see that he is recognizing that and making some better ones. I also loved that interview with the chick reporter. The best was the long pause and molester stare between "unless I fornicate with them..." and "so you shouldn't talk no more. Unless you wanna, you know..."
dogpt3- July 15, 2010 at 9:20 pm
I fucking hope this guy never fights again, he will get murdered. This dude is still to this day, the hands down most vicious person to step inside a ring EVER. Imagine if Fedor turned to a life of booze and drugs for 20 years and then decided to come back and fight at 50? How bad would that fuck with his "legacy". I dont give a fuck how you try to debate it, you give Tyson in his prime 1 year of training ground defense and its game over for anyone. Pure bred killer instincts that you cannot teach or train. Comparing Fedor to Tyson is like comparing Kaleb Starnes to Don Frye. Fedor's legacy doesnt have SHIT on Tysons. No MMA fighter to date has achieved what Tyson did at such a young age, stick to MMA Cage Potato, Tysons name don't belong in yo' mouff.
Ballkick- July 15, 2010 at 8:09 pm
Mike continually disturbed and shocked the fuck outta me, he has grown as a man and a person. But he is still his own worst enemy.
I would have really liked to see the young Mike Tyson in MMA in his prime (today)with the right camp training him. I know he could have been the most feared & best pound for pound fighter in MMA,...just like he was in Boxing in his prime. Too bad Mike never went into K1, I was hoping he would make good on his threat to Bob Sapp.
My favorite quote from Mike (and one of the most disturbing is as follows):

[To a female reporter] “It’s no doubt I am going to win this fight and I feel confident about winning this fight. I normally don’t do interviews with women unless I fornicate with them. So you shouldn't’t talk anymore… Unless you want to, you know.”

Doesn't get any more eff'd up than that my friend!
Murdock- July 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm
^haha
justscrappin- July 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm
Shrigs....give Goldie some credit.....I bet you felt ALOT of Mike Goldberg in you before......sorry nothing personal...you left the door open...I walked through it.....I don't have to explain myself...this is the MUTHAFUCKIN CP. Sorry bro I'm done.
Shrigs- July 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm
Mike.

We love you.

@PB
The mobile site sucks, but I keep up to date on my Blackberry with CagePotato on Facebook......


For some reason I felt a little bit of Mike Goldberg in me when I said that
right hand crazy- July 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm
definitely second the recommendation of that documentary called 'tyson'. brilliant stuff. i never expected to have my mind blown by a guy that talks like a chipmunk, but the dude is profound.
justscrappin- July 15, 2010 at 5:13 pm
I never thought this dude was a mental midget. He was just raised to be drug through the dirt...expected to be dead or in jail young like he said. He luckily found an outlet...that led to fame and riches at a young age...when he wasn't even at the mental capacity or maturity to make his own decisions yet. He started so low on the education and learning curve...and then through boxing never had to go back and catch up literacy-wise. Then he got into some trouble...went to prison..started reading and wanting to be a normal educated human being. Now we are seeing a guy that gets to mature emotionally and he is actually starting to make sense and seems to understand what he went through from an almost outside perspective. You can tell he understood what he was doing was wrong...but didn't know how to express it properly and was also being paid tons of money to continue doing something that his heart wasn't in anymore. He became the villain that everyone couldn't help but watch...and by the time he didn't want to be that anymore...he was already in over his head. When millions of dollars are thrown at you before you even know how to take care of yourself and a household...all the things that we learn and become better at between 18-40 when we are out on our own. You can expect a trainwreck, especially without the support channel of parents and older relatives to guide you...which he was obviously left without at a very young age.
TheHulkSmash- July 15, 2010 at 5:12 pm
In psychology the tendency for people to think the actions of others have more to do with them than the situations they're in is called the Fundamental Attribution Error. That's right - it's such an overwhelmingly wrong way to think that it got an epic name like Fundamental Attribution Error.

This interview with Tyson is an amazing example - we all see Tyson bite the ear and we think "holy shit he's crazy." Now I'm reading interviews like this and it's like "No, he was just a dude in a fucked up situation on a lot of drugs." Cool stuff.
Murdock- July 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm
Man...this guys has been to hell and back...Glad to see him in retrospect realize what he has done in the past... And he was a fuc*in BEAST in his prime (when he did care about boxing...)
peanutbuttter- July 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm
I've become a good fan of the grown up Mike Tyson. On an unrelated note, I don't read cP as much because the mobile CP stopped refreshing. It still says one mans trash is another mans treasure, the Jake shields article. Just get rid of that shit. I've never liked the mobile site anyway.
Art Gibs- July 15, 2010 at 4:50 pm
There's also that Tyson documentary that most of you have already seen. If you haven't, you must watch it.
Cryptococcus neoformans- July 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm
There is an excellent article from ole Iron Mike in either this months's or last months Vanity Fair. Yeah, homo, etc, etc. Anyway, it's a really good read, so check it out
Dick_Gozenya- July 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm
I can relate...
echoxer0- July 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm
that nobel peace price statement really shows some depth in this guy,

once on the best damn sports show period tyson said "if u wanna see something really sad give an 18 yr old a million dollars" and i thought to myself this guy is more than just a beast in the ring.

Best of luck to him, dude sounds like he needs some zoloft.
BrutusBox- July 15, 2010 at 4:05 pm
i can't wait til strikeforce signs this guy
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