Mike Tyson’s latest press conference may not have inspired a lot of faith in his abilities as a boxing promoter, but this two minute clip from it might be the most touching moment in the outspoken and oft controversial boxing great’s long career.
As was the case with Tyson’s first conference as a promoter, the above clip is equal parts sincerity, remorse and honest-to-God hope. Treating the media crew present at The Turning Stone Casino as if they were his personal therapists, Tyson nearly broke down describing his ongoing battle with drugs and alcohol, an admission that seemed to shock even him:
I’m a bad guy sometimes. I did a lot of bad things, and I want to be forgiven. So in order for me to be forgiven, I hope they can forgive me. I wanna change my life, I wanna live a different life now. I wanna live my sober life. I don’t wanna die. I’m on the verge of dying, because I’m a vicious alcoholic.
I haven’t drank or took drugs in six days, and for me that’s a miracle. I’ve been lying to everybody else that think I was sober, but I’m not. This is my sixth day. I’m never gonna use again.
Tyson’s past troubles — both professionally and personally — have been documented ad nauseum, but the former champion has made somewhat of a turnaround in the public eye as of late. Once the most reviled figure in boxing, Iron Mike has slowly rebuilt his reputation as one of the most genuinely heartfelt individuals in the combat sports community. We honestly hope that his newfound sobriety will ensure that he hangs around for as long as humanely possible, because we’ll be damned if he isn’t an interesting person to listen to (you know what we mean, you shallow sonsabitches).
In case you were wondering what exactly Tyson was referring to when discussing his beef with Teddy Atlas, join us after the jump for the full scoop.
Those of you unfamiliar with Tyson’s rough upbringing should know that, after being deserted by his father, losing his mother and being arrested some 38 times by the age of 13, Mike wound up at the Tryon School for Boys in Johnstown, NY (less than 10 minutes from my childhood home, BTW). It was there that Tyson caught the attention of counselor Bobby Stewart and later, International Boxing Hall of Fame trainer/manager Cus D’Amato. Under D’Amato, Teddy Atlas and Kevin Rooney helped train Tyson in the early 1980′s. ESPN.com recaps the infamous incident that lead to their falling out:
Atlas and Tyson had a falling out following an incident in which Atlas has said Tyson approached a young girl, who was a relative of Atlas’ wife, in a crude manner. In his biography, Atlas recalled borrowing a .38 from a friend, tracking down Tyson one night in 1982, telling him to smarten up and firing the gun, deliberately missing.
“Mike has always been looking for an escape, a trap door,” Atlas said of Tyson in 2003. “He always lacked one essential ingredient in [situations of] building character: the ability to confront himself.”
Tyson said Atlas was extremely important to him back then. “I was wrong,” Tyson admitted Friday.
When asked what made him think he would be a good promoter, Tyson added, “I want to be here and I want be in the best interests of the fighters. I don’t know where it’s going to lead me. It’s just my first event and I’m just very grateful. And that’s just what I’m trying to convey is gratitude.”