Mike Tyson is a larger than life figure known throughout the world as “The Baddest Man on the Planet”; whether or not it is from his in the ring accomplishments or out of the ring exploits, one would be hard pressed to find someone who has not heard of “Mighty” Mike.
A modern day punching phenomenon who claimed the heavyweight title in 1985 at just 20 years of age, Tyson endeared himself to boxing enthusiasts not only for the trail of carnage he left behind but memorable pre and post fight comments.
Everything Tyson did was watched with deep interest, those who loved him cheered his every action be it positive or negative, and those who hated him did so with a grain of salt because no matter what Mike did, it was worth talking about.
When Tyson retired in 2005, people wondered what would become of him? With his legal issues, money owed to the IRS and a short temper, many predicted a quick downfall.
Others thought he would make a return to the ring out of financial need with the probability that he would suffer more of the same fate he had in his final two bouts when he lost to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride, both grade B fighters at best, by stoppage.
Then of course there were those who, just like when his career was active, waited with baited breath to see what exactly would be the next chapter in Tyson’s already storied life.
After a shortly lived world tour of exhibition bouts against Cory “T-Rex” Sanders that was created as a source of income to help the ex-champion get out of debt with the government and an arrest in 2006 for DUI along with drug possession, it seemed that maybe those who expected a quick downfall were correct, but after seeking treatment for addiction a change in Tyson came about.
While we see less of Tyson, when we did surface, he appeared a more humble and quieter Tyson. On occasion during fight cards, announcers would grab his attention for a few moments to request his opinion on the night’s events and when he replied the answers were not only informative but Tyson himself seemed more personable. Those in attendance would cheer, showing that their appreciation for Mike had not faded even if his ring career had.
Just like when Mighty Mike terrorized his opponents in the ring, the sight of him was often enough to cause a crowd frenzy. Slowly though, Tyson kept making changes to himself; no longer was he rude and crude but a seemingly more appreciative Mike Tyson, a Tyson that no longer felt the need to be on stage every minute.
One thing during Tyson’s career fans had never witnessed was the “real” Mike Tyson. The media circus and outlandish acts had become so common we never had a chance to see what Mike himself was about.
In 1988, when Tyson was married to Robin Givens, they appeared on the talk show 20/20. It was supposed to be a behind the scenes look at the couple but it became nothing more then a personal attack on behalf of Givens against Tyson, who sat looking stunned at what his wife was saying about him, further enhancing the bad man image already created for him.
Two decades later, a 2008 critically acclaimed documentary simply titled “Tyson” finally provided that look into Tyson’s life that fans had wondered so much about.
What would happen during the movie really brought upon a different look towards Tyson, especially from those who at one time thought him nothing more than a thuggish brute. We learned how things in his life happened without the media twist; the public was able to get a view into the happenings that made media headlines from his side, Tyson was candid and it left viewers looking at him in a whole new light.
Suddenly he was not Mike Tyson the maniac but Mike Tyson the guy you could relate to. Things he did that once seemed so reprehensible now seemed antagonized, you could understand Mikes side of things and even wonder how he was able to deal with the constant pressure of being “Mike Tyson” let alone be given a chance to live something of a peaceful life that most fighters are able to away from the ring.
In May, 2009, tragedy struck Tyson when his four year old daughter Exodus accidentally became tangled in a cord that hung off an exercise treadmill. She was found by her seven year old brother Miguel, passing away just days later from her injuries.
The outpouring of public sympathy from around the world was tremendous as anyone could understand that the former champion’s grief must be overwhelming.
That same month Tyson appeared on televisions popular daytime talk show “The View” where he stated that though he has no real money to speak of and he really can not explain how he lost his fortune, other then the fact one day he realized it was all gone, Tyson made certain he mentioned the fact that he is grateful for his current life, the fact he has a wife and children who love him was enough for him, even more then he deserves in his opinion.
Tyson made an appearance in the blockbuster movie hit “The Hangover” and it was his appearance that had the fans buzzing. His scenes were the highlight of the film for many.
Recently, Tyson was seen in an internet video as a backup dancer for Wayne Brady’s spoof of Bobby Browns 1980’s hit “My Prerogative”. More recently, he made an appearance on the hit television show “The Ultimate Fighter”, giving a motivational speech to the fighters that they all seemed to take to heart.
Who would have ever thought this Mike Tyson would ever surface? Who would have ever thought Mike Tyson even had such a side? This version of Tyson does exist and the fans love this side of him, what’s more Tyson seems to be happy with the “New” version of himself and in the end, that is what is most important.