Mike Tyson: The Knockout concluded Tuesday with the former heavyweight champion sitting down for an interview with Dateline’s Byron Pitts. Tyson, 54, reflected on his journey from abused child to boxing great, and his notorious fall from grace.
“If you could talk to 20-year-old Mike, what would you say to him?” Pitts asked.
“It's gonna hurt,” replied Tyson. “Life is gonna hurt him really bad. I lived in fear. I am from Brownsville, Brooklyn. I'm what fear looks like. Look at me. If you think anybody's afraid of me, I'm probably a thousand times more afraid of them than they are of me. That's why I'm more aggressive than they are.”
Tyson’s aggression in the ring was ultimately his undoing. He notoriously bit a piece of boxer Evander Holyfield’s ear, all but ending his professional boxing career.
Tyson’s life outside of the boxing ring was even more tumultuous. He was bullied and abused as a child and as an adult he had several run-ins with the law. His ex-wife Robin Givens publicly accused him of being violently abusive during their eight-month marriage. In 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington. He served more than three years in prison for the crime. Now, Tyson is seeking redemption.
“Success to me is not cheating on my wife,” Tyson said. “Success for me is not going to prison. Success for me is being responsible and being present. That's success for me.”
Viewers on Twitter appreciated the candid look into his life and his pursuit of redemption. And while the boxer admits his life has been filled with mistakes and pain, it has also taught him gratitude.
“You know, life was tougher than me, so I'm trying to go the other way now,” Tyson admitted. “I learned gratitude. This is what I learned from life kicking my ass. I learned gratitude.”
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