Iron Mike opens up - Tyson talks boxing, prison and relationships
Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight champion of the world, is bringing his sell-out stage show about his troubled life, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, to Dubai. Already a massive hit on Broadway and Las Vegas, Iron Mike opens up about the numerous ups and downs in his life: his difficult upbringing, his relationships, his time in prison for rape and his boxing career, which saw him rule the ring in the late 1980s and 1990s.
Can you try to explain who you are on stage? I try to be objective and not be Mike Tyson on stage, but an actor acting like Mike Tyson. I’m a human being, there’s no way I can do my show and be open and emotionally natural if I’m forcing myself to do that. I have to look at it like I’m not actually Mike Tyson but an actor doing Mike Tyson.
The show has been such a massive success in America… Thanks, but don’t get too carried away. I’m no Charles Manson but I’m no Mother Theresa either. Don’t be so quick to understand me. Don’t get too close because you should be careful so I don’t bite you. I did it before and I’ll do it again.
You’ve lived a lot of life, haven’t you? There’s never enough life. Even if you’re in a wheelchair, have cancer or AIDS, you’re dying, there’s never enough. That one tenth of a second is just enough. There’s never enough life.
What do you regret the most? I don’t have many regrets. If I changed anything I wouldn’t have this life and this life is pretty awesome. There aren’t many regrets I have in life. Not many. I wish I was a better father, but that comes with me being the father that I am now.
What are the similarities between a fight in the ring and a show on the stage? Sometimes being in the ring is kind of like being on stage. The similarities are that I can’t wait to get my hands on the guy just like I can’t wait to get on stage. The non-similarities are that no one has to go to the hospital after I perform.
Were you nervous the first time you performed the show on stage? Absolutely. It’s just like I’m fighting, I want to knock out everyone in the room… with my performance, of course.
Why do you think the show has been a hit? I don’t know. I want to think it’s because I’ve got special powers and I’m special, but it’s because people care. That’s the only reason I’m doing well, because people care. My friends always would help me when I was doing bad, but I had to help myself and see myself humbled. If you’re not humble in this world, the world will thrust humbleness upon you. That was the most amazing lesson I learned in life.
Why do you think people should see the show? Because it’s life on life’s terms. There was a lot about myself that I didn’t like, but now I know that I’ll never be able to change that and I accept that about myself.
Some might find this hard to watch. What do you say to those people? I’ve never asked them to give me a chance because that’s not something I can control. People have to go with how they feel. My job in life is not to change people’s feelings of perspectives. People do what they do and they can think what they want about who I am. I accept who I am and I like who I am. I feel very grateful to be here. I like life more than I did when I had tonnes of money. I’m sorry if anyone is ever disappointed in me. I’m the person I want to be.
World Trade Centre, Dubai
Tel: (056) 1333268. Metro: World Trade Centre.