Mike Tyson: The Knockout concluded Tuesday with the former heavyweight champion sitting at the table for an interview with Dateline‘s Byron Pitts. Tyson, 54, reflected on his journey from abused child to boxing big, and his infamous fall from grace.
“If you could talk to 20-year-old Mike, what would you say to him?” asked Pitts.
“It’s going to hurt,” Tyson replied. “Life will hurt him very much. I lived in fear. I’m from Brownsville, Brooklyn. I am what fear looks like. Look at me. If you think someone is afraid of me, I am probably a thousand times more afraid of them than they are of me. That’s why I’m more aggressive than them.”
Tyson’s aggression in the ring was ultimately his downfall. He notoriously bit a piece of boxer Evander Holyfield’s ear, nearly ending his professional boxing career.
Tyson’s life outside the boxing ring was even more tumultuous. He was bullied and abused as a child and had several run-ins with the law as an adult. His ex-wife Robin Givens publicly accused him of violent abuse 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 seeks redemption.
“Success for me is not cheating on my wife,” Tyson said. “Success doesn’t go to jail for me. Success for me is being responsible and present. That is 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 full of mistakes and pain, it has also taught him gratitude.
“You know, life was harder than me, so I’m trying to go the other way now,” Tyson admitted. “I have learned gratitude. Here’s what I’ve learned from life kicking me in the ass. I have learned gratitude.”
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