from the days of struggles and glories to the peace of prison

I had the best three years of my life in prison». The phrase is authored by Mike Tyson and left the interviewers in awe. – “It’s interesting to say that, because there were millions…”, commented one of them in response. The conversation continued.

– “But I had peace there”, reinforced Tyson.

– «Even earning 30 million dollars per fight?».

Tyson clarifies: “Listen, can I tell you something? It means nothing if you don’t have your peace, your stability, your balance. You need your sanity to control any part of life. I always tell people, ‘God punishes you by giving you everything you want to see if you can handle it’.

It’s just 30 seconds into an hour-long interview with the man who continues to be considered by many to be the greatest boxer of all time.

The 56-year-old boxing legend was the special guest of the last episode of The Pivot Podcast, shared in recent days, and spoke about his life and career, at a time that marks 25 years of the famous Las Vegas duel, where Tyson ripped off part of opponent Evander Holyfield’s ear.

A pigeon at the origin of a fighter
Michael Gerald Tyson was born in 1966 in Brooklyn, New York, and his early childhood was marked by the abandonment of his father, who left home when little Mike was just two years old. Before becoming one of the most important names in the sport, he started his career on the streets, with frequent fights and brawls serving as stages to the future that was soon foreseen for him. When remembering the first conflict, Tyson travels back to the moment he reacted after his pigeon was killed. “The guy killed my pigeon and it was over. That was the first fight of my life. Because of a pigeon », he mentioned during the conversation, admitting that he wanted to « crush the world at his feet ». «I have a deep hole in me. I had to have it all”, he added, before recalling the difficult youth he also went through: “When I was young, I was unbalanced. It was always all or nothing.”

The truth is that the American boxer’s passion for pigeons is well known. In 2011, in the reality show Face to Face with Mike Tyson, the fighter himself confessed that the «first thing I loved in life was a pigeon». «And I even feel ridiculous trying to explain the reason for that», he commented at the time, which may also help to explain the more aggressive reaction that triggered his first duel.

A conflicted and problematic boy, he was 11 years old when he was sent to an educational establishment for juvenile delinquents and it was during this phase that he was introduced to boxing, motivated by the director of the institution and a former boxer. It is important to realize that we were talking about a pre-teen weighing 80 kg and with an absolutely unusual physique compared to other colleagues in his age group.

The rest of the glory story in the ring is well known and the numbers are unequivocal: ‘Iron’ Mike has 50 wins in his entire career, including 44 by knockout and only 6 losses. At the age of 20, he was the youngest boxing world champion and even held the three main No. 1 titles at the same time: the World Boxing Confederation (WBC) heavyweight title and the International Boxing Federation world titles and the World Boxing Association.

But if the reformatory where he spent part of his pre-adolescence had a great influence on his successes, Tyson, also known as Kid Dynamite, from an early age admitted that his mother’s death was fuel for his professional success.

“My mother’s death was one of the best things that happened to me because she treated me like a baby. With her, I would never have gotten into fights on the street nor would I have defended myself», once said the athlete who, at 16 years old, was entrusted to the care of coach Cus D’Amato, shortly after the death of his mother (1982).

Mike Tyson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame – founded in 1989, with the aim of safeguarding the greatest boxers of all time in boxing history – in 2011.
From gorilla fights to prison

But the glory days were always accompanied by days of struggle and the name of Mike Tyson also made a lot of ink due to his eccentric and controversial personality.

The problems, as you can understand, started early on and in the 1980s one of the most ridiculous stories related to the former boxer would take place. He himself admitted that he tried to bribe a zoo security guard in New York with $10,000 to give him access to the cage and be able to fight a… gorilla. The moment came during a walk with the fighter’s then-wife, model and actress Robien Gives, who filed for divorce shortly after they walked down the aisle for considering Tyson ‘manic-depressive’.

In 1991 she was part of the jury of the Miss America contest. He was accused of rape by model Desiree Washington and was sentenced immediately afterward to six years in prison.

He served half his sentence for good behavior and during this period he converted to Islam, adopting the faith name Malek Abdul Aziz.

He returned to competition and, in June 1997, faced world champion Evander Holyfield in what became known as the fight of the century. Tyson would end up biting off a piece of his opponent’s ear, in one of the most memorable fights of his career. In 2020, Tyson spoke again about the episode and admitted that he “wanted to kill” his opponent. “I would do it again, yes. I bit him because I wanted to kill him. I was very upset because he gave me several blows to the head and took me out of the fight. For better or for worse, I won’t let anyone take away my glory”, he assured. After what happened 25 years ago, Tyson was banned from competition and, despite having reappeared in the ring after serving his punishment, he was already far from the physical shape that fans of the sport are used to. Still, with each announcement of an eventual return, Tyson received an applause and a bow from the followers. It was not by chance that he was also nicknamed The Baddest Man on the Planet.

Mike Tyson would go on to declare bankruptcy at age 37 after winning over $300 million in fights.
In recent years, he continues to speak for the more or less controversial statements and, even before revealing that he lived the best three years of his life behind bars, for having managed to find peace there, he had also recently shared one of the secrets he made your life to improve substantially. Nothing more and nothing less than… frog venom. The former wrestler revealed that for the past four years he has been consuming venom from a frog from the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, and admitted that this habit has brought him several benefits. “I did it as a challenge. He was using hard drugs like cocaine, so why not? It’s another dimension. Before that was a shard. The toughest opponent I’ve ever faced is myself. I had low self-esteem, something that often happens to people who have big egos. But it takes away your ego,” he told The New York Post in November 2021. “People see how I’ve changed. My mind doesn’t understand what happened, but my life has completely improved. The frog’s only goal is for you to reach your maximum potential and see the world differently, that we are all the same and everything is love». Champion words.

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