Whether you love him or hate him, everyone can agree that Mike Tyson is one interesting character. His life has been one huge rollercoaster, and in the soon-to-be-released documentary, Tyson, you hear the crazy stories from the man himself. We were lucky enough to get an advanced screener of the film, and here are some of the more interesting revelations about his up-and-down life.
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7. He Was a Wuss in School
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As a child, Mike described himself as “the fat kid.” He had awful lungs. In the documentary you can still hear him wheezing. He claims that his bad wind is the reason he always tried to knock his opponents out as quickly as possible. You’ve probably heard that Tyson used to take care of pigeons when he was a young boy, but you probably didn’t know that the birds are what ultimately helped him overcome his timid demeanor. He was picked on as a child and often humiliated by older kids, but one day the bullies found his birds and ripped the head off one of them. This sent Mike into a rage, causing him to fight for the first time in his life. He won against a much older, stronger guy.
6. He Didn’t Believe in Himself
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Despite doing things the right way with an incredible trainer, when Mike went to his first amateur boxing tournament he was scared to death. He had fought in the streets, but he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to put it all together in the ring. He was so frightened, in fact, that he tried to find the train station to go home. He couldn’t find it, and so he returned to the tournament to take what he thought would be a beating. He ended up knocking out every opponent in the first round and scored a record eight-second KO.
5. No Sex = A Better Fighter
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Mike claims that when he was rising through the ranks in his young professional career he abstained from sex for five years because he was told fighters should never have sex before a fight. He wanted to be the best, so he said no. He also mentions that having sex after not doing the deed for five years is the best feeling in the world. Mike’s sexual exploits are a big part of the film. He claims he likes to dominate powerful women, has had countless one-night stands, and believes that few women are able to handle him in the sack.
4. He Still Hates Don King
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Mr. King isn’t exactly known as a humanitarian, and Mike is still angry at him after all these years. He shared a story about running into Don King outside the Beverly Hills Hotel and “stomping him” in front of a bunch of senior citizens. Considering Mike also said that when he punches someone he imagines his fist going through their head, King is lucky to be alive. According to Mike, Don King is, “a wretched, slimy, reptilian motherf*****. He would kill his mother for a dollar. He doesn’t know how to love anybody. He’s a piece of s***.” If you can’t tell already, Mike doesn’t pull any punches in the film.
3. He Still Maintains His Innocence
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In 1992, Mike was found guilty of raping Desiree Washington, a contestant in the Miss Black America Pageant. He spent three years in federal prison and came out a completely changed man. Now, 17 years later, Tyson still maintains his innocence. Indeed, even a relative of Desiree Washington has since come forward stating that she believes that he was improperly accused.
2. Robin Givens Lied to Barbara Walters
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In a now-legendary interview in 1988, Tyson and his wife Robin Givens talked to Barbara Walters on 20/20. Mike claims he was completely blindsided when Givens said that she was being abused. He admits that he was too young to be married and acted like a pig with other women, but claims that he did not physically abuse her. He talks about how excruciating it was to sit there listening to her lie without being able to say anything. He figured if he acted out then everyone would just assume he was guilty. So he had to sit there and take it. He states that he was lying in bed with Givens when news reports of their divorce were running on TV.
1. He Won his First Championship Belt with VD
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In the days leading up to his fight with Trevor Berbick, Tyson had spent a little too much time carousing with Las Vegas prostitutes. He contracted gonorrhea, and said he was in awful pain. He was too embarrassed to go to a doctor, so he decided to fight through it. The result? A second round knockout to take the WBC heavyweight title. He claims the STD didn’t bother him because he had one objective, and that was to win. He said he wore the championship belt for three weeks—even to the store. At 20, he was the youngest man to ever wear a heavyweight championship belt.