At the age of 7, along with the rest of the world, I purchased the video game “Mike Tyson’s Punchout”. Since then, he has always been my favorite boxer. His combination of youth and power made him a legend at 18 years old. At that time, it was Iron Mike who was the golden boy of boxing at a time when Oscar De La Hoya was still touring with Menudo. Mike was the most exciting man on the planet. Throughout the 1980s, Tyson broke every concievable pay per view record. He made over 300 million dollars in his career. This deadly combo of fame and money would derail the youngest heavyweight champ of all time. Tyson’s fall was full of funnier interviews than Michael Jackson and so he somehow managed to stay likeable eventhough you would possibly soil yourself if ever left alone in a room with him. That’s because talking to Mike Tyson is like playing russian roulette. The man is a sensative historian who has portraits of Chairman Mao tattooed on his right bicep along with a Che on his stomach. Then again, he’s also the same guy who took a bite out of Evander Holyfield’s ear. Tyson is softspoken to the point that its comical yet he is also a convicted rapist and has been charged with assault repeatedly. When asked about his rape charge, Tyson says with his high-pitched lisp “Did I rape Desiree Washington? No, Desiree Washington raped me.” All at once, Tyson is crazy, funny, stupid, smart (?), crass, predictable and surprising, but always honest and compelling. As a result, he is hands down the most quotable athlete of all time. Nobody else comes close.
He is such an enormous figure in the cultural landscape that even the Simpsons have their own homage to him, Drederick Tatum. Tyson is such a character that Tatum actually pales in comparison to the real thing. In fact, director James Toback (Two Girls and a Guy ) has just released his documentary “Tyson” at the Cannes film festival and it has been hailed as a tour de force, like the man itself. Tyson defies description. Some athletes collect cars. Mike Tyson collects pigeons. Legend is pigeons were his best friends when he was a child growing up in the very dangerous and poor neighbourhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn. This is evidenced by his reaction to losing his pigeon, Julius. Tyson says “One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand, he was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard.” Wow. You simply cannot make this stuff up. Iron Mike collects pigeons. He’s the first pigeon collector since that lady from Home Alone 2. And judging from this clip, he knows his stuff.
Some other Tyson-isms:
“Anyone with a grain of sense would know that if I punched my wife I would rip her head off. It’s all lies. I have never laid a finger on her.”
“My power is discombobulatingly devastating. I could feel his muscle tissues collapse under my force. It’s ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm.”
“I feel like sometimes that I was born, that I’m not meant for this society because everyone here is a f**king hypocrite. Everybody says they believe in God but they don’t do God’s work. Everybody counteracts what God is really about. If Jesus was here, do you think Jesus would show me any love? Do you think Jesus would love me? I’m a Muslim, but do you think Jesus would love me … I think Jesus would have a drink with me and discuss … why you acting like that? Now, he would be cool. He would talk to me. No Christian ever did that and said in the name of Jesus even … They’d throw me in jail and write bad articles about me and then go to church on Sunday and say Jesus is a wonderful man and he’s coming back to save us. But they don’t understand that when he comes back, that these crazy greedy capitalistic men are gonna kill him again.”
“The one thing I know, everyone respects the true person and everyone’s not true with themselves. All of these people who are heroes, these guys who have been lily white and clean all their lives, if they went through what I went through, they would commit suicide. They don’t have the heart that I have. I’ve lived in places they can’t defecate in.”
“I’m just a dark guy from a den of iniquity. A dark shadowy figure from the bowels of iniquity. I wish I could be Mike who gets an endorsement deal. But you can’t make a lie and a truth go together. This country wasn’t built on moral fiber. This country was built on rape, slavery, murder, degradation and affiliation with crime.”
“I really dig Hannibal. Hannibal had real guts. He rode elephants into Cartilage.”
“I like the British bikes. I like British people. They’re real mellow.”
(* Mike can be mellow too, Have you heard him Christmas caroling? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmLjF1i52SU )
“I can sell out Madison Square Garden masturbating.”
(* or singing the Monster Mash! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CUhYglZ4PY )
This interview below is classic Mike. The caucasian woman interviewing him says, “Mike, where does this RAGE come from?” He replies “(giggling) Ooh, You’re so white. ”
Well, he may not be the most polished and suave man about town but he certainly is the craziest. Hands down the most popular boxer since Ali, he is a symbol of our times. For better or worse. Whatever your opinion of him, you cannot deny that he is entertaining.