Mike Tyson says his record run to the top of world heavyweight boxing came too early in life when he was overwhelmed by “emotional vampires.”
Tyson returns to boxing at the age of 54 in an exhibition bout with Roy Jones Jr on Saturday.
There has been an intrigue as to what to expect and how the man who became the youngest heavyweight champion in history – aged 20 – will fare.
“I think Roy can handle getting slapped a little bit,” Tyson said.
“It’s going to be very hot in this kitchen. “
Talk to Le podcast « No Passion No Point » d’Eddie Hearn sur BBC Sounds, Tyson has appeared light in his threats to Jones and the likelihood of a serious fight between the two diminishes as the event draws closer.
The exhibition sanctioning body said both fighters will wear 12oz gloves, the eight rounds will last two minutes instead of three, and the pair “Shouldn’t go for a knockout”.
It would appear the event is in place to satisfy curiosity to see Tyson in the ring against former four-weight world champion Jones, 51, rather than providing a platform for either. to pursue future fights in the sport.
It allowed Tyson’s past to be revisited, including his world title victory in 1986, his jail for rape six years later, and the financial and drug problems that became well documented later in his life.
“The best time of my life was probably right before I won the title,” Tyson told Hearn.
“When I won the title, it was difficult. It was not the right time for me. I had too many emotional vampires around me. “
‘I can protect myself now’
Hearn’s podcast sees the boxing promoter talking to people in popular culture about the key qualities needed to be successful.
Tyson, who says he started fighting when a group of men attempted to steal the pigeons he collected as a child, has long championed the advice he received from Cus D’Amato.
He believes his late trainer offered him a timely direction in life, but says it was only in recent years that he has learned to truly control some of the behaviors formed growing up in Brownsville, New York.
“This child is still in me,” Tyson added. “Now I know how to treat him, how to protect him. I didn’t protect him when I went to jail and all that crazy stuff.
“The best thing that can happen to any young man or woman is to have a diligent role model who cares about them. The feelings must be mutual. Your goal should be to make them happy – to be the man they need. be.
“Just think where I would be without boxing. I don’t even want to think about where I would be without this great sport.
“I live responsibly, by being present. That’s what it’s all about for me now.
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