Tyson unplugged: On media, fans and his reputation

WAILEA, Hawaii -- Mike Tyson, preparing for his June 8 fight with Lennox Lewis on the island of Maui, has kept a rather low profile.

Tyson admits biting Lewis ...
then takes it back
NEW YORK -- Mike Tyson admitted biting Lennox Lewis' leg during a news conference melee that led to the loss of the former heavyweight champion's Nevada boxing license.

"I did bite him," Tyson told FOX News Channel in an interview scheduled to air Saturday night.

Tyson earlier apologized for the Jan. 22 brawl during a news conference in New York, but refused to say whether he bit Lewis.

After Tyson was denied a license to face Lewis in Las Vegas, the fighters agreed to a June 8 bout in Memphis, Tenn.

On Friday, Tyson explained himself in a statement released through spokesman Scott Miranda.

"I said I bit Lennox because that is what everyone wanted to hear. I will say anything to get under his skin," the statement said. "But on June 8, flesh will not be enough. I will take Lennox's title, his soul and smear his pompous brains all over the ring when I hit him."

Tyson was suspended from boxing in 1997 for biting Evander Holyfield's ear during a bout in Las Vegas.
-- The Associated Press

Until a Wednesday conversation with a group of television reporters, including ESPN's Max Kellerman.

Tyson, usually calm but at times hostile, opened with a lewd response to a female reporter, who asked him about the upcoming fight ("It's no doubt I am going to win this fight and I feel confident about winning this fight. I normally don't do interviews with women unless I fornicate with them. So you shouldn't talk anymore ... Unless you want to, you know.").

At different times during the session, he was introspective, angry and bitter. Weighing 230 pounds -- near his fighting weight, thanks to morning runs and afternoon sparring sessions -- Tyson talked about himself, how he's perceived publicly, his legacy and the Lewis fight (though sparingly).

Some of it was graphic, some unsettling, some incomprehensible. Among his thoughts:

  • To a question on whether he feels support from the common fan: "I don't feel love from them because there's no love. They don't know me as an individual, they know me for what I actually do. Because they pay to see me smash anybody. If they're white they pay, (it's) because the only thing they have respect for is my ability as an athlete. But if I was in court and I had to use them to testify against me on my character, they wouldn't testify positively against me and they would think I'm a cad..."

  • More on fans: "I think the average person thinks I'm a (expletive) nut and I deserve whatever happens to me. That's what I believe."

  • On his time in jail: "You have to understand, Frank Bruno would not have been champion if I had not been in prison. Oliver McCall would not have been champion if I had not been in prison. A lot of these guys would not have been champion. Michael Moorer would not have been champion. Those guys would not have been champion if I had been around. They would have had no legacy. None of those guys would have had a legacy.

    "I would have been in shape. I would have been active. (Evander) Holyfield, those guys wouldn't have been champion when I was around, but I went away for four or five years inactive and that made them competitive for a time.

    "But you really have to look at the science of the situation. You guys come here to talk and report but you don't actually look at the facts of what this business is all about. The best thing that happened to those guys and they should stand on their mother's shoulders and kiss my ass because I went to prison or they would not be existing right now. They'd be a flash in the pan and would have made some money and opened up a restaurant or bar somewhere where they live at."

  • On his first fight with Holyfield: "(When) I fought Evander, I was up for the fight physically, but I wasn't up psychologically."

    Tyson's Sunday Conversation
    Mike Tyson spent part of his interview going one-on-one with ESPN's Max Kellerman:

    Kellerman: "If you win this puts you in the Ali, Joe Louis, Jack Johnson level. How do you control the fight?"

    Tyson: "It's interesting that you put me in the league with those illustrious fighters, but I've proved since my career I've surpassed them as far my popularity. I'm the biggest fighter in the history of the sport. If you don't believe it, check the cash register."

    The rest of the discussion will be part of SportsCenter's Sunday Conversation following the Cubs-Dodgers game (approx 11 p.m. ET).

  • On his reputation and dealing with the media: "People (are) going to say what they say. It has to be for a reason. It's just for a reason. I know sometimes I say things; I offend people. I ask this lady a lewd question because I'm in a lot of pain too. I have some pain I'm gonna have for the rest of my life. And Lewis, I'm trying to give some of that pain to ya'll.

    "Sometimes you guys have no pride, so no matter what I say, you guys ... it doesn't affect you because you don't care about nothing but money. So every now and then I kick your (expletive) ass and stomp on you and put some kind of pain and inflict some of the pain on you because you deserve to feel the pain that I feel.

    "I wish that you guys had children so I could kick them in the (expletive) head or stomp on their testicles so you could feel my pain because that's the pain I have waking up every day."

  • On the "real" Mike Tyson: "I'm just like you. I enjoy the forbidden fruits in life, too. I think it's un-American not to go out with a woman, not to be with a beautiful woman, not to get my (expletive) sucked ... It's just what I said before, everybody in this country is a big (expletive) liar. (The media) tells people ... that this person did this and this person did that and then we find out that were just human and we find out that Michael Jordan cheats on his wife just like everybody else and that we all cheat on our (expletive) wife in one way or another either emotionally, physically or sexually or one way.

    "There's no one perfect. We're always gonna do that. Jimmy Swaggart is lascivious, Mike Tyson is lascivious -- but we're not criminally, at least I'm not, criminally lascivious. You know what I mean. I may like to fornicate more than other people -- it's just who I am. I sacrifice so much of my life, can I at least get laid? I mean, I been robbed of my most of my money, can I at least get (oral sex) without the people wanting to harass me and wanting to throw me in jail?

    "That's just who I am. I want to have a nice career for my children. I want them to have a great education I want to fly my birds. I want to live my life. I want to have a drink every now and then. I want to have a charity event every now and then. And every now and then, I want to fornicate and that's just being a human being.

    "I feel like sometimes that I was born, that I'm not meant for this society because everyone here is a (expletive) 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."

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