Last night, I screened (with Winston), the documentary Tyson, about the life and career of Iron Mike. He is without a doubt one of the most interesting individuals EVER. I will argue that he is not crazy, but yet a very, very misunderstood individual, yet his environment turned him into not person that people view as a monster. I view him as a contradiction. One moment he makes heartfelt statements about his former trainer and father figure Cus D’Amato, struggling to hold back tears with his voice cracking after every word spoken, pausing for to regather himself before breaking down once again as he tries to speak again. But then will use vile words to describe Don King or the former women in his life. He can make intelligent thoughts about the sport of boxing and about people judging his mental state, then tell stories of how as an 11 year old he would rob people’s houses. How he got a rush from that, yet he hated what he was exposed to and witnessed in prison. The way others treated one another appaled him. He felt he didn't belong, at least for the crime he was convicted of. He explained that it wasn’t the rush of actually stealing from people that he enjoyed but the idea that he could outsmart someone. He could wait and wait until a person felt safe, be patient, and then once his victim let his or her guard down for a second he would strike. He could read there eyes. It was just like fighting. It was not the brutality that he loved. It was the science of the sport. It was knowing that, while every fighter can punch hard, he was smarter. He knew where to hit someone. He knew he could land a punch with pinpoint accuracy on his opponents face. He knew he could strike fear into his opponents ever before a punch was thrown.
He is a brutally honest individual, almost to a fault. He struggles to hold back his emotions, whether violent, angry, joyous or depressed. He admits he is not perfect, far from it. And that when he was living reckless he did it because he never thought he would still be alive at the age of 40. That in itself is depressing.
I find him a fascinating individual. If I had a free pass to pick any athlete to interview for a day it would be him. Yes, over Muhammad Ali, over Michael Jordan. It would be Tyson. I would chose him for his honesty. For his stories. For the chance that he might say something off the wall that your eyes open up wide and you want to replay and hear the sound bite over and over again to make sure he actually said it. But mostly for the moments of genuine honesty that he gives, you can see it in his eyes, you just need to look past the tattoo. His life, his story, his world is fascinating. His legacy as a fighter should never be disputed. He had the speed of a lightweight fighter, with the power of super heavyweight. Watching the documentary I never realized how fast he truly was. He lived his life as champion as if he was throwing a right hook, just without the accuracy and the precision that he brought into the boxing ring. Trouble followed, he made mistakes, but to call him crazy, insane and stupid makes you worse than the person you are judging.
Peace, and much love to ya.