Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that former heavyweight world boxing champion Mike Tyson attracts crowds of onlookers wherever he goes. He’s well known around the world by non-boxing fans due to his controversial lifestyle and past. As a boxer, there are those who argue that Tyson was beaten in every big showdown he had, such as losing twice to Evander Holyfield as well as being knocked cold by Lennox Lewis and Buster Douglas.
But regardless of what you think of him as a pugilist, his life story is quite fascinating and this is why Tyson has opened a six-night, one-man show in Las Vegas. Tyson intends to take his act to Broadway if it proves popular. It got off to a pretty good start on Apr. 13 when he entertained a crowd of 740 people at the MGM Grand Casino.
The 45-year-old Tyson didn’t hide anything by speaking of some of his most controversial incidents such as being jailed for rape, his battles with drugs and alcohol and biting off part of Holyfield’s ear during a bout. Tyson talked for about two hours and showed some fancy footwork when the jazz-rock band that was on hand played a couple of numbers.
Tyson’s show is called Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, Live on Stage, and he opened it by saying he didn’t really know what he was going to do while on stage. However, he then proceeded to tell his life story in detail; starting with not knowing who hi real father was after being born in Brooklyn, New York. He recalled his brushes with the laws when he was a youngster and dealing with the death of his mother when he was 16.
The next chapter dealt with legendary boxing trainer Cus d’Amato, who became his mentor and father figure. He said D’Amato helped him steer clear from of a life of crime and helped him develop his world-class boxing skills. Tyson won his first 19 pro fights by knockout and became the youngest heavyweight champion in history when he beat Trevor Berbick as a 20 year old.
In 1992 the boxer was convicted of rape after a beauty queen testified Tyson forced her into sex following a beauty pageant in Indianapolis, Indiana. Tyson pleaded his innocence, but was locked up for three years on the count and was released in 1995. He said he deserved to go to jail for some of the things he’s done in his life, but not for this incident.
Upon release Tyson regained the title, but was beaten in 1996 by Holyfield. They had a rematch the following year and this was the bout where Tyson twice bit Holyfield’s ear. He was banned from the sport for a year for his actions.
Tyson had to file for bankruptcy in 2003, which was the year his second marriage came to an end. He would remarry again in 2009, to his current wife Kiki, and shortly after lost his four-year-old daughter in a tragic accident at their home. Tyson laid low for several years before appearing two ‘Hangover’ movies as well as starring in a television dealing with his love of training homing pigeons.
Tyson drew several celebrities on opening night as Sugar Ray Leonard, Piers Morgan, Paula Abdul, and Rosie O’Donnell were all in attendance. Tyson said he wrote the show with his wife and it also incorporated several photos and video clips which were broadcast during the performance.