(Transcribed by Michael Readman) In the sport of boxing most fighter’s careers end when they step out of the ring for the final time, with only a small amount finding the same success out of the ring as they have had in it. "Iron" Mike Tyson is trying to join that group. He has already found success with acting and his one man show, but now he is heading back to a boxing arena and trying his hand at promoting with his first boxing show set to happen this Friday, August 23rd at the Turning Stone casino.
In part 1 of my "On The Ropes" interview with Mike Tyson, he talks about his upcoming promotion and discusses some of his goals with this new venture. Mike also touches on his success he has had with his Broadway show and talks about whether he could have ever imaged himself having a second career after his boxing days. In addition Tyson gives his thoughts on the current boxing landscape, giving his views on how Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao compare to fighters of the past and gives his thoughts on how he expects both stars to do in their upcoming fights. Here is what Mike Tyson had to say.
Jenna J: I'm joined by a very special guest to “On The Ropes” Boxing Radio, he is the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, he is an accomplished Broadway actor and now he is an aspiring promoter. I am joined by 'Iron' Mike Tyson, how’s everything going today Mike?
Mike Tyson: Hey Jenna, what's happening buddy?
Jenna J: Everything's happening, I'm talking to you today. I'm very happy to have you on the show. Mike, I just mentioned a second ago, you’re going into promoting and you have an event coming up on August the 23rd. Can you tell the fans about what is coming on?
Mike Tyson: Oh yes, it's gonna be my first show and it’s in up state New York, at the Turning Point Resort. I'm gonna have the 130 pound IBF champ Argenis Mendez defending his title. This is my first, but I'm very excited about doing it, and doing it in up state New York a few hours north from where I grew up at. This is just very exciting for me, Jenna.
Jenna J: Mike, what has made you decide to go into promoting? You've done pretty much everything else, you've been an actor, you’re a Broadway star now. Why did you decide to go into promoting?
Mike Tyson: I just never thought about doing it before, and a gentleman by the name of Gary Jonas, a very savvy businessman came to me and he had a promotion company and we turned it into IMP(Iron Mike Productions) and we have a stable of boxers. This gave me the opportunity to give back to the society that gave to me so maybe at the end of the day it’s possible they won’t say “Hey, what happened to my money and my friends,” maybe I can make that difference.
Jenna J: Mike you've been through it all with the promoters, you've seen the good and the bad and the terrible obviously. What makes you different from the other promoters out there? What are you looking to accomplish as a promoter and how do you want to be seen as a promoter?
Mike Tyson: I just want to be seen as the guy that’s gonna give everything that the fighters are owed, and the fighters are going to give their best. I'm gonna be fair and I’m going to be firm, like Joe Cortez says. I'm gonna treat fighters the way they deserve to be treated with the dignity and respect, and in return I expect to be treated the same way.
Jenna J: Ok Mike, besides your promoting, you've also been on Broadway, you've done your one man show 'The Undisputed Truth.' I actually had the chance to watch you on stage and watch you perform, and I was really surprised by how much of an entertainer you were and how much you entertained the crowd. Could you ever have imagined that you would be where you are today and you would be the performer that you are today, outside the ring?
Mike Tyson: No, no, I thought I'd be dead somewhere, I never knew I'd be living this long to be honest. I'm just very grateful that I am. To have the opportunity to live my life the appropriate way with dignity and respect. That's what I'm really trying to convey, gratitude. I'm very grateful to be given the opportunity's like I have. A lot of people say “You know, you get a lot of breaks Mike, you get a lot of breaks, people don't forgive people like they have forgave you, they forgive you too easy.” And I say, most people don't screw up as much as I screwed up, so I deserved to be forgiven more than most people.
Jenna J: Mike, when you’re on stage and in front of a crown and you’re performing, I saw one particular part of the show when you were having your confrontation with Mitch 'Blood' Green and you had the wig on and you were going through all that. How is it being up there like that and performing in front of people?
Mike Tyson: It's the best part of the show for me, I think its hilarious. I think Mitch Green is an awesome personality for that particular venue. I really enjoy it, it’s one of my favorite parts of the whole show, if not my favorite. I always look at enhancing that role to make it better, falling on the floor, dropping down an popping back up like Jason Voorhees. I like that stuff.
Jenna J: Now Mike I hear that the Broadway show is actually going to appear on Television. What's going on with that?
Mike Tyson: Yes, on HBO. I'm not sure which particular day, but yeah, I was very fortunate to have an HBO special and I'm very grateful for that. I remember after many years of watching Eddie Murphy and Paul Rodriguez and all these guys do their specials, I never though I would be on HBO too and have an HBO special.
Jenna J: Mike, when you look at the boxing landscape right now, and this is something I usually ask a lot of different fighters who have fought in different era's like yourself, and they always believe that the era that they fought in was the best era and that their fighters were the best fighters. I'm curious when you look at the stars now, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquiao. How do you think they stack up against the all time greats? You’re such a boxing historian, where do you think those guys will stand?
Mike Tyson: Those guys you know, you could say that those guys have paid their dues and those guys are all time greats. I don't know who's the greatest of all time, I don't know. The greatest of all time is a matter of opinion of their generation. These guys, Mayweather, him and Pacquiao, they put it down man and the world knows who they are, that's what it’s all about.
You dominate your generation and the world knows who you are. As long as they are recording fighting they will mention your name, that's what boxing and fighting is all about, it’s for your name to be mentioned and as long as they record fighting not necessarily boxing but fighting. As long as fighting is mentioned, your name will be mentioned. That's what we do this stuff for, that's what the real fighters do this stuff for. You can only spend so much money, it comes and goes and then the next thing we know, believe it or not we’re gonna die, but that stays forever.
Jenna J: Mike, one particular thing I want to ask you about, because you've experienced this, Manny Pacquiao was on top of the boxing world and then he got knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez and people are wondering if he can come back from that kind of KO. You yourself, you dealt with losing at the top of your game. How do you think he's gonna come back from that type of loss from what you've seen?
Mike Tyson: Well, Pacquiao is back, you know why he's back? Because he fights Brandon Rios and he sells the place out, he is back. When you’re not back is when you’re finished and nobody wants to see your face no more, they don't want to see you in an arena sitting down, that‘s when you’re really finished. He's not finished, he's never really been finished. He's a mega star of boxing and one defeat like that is not gonna finish him. He can get knocked out two more times and not be finished, he's not that kind of fighter. He's the kind of fighter people will always want to see because he gives people hope, he gives nations hope so they will always believe in guys like that, those guys are never really finished.
Jenna J: Mike, do you think Manny Pacquiao can recapture the glory he had before he was knocked out? Do you believe that he can attain that type of status again?
Mike Tyson: Hell yeah, yeah one hundred percent. I have faith in Pacquiao and I hope he has faith in himself. I have a lot of faith and hope in him.
Jenna J: Just on the boxing scene there Mike, you've seen all the big fights come and go. Mayweather versus Pacquiao, it never happened. Where you disappointed that those two didn't get it together while they were at the top of their games?
Mike Tyson: Oh yeah, yeah, that fight should have happened. That fight is not dead, that fight is still open, that fight is not dead.
Jenna J: Mike, do you actually think that the fight could still happen? Even though Pacquiao got knocked out and Mayweather seems less then receptive to having the fight at all?
Mike Tyson: Yeah, listen right, you've got to look at certain things from a fighters perspective, he got knocked out in that fight but he's beaten Marquez a bunch of times too. He just got dramatically knocked out, so that means Marquez is like, what is it now 2-1 or 2-2 or whatever it is, but Pacquiao has still got to come back. Just because he got knocked out doesn't mean that someone is better than them. That's what people don't understand, just because a man knocks you out it doesn't mean that a man is a better fighter than you. You could rectify that mistake and next thing you know you could beat him again.
The one man that loses could only be a hair apart, it’s just the mistakes that somebody capitalizes on that makes you the loser and him the winner. It could of easily happened to Marquez. As a matter of fact Pacquiao had Marquez hurt right before he got knocked out, so that doesn't mean that Marquez is better than him because Marquez was ready to go right before he hit Pacquiao. Fight people don't get discouraged by Pacquiao, they know he was almost knocking Marquez out before he got knocked out, so there's a possibility that he could knock out Marquez too.
Jenna J: Yeah, people are amped for this fight hoping that it will happen. I have one more fight I want to quickly ask you about Mike, Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Canelo Alvarez, biggest fight of 2013. Who you got in that one?
Mike Tyson: Yeah, I like Canelo a lot, I just don't think he's elusive enough to hit Floyd. I think he's a little too stiff. I could be wrong, Floyd has slowed down a little bit, but it looks like he's still a little too fast. Anything can happen, if he makes a mistake Canelo can hurt him, but if Canelo hurts him, it’s very difficult to hit Floyd with more than one punch, so if you hit him with one punch and it’s not gonna knock him out, he's gonna get away from the next punch. It’s almost impossible to hit Floyd Mayweather with more than one punch. If you hurt him, you wont hurt him again.
Click play on the audio player to listen to the Mike Tyson interview in its entirety. - "On The Ropes", with Jenna J.