Talk about a long, winding career. Mike Tyson has transformed himself from the baddest dude on the planet to an approachable human being whose mere presence will no longer ruin your underpants. We’ve seen a major transformation in the once undisputed heavyweight champ. He went from one of America’s roughest neighborhoods, to the youngest heavyweight champion of all-time, to multi-millionaire, to prison, back to boxing’s biggest stage, back to prison, etc. There’s a lot of range in that life, and the expanse of his travels no doubt contributed to his vast life experience.
Through all of his tumultuous experiences, he was doling out wisdom to his adoring fans as well as those he scared the crap out of; sometimes you just had to squint to see them. Some of these nuggets were obvious, whilst others were hidden in well-formed quotes like this one about the media: “I wish that you guys had children so I could kick them in the fucking head or stomp on their testicles so you could feel my pain because that’s the pain I have waking up every day.” Here are 20 Life Lessons From Mike Tyson’s Career. Learn from his mistakes or, if you want, repeat them. Just know, good or bad, we can’t guarantee a similar outcome.
Learn to fight.
It’s tough to argue against the current anti-bullying wave sweeping through this country. We’re not saying go overboard and ban dodgeball; but if you see the first kid to go through puberty picking on a weaker/defenseless child, break it up (and maybe if no other adults are around sneak a punch into his kidneys).
But we’re also realists who accept that adults can’t always be around. Sometimes the kids have to govern themselves. Kids are inherently horrible, and will make fun of anybody who’s different in any way. Believe it or not Tyson was a little fat kid, tipping the scales at nearly 200 lbs. by the time he started his teenage years. To compound that he got whaled on because he had glasses and Lord knows the playground despises those who need help to see.
Tyson finally realized his inner-strength, which wasn’t some BS after school special made-up power to overcome, it was actual physical strength that allowed him to pummel anyone he wanted too. It didn’t matter if it was a bully who killed one of his favorite pigeons, another bully who rendered his glasses useless by putting them in a gas tank, or a garbage man he concussed over an innocent mistake. Tyson’s fire was lit.
Don’t let anything—including gonorrhea—stop you from reaching your goals.
Before his heavyweight title fight against Trevor Berbick in 1986, Iron Mike says he was “burning like a Good Humor in July.” Tyson won the match with a second-round TKO which awarded him the WBC Heavyweight Championship Belt at just 20 years and 4 months (the youngest dude to ever win it). So next time you say you can’t hit the gym because of that headache, just pop two Excedrins and think about what the Baddest Man on the Planet was going through.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
No that isn’t some half assed pun about Tyson’s inability to digest Evander Holyfield’s ear. It’s more of an observation that Tyson shouldn’t have been in that fight in the first place. Let’s face it, Tyson was never the same after his release from prison in 1995. Three years of sitting in the hole, eating prison meals, and lacking access to semi-decent facilities will do that to you. It also took away three years of his prime. When Mike came out he was clearly surpassed by other, less felonious, fighters. Tyson was 41-1 coming out of the joint, and though he beat Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon, he never lived up to fighters like Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis on boxing’s biggest stages. Tyson from the ’80s? Would have been great. But the only place you’re going to see that again
Don’t do drugs.
Image via The Telegraph
You hear throughout your grade school career that narcotics are the worst thing ever, then you get peer-pressured into smoking your first joint and realize that a gateway drug isn’t so bad. So then you say “Screw it, if they lied about pot then they lied about them all,” and before you know it you’re begging stopped cars for change on Drugs Inc.
Tyson was mixing a dangerous cocktail of morphine, coke, and hard alcohol when he snapped and beat up seven prostitutes (at once) in a Vegas hotel room (something he presumably didn’t pay for). Reflecting on the “incident” Tyson said, “but it was my own knockout punch to clean up life, get whole, get well-and I haven’t done anything in three years now. I’m clean. I’m sober.” And really, if he used it as a stepping stone to better his life, how can those hookers be mad?
Or, do some drugs.
If you opt to ignore that, then learn from Tyson’s biggest regret concerning friend Tupac Shakur. Tyson stated that he’s remorseful that he “never smoked weed with him,” despite the rapper’s constant insistence to smoke bud with his bud. Shakur was famously shot multiple times on Sept. 7, 1996 after attending the Tyson-Bruce Seldon match at the MGM Grand in Vegas a week prior.
Watch who you associate with.
Tyson made the mistake of putting Don King in his corner in 1988. King, a duplicitous con man who repeats “Only in America,” so frequently that you’d be forgiven to think he’s a malfunctioning robot, already had a contentious history with fighters. Like just about every other promoter in the history of the sport, King was ripping-off Tyson to the tune of $100 million causing Tyson to both sue King and, justifiably, stomp him in a Beverly Hills Hotel parking lot.