Mike Tyson Interview fail : ‘Why are you asking me about pigeons?’ says the eccentric former heavyweight boxing champion.
New York / NationalTurk – The former heavyweight champion, a film-star and a modern-day philosopher is back with a one-man show that addresses his rollercoaster of a life, divorce and time in prison. Mike Tyson was so determined to duck a few simple questions in his latest interview.
Mike Tyson allegedly have made and lost $300m in the course of his boxing career. John Crace from Guardian made an awkward interiew with Mike Tyson, where Tyson reveals more than few insights and information from his life of a bumpy hell of a ride.
Mike Tyson interview via conference call, as Tyson was in Las Vegas
John Crace: Hello … Hello …
Mike Tyson: Hi, John. It’s good to be speaking with you.
John Crace: And you, Mike. You were once called ‘ the baddest man on the planet’. How scared should we be of you now?
Mike Tyson: Not at all. I’m a pussy now. Sign of the times, John, that being a wimp is considered a good thing to be these days. I’m just keeping my mouth shut.
John Crace: Your show in Las Vegas is called Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth. What undisputed truths are we going to learn that we don’t already know?
Mike Tyson: You’re going to have to come to the show to find out.
John Crace: Umm … but can you just give me a flavour?
Mike Tyson: When I was in prison, I got one of the … [the line isn't that good and Tyson isn't talking that distinctly and what John hears is]… wardens pregnant.
John Crace: What? You got one of the wardens pregnant?
Mike Tyson: That’s not what I said, John. You’re trying to misquote me.
John Crace: I’m seriously not. I want to make sure that I heard you accurately. If I got it wrong then I want to correct it.
Mike Tyson: OK. What I said was that I got one of the counsellors pregnant. There’s a big difference.
John Crace: I’m sorry. Did the counsellor have the baby?
Mike Tyson: No. I don’t think so. She was married or something.
John Crace: And what else will you talk about in the show?
Mike Tyson: My life. My divorce. My rape conviction.
John Crace o you still maintain you were wrongly convicted?
Mike Tyson: I’ve always maintained that, because it’s true. In the US they get people to make false confessions. You must know that. You must have heard of the Memphis Three. My lawyer was bullshit. If I was really guilty as they said they would have given me 63 years not three years. So why do you think they let me out after three years? It certainly wasn’t to do me a favour …
John Crace: In 2005, you said: “My whole life has been a waste and I’ve been a failure.” Do you still feel that way?
Mike Tyson: Periodically.
John Crace: You’ve been off drugs and alcohol for a while now. How long exactly?
Here the Guardian reporter senses Mike Tyson interview is going pear-shaped and that most of his prepared questions are almost certainly off-limits. So he lobs in an easy one to try to get Tyson back on side.
Mike Tyson: Three-and-a-half years years. And I’ve been a vegan for three. I’m just trying to be normal. I’m not doing these shows to be a star. I’m not expecting to get rich or anything. I’m doing them because they feel like a good thing to do.
John Crace: Surely the early years of your boxing career, when you were the youngest ever world champion, can’t feel like a failure?
Mike Tyson: The 1980s are dead to me. The boxing is just memories. These days I’m just trying to make a living.
John Crace: But what about when you were inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame [in June 2011]?
Mike Tyson: It was a good day, but it was only one day. I come home and I’ve got to pay my bills. I’ve still got my life to live.
John Crace: You kept racing pigeons as a kid. Do you still race pigeons? ( John Crace can feel the conversation closing in as Tyson’s replies are getting shorter. John Crace retreat to safe ground.)
Mike Tyson: Sure I started when I was eight or nine years old and it stays in your blood.
John Crace: Have you got any champions?
Mike Tyson: Yeah, I’ve got a few champions.
John Crace: What races have they won?
Mike Tyson: New York … (the rest of the answer is inaudible and the Guardian reporter doesn’t have the nerve to ask Mike Tyson to repeat). The competition is tough, I’m up against people who have been doing this for 40 years. But why are you asking me about pigeons? What’s that got to do with my show? I’m here to talk about my show.
John Crace: OK. It’s said you’ve made and lost $300m in your career. Where did all the money go?
Mike Tyson: Managers ripped me off and I was reckless. I’m horrible with money. Even if I hadn’t been ripped off I would have found a way to lose it.
John Crace: Is boxing corrupt?
Mike Tyson: There’s corruption everywhere. There’s not a place that’s not corrupt.
John Crace: Were you ever asked to throw a fight?
Mike Tyson: No.
John Crace: The Evander Holyfield fight. Did you bite his ear deliberately?
Mike Tyson: I don’t want to talk about that.
John Crace: But it’s part of your story. We’ve got to talk about it. ( warning bells!!)
Mike Tyson: He head-butted me, I bit his ear. That’s all.
Tyson’s PR interrupts the Guardian Mike Tyson interview and suggests the reporter keeps his questions to current events and relevant topics. The reporter tries to oblige.
John Crace: Last year, you and your wife appeared on an Argentinian TV dance show. Are you a good dancer?
Mike Tyson: No. I’m a horrible dancer.
John Crace: Why did you withdraw from the show?
Mike Tyson: I didn’t withdraw from the show. Who told you that? You’ve got your facts wrong again.
John Crace: I’m sorry. That’s how it was reported. If you weren’t voted off the show and you didn’t withdraw, how come you didn’t progress in the competition?
Mike Tyson: I don’t know. They just didn’t continue the show with me.
John Crace: You once gave a pair of signed boxing gloves to Cristiano Ronaldo. Are you a big fan of his? ( By now, the reporter scrabbles to think of any question that might not annoy Mike Tyson.)
Mike Tyson: Why are you asking me about someone else. I’m here to talk about the Undisputed Truth. I feel like you’re deliberately antagonising me.
John Crace: I apologise if you feel that way. Your show is called the Undisputed Truth so I thought all areas of your life were up for discussion.
Mike Tyson: Can we end this now? I’m going to end this now.
Mike Tyson’s PR comes back on the line after Mike Tyson hangs up and states that he is sorry about the way the interview went. He thinks Mike Tyson felt that some of questions weren’t quite relevant to his show in Las Vegas. A bit left-field. He’s been a little worn down lately’ says Tyson’s PR. Yeah may be he doesn’t work out enough to deal with weariness, the reporter says silently.