The Pugilist

Tyson says he is ‘out of his mind’

The Pugilist

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Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has done much in recent years to straighten his life. To see him now, the zaniness of his past seems so long ago.

Tyson is travelling the country doing a one-man show on his life and he now seems so normal that he often sounds as if he's speaking of someone else.

But he appeared on an American television show this week and humorously dispelled the notion that he is somehow normal.

Host Craig Ferguson asked whether it was reasonable to expect a man like Tyson, from a tough background, to remain sane when showered with money and fame at such an early age.

Tyson said: "No! I was crazy when they first met me."

Asked if Tyson was still crazy, his response was: "Oh, absolutely! Out of my mind! But it's controlled!"

Tyson is hardly crazy, though. He's a smart guy who has done a lot of, well, yes, crazy things in his life. But he's settled down tremendously since leaving boxing and has channelled his energy for good.

His wife, Kiki, persuaded him to do the one-man show in which he lays bare the most intimate details of his life.

Ferguson got a lot of laughs with his interview, but he showed that Tyson still must fight the demons that haunted him every day. Ferguson asked him about rage and whether it still exists. That rage is what once led him to bite Evander Holyfield's ears during a 1997 fight in Las Vegas.

Tyson smiles, but his answer is telling.

"Oh, it exists still," he said. "For it to not exist after all these years of existence is ludicrous. So it exists, but I take care of it. I don't go around whacking stuff. I've accepted the fact I'm never going to be wealthy again.

Tyson earned more than $300 million in his career, but blew it all and had to declare bankruptcy in 2003. He had more than $27 million in debt at the time of filing.

Tyson's economic troubles are still ongoing. Last week, he sued his former financial adviser for $5 million, claiming he was given "deceptive and faulty financial advice."

He'll probably always have some sort of turmoil in his life as the result of his professional career, during which he became one of the most recognisable figures on the planet.

The Tyson of these days, though, bares faint resemblance to the Tyson of yore. He's a guy one could sit down and have a drink with and talk sports for hours. Anyone who encountered him during his heyday knows that wasn't always the case.

Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports

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