MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The promoter for this weekend’s boxing event in the Twin Cities was none other than one of the greatest boxers ever — former heavyweight champ and all-around sports icon Mike Tyson.
Tyson sat down with WCCO’s David McCoy for a one-on-one interview to discuss his new promotion business, his famous rage, and of course, that scene in The Hangover. Here are highlights from their Q&A together.
WCCO: Why get involved with promoting?
Mike Tyson: I enjoy doing it. I enjoy getting involved with the young fighters. And it’s just my life. It’s all I really know what to do. It’s what I love doing. I can do other things, but I love doing this. I love being involved with the athletes. I love talking to them. And I love seeing fighters who are young and hungry and want to accomplish something in the world. Want to be the best in the world at what they do.
WCCO: You had such a persona when you were in the ring, as the big, tough guy, the bad guy, no one wanted a piece of you. How much of that was the real Mike Tyson, and how much of that was a persona that you developed?
Mike Tyson: Well, a lot of that was real, but a lot of it you develop as well, because you want to be the best in the world, and I trained to be the best in the world. …It’s all I ever wanted to do. And I wanted to do anything that would cause me to be a great fighter, and I didn’t want to do nothing that would stop me from being a great fighter.
WCCO: What did you think about when you were in the ring?
Mike Tyson: Winning. Spectacularly. I wanted everybody to always see my name and know who I was. When I was in there, my objective — it doesn’t sound politically correct — but my objective was to destroy the opponent. And that’s what I wanted to do.
WCCO: There’s a whole generation of young people who knows you more for the Hangover movies than for your boxing days. What do you think of that?
Mike Tyson: I don’t know. That’s awesome too, that we came across those boundaries as well. But I’m a fighter, and that’s what I did when I was young. Now, I entertain people, and I do movies and shows. I still love fighting. I still love being a part of it. I still love seeing young, inner-city kids come from pretty much unprivileged backgrounds and make something really great of themselves, and make them have self-dignity and pride. And I just look forward to seeing that, because it lights a spark into my interest again.
WCCO: Where do you see the future of boxing going, especially compared to the rise of UFC?
Mike Tyson: I don’t know. Boxing has a lot of work to do. Has a lot of work, but it’s not impossible. It’s going to achieve the glory days that it had before. I don’t think that after I’m finished fighting, it’s over. Forget that. I’d be an idiot to believe that. Find somebody’s that’s going to come and electrify boxing. I mean, spectacularly. Knocking guys out. Doing spectacular things in the ring.
WCCO: What do you think of Minneapolis?
Mike Tyson: Minneapolis is very cold. But the people are very warm.