Mike Tyson will readily admit that he had no business setting foot in the ring in the last fight of his legendary career when he faced Kevin McBride in 2005.
This fight came at the end of a career where Tyson was once considered “the baddest man on the planet,” but the version that faced McBride was a far cry from the human demolition machine that dismantled his 37 first opponents in a row. .
As a result of that fight 15 years ago, Tyson has undergone several career reinventions, including appearances in films like The hangover and television series such as Entourage. He eventually embarked on a very successful solo show where he told stories from his life and his boxing career.
It turned out that boxing was behind him for good.
But then Tyson decided he wanted to get back in shape after gaining a lot of weight in retirement. Slowly but surely the former heavyweight champion started to see his old self more and more in the mirror and that motivated him to put the gloves back on.
“It’s a 100-pound process,” Tyson said of his physical transformation ahead of his comeback against Roy Jones Jr. on Saturday night. “My wife told me that she asks for about 15 minutes a day on the treadmill. Whereas 15 minutes turned into two hours a day. From there I started doing two hours on the treadmill, one hour on the bike. Then I started to run. I don’t know where I was. I wanted to hit the mittens. I don’t know why I wanted to hit the mittens and someone said they know Rafael Cordeiro and he holds the mittens for me.
“When I hit the mittens I think we showed it on Instagram and it passed 2 billion views. Before that little 20 second combination, I was in bed for six weeks, I was all messed up. I familiarized myself with the process of punching and moving, and then finally the fight. I never call another fighter a bum again because the shaping process to fight someone is psychologically overwhelming if you are not an experienced fighter.
As he prepares for his comeback, Tyson cannot compare his current physical form to his prime or even to these last few fights in his career. With that said, he knows he’s in a very different place mentally now with a fight just hours away.
“I never put myself in that perspective because I didn’t know what I was then,” Tyson explained. “I’m just very comfortable with the way I am now to a degree. Not totally, but to a certain extent. So I can’t compare the two but that’s what I want to do.
“I can say this – my last fight, I had no interest in doing it. I am interested in doing it now.
When it comes to the expectations for the exhibition bout, Tyson understands the rules put in place by the California State Athletic Commission, which is why he isn’t offering a prediction on how he plans to end the night out. Jones Jr.
He can only promise that thick leather will be thrown away and fans will appreciate his return to action.
“Maybe I just don’t know how to take it slow,” Tyson said. “I don’t know. I don’t mean the wrong thing because some people get mad at the boxing commission so I don’t mean the wrong thing.
“I’ll just go right on him as soon as the bell [rings]. We’ll just see what happens. Listen, whatever their point of view, it will be entertaining. I’m a fighter, he’s a fighter and of course we’re in there throwing punches. During this process anything can happen. “