22
Oct
2020

Mike Tyson in emotionally epic speech after Sugar Ray Leonard opens up

Phil Jay 05/03/2020
Mike Tyson Sugar Ray Leonard

Hotboxin'

A pivotal moment in the podcast show era happened on a recent episode of ‘Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson’ as Sugar Ray Leonard guest-starred.

The two Hall of Famers – and arguably the best of their respective era – chatted openly during 85 minutes and 53 seconds of pure gold for any boxing fan.

During the interview, Leonard and Tyson were completely at ease with each other, as the respect oozed from their bodies throughout the taping.

It culminated in a short extract from Tyson instantly gaining worldwide attention.

“Boxing gave me so, so much, man,” Sugar Ray told Tyson at around 7:30 seconds. “And I know it sounds corny, but you know what, I don’t care.

“I am who I am because of boxing. I’m here doing this interview with you Mike, because of boxing.

“There were times I had things happen to me, that I to – wow, that I had to deal with. Being sexually abused by a coach who I believe in, who I trusted.

“I don’t know why I brought that up. But I’m glad I was able to bring that up. Because Mike, I love you, man.

“We go through battles in the ring. When I give speeches, I use boxing as a metaphor because we are fighters outside of the ring. We get knocked down and we need a great corner. We have to do our own version of roadwork.

“And you know, I enjoy doing this because at first, back in the day – years ago, I would shed tears and I would cry because I couldn’t talk about this. These subject matters. But I can talk about them now because of where I am and who I am.”

At this point, Mike asks co-host and ex-American footballer, Eden Britton, to step in and fill time as he composes himself.

Tyson eventually came back into the conversation a couple of minutes later with one of the most powerful statements he’s ever made.

Before that, Leonard continued opening up honestly as Tyson visibly wiped the tears away from his eyes.

“I was in a brutal sport for forty years, and to come out somewhat unscathed it truly a dream come true, a blessing.

“I’ve done all those things from cocaine, and I’m an alcoholic, which I would never say as I was trying to take care of myself and being a publicist. But I talk about these things because you know why? – They help other people, they help other people.”

Ray mentioned the book he wrote as Eden then brought Mike back in.

He chokingly said: “This is beautiful that you came to this place in your life. And we all come to this place in life. I guess it has to do with our mortality in some way.

“Do we really believe we are going to see God after we die? – And is he going to be okay with what he saw in my lifetime?

“I know that’s some n**** bull**** sometimes. But when I see you, I don’t see that.

“I saw you then I was 12 years old. I saw you fighting Wilfred Benitez, I was locked up. What was that in ’79? (Leonard agreed, yes).

“So, I’m locked up in juvenile (detention). I’m watching the fight. You’re fighting a master and nobody was saying anything.

“He was the champion of the world at 17. Not amateur, professional. Now he’s 21, fighting you. I can’t even talk.”

Leonard once again shows Mike love before Tyson says: “No, you inspired me so f***ing much, n****.

“Then I saw you fight Duran. It changed my life, I thought ‘this is what I’m going to be!’

“You might not think you’re nobody, n**** I love you. You changed my life because you’re so beautiful. And you don’t even understand, man. You’re immortal to me.

“I’m in love with fighting. This is what fighting did for me,” he added, pointing to the studio and surroundings. This is my s***. You’re on my show, n****. I worship you.”

A brief chat on the beauty of mastering a knockout punch led Tyson into what will become one of his most famous quotes.

“I’m a f***ing student of war,” he pointed out. “I know all the warriors, from Charlemagne to Achilles. The number one warrior of all warriors – and then Alexander and Napoleon. I know them all.

“I read about them all. I’ve studied them all. I know the art of fighting, I know the art of war, that’s all I ever studied.

“That’s why I’m so feared, that’s why they feared me when I was in the ring. I was an annihilator. It’s all I was born for.

“Now those days are gone. It’s empty, I’m nothing. I’m working on the art of humbleness.

“That’s the reason I’m crying because I’m not that person no more, and I miss him.

“Because sometimes I feel like a b***h. I don’t want that person to come out because if he comes out, hell is coming with him.”

Eden, obviously taken aback by what he heard, gave a nervous smirk – before Tyson stated: “And it’s not funny at all. I sound cool, like I’m a tough guy but I hate that guy. I’m scared of him.”


Leonard then attempted to give Mike more time to get himself together and spoke about his own regrets from his own wild days.

“I’ve become a better father, I better husband, and a better friend. Life indeed is what you make it.”

Tyson, as the camera switched to show the pair of them together, apologized for his emotion.

“I’m sorry, but this is beautiful. He brings this out in me.”

Watch the full episode with Sugar Ray Leonard above. Listen to more from Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson HERE

Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay