Remembering when enraged Mike Tyson went beserk in live TV interview
Mike Tyson is one of the most feared men on the planet and has been since the mid-1980s. There’s a major reason for that due to the aura he gave off for some years.
A spell in prison during the early 1990s did little to quell the rage inside the man despite finding Islam.
Losses to Evander Holyfield back-to-back only fueled the fire. Especially the second one in which Tyson bit a chunk of Holyfield’s ear off.
Tyson forcibly took some time away to contemplate his next move. But the money involved in his career was too much for him to ever walk away then at 33.
A return was always on the cards. Nineteen months after the Holyfield debacle, Tyson decided to embark on a tour of sorts.
It would begin with South African Francois Botha on home soil before eventually taking Tyson to the UK and Denmark.
The Botha fight proved that little had changed despite a ban from boxing for chomping on Holyfield.
Giving an interview with Channel 9’s Russ Salzberg in 1999 to promote the fight, Tyson reacted badly to questions posed.
What transpired was an eye-popping exchange on live TV that proved ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ was still as mean as ever.
The back and forth with Salzberg went smoothly in parts but ultimately turned sour.
Salzberg: Both is a 6-1 underdog, are there any concerns on your part?”
Tyson: “I don’t know anything about the numbers. I know what I can do. I’m about killing this mother f***er.”
Perplexed, Salzberg came back with: “Okay, how about the nineteen months off?”
Tyson: “What about it? – What about it?
Salzberg: “Will it pose any problem to you?”
Tyson: “We’ll see. I doubt it, seriously.”
Salzberg: “You take a lot of rage into the ring- does that work for you, or does it work against you at times?”
Tyson: “Who cares? We’re in a fight anyway. What does it matter?”
Astonishingly, even with Tyson already incensed, Salzberg reminded the former champion that his anger didn’t help him against Holyfield.
Tyson replied: “Well, f*** it. It’s a fight, so whatever happens, happens.”
Fed up with Tyson, Salzberg asked: “Mike, why do you talk like that?” – when awakening the beast further.
Tyson snapped back by reminding Salzberg who he was conversing with on TV.
“Well, I’m talking to you the way I want to talk to you. You have a problem turn off your station!”
Salzberg had enough by then. He said: “You know what, I think we’ll end the discussion right now.”
Tyson responded: “Then we could, a–hole!”
Salzberg: “You got it. Have a nice fight, Mike.”
Tyson’s last words on the matter were a blunt: “F–k off!”
Signing off and frustrated, Salzberg concluded: “Class act, buddy.”
MIKE TYSON CAREER END
Taking his viciousness into the ring, Tyson allegedly attempted to break Botha’s arms before ending the fifth fight.
Three also-ran wins over knock over opponents followed either side of two no-contests. Tyson would eventually run into Lennox Lewis, signaling the end of his carer.
Winning just once more against Clifford Ettiene, Tyson bowed out with stoppage defeats to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride.
It was the most challenging time of Mike Tyson’s career.