Mike Tyson admits he does not fear death and instead believes living might be more complicated than dying.
In a brilliant new interview with The Sportsman, who visited Tyson’s home in California, the former undisputed world heavyweight champion has opened up about many subjects, including the state of boxing today, cannabis and Tyson Fury.
But it was a quote about not fearing death that stood out as a really powerful moment in this rare sit down chat.
“Yeah. I don’t fear it. Living might be more complicated than dying to me,” he said.
“The belief of it. I don’t know if it’s true. Because living takes a lot of courage. Without the courage, you can’t handle living. Living is a journey; living is a struggle. People have everything and they still can’t do it, they struggle. We take ourselves too seriously. We think we’re somebody. Who the fu*k? We’re nothing! We come from sh*t; we think we’re special! Fame is sh*t.”
The 53-year-old was also asked if death was on his mind during his career in boxing. Advert
“I knew there was a possibility that I could die during training, during a fight. I knew that,” he continued.
“But I wasn’t scared, because I thought if anybody was going to die, I would do the killing. That self-confidence was a survival mechanism. But now, from my experience, from what I believe, the more I know about not existing, the more willing I am to die.”
It was that incredibe self-confidence and belief that helped Tyson become one of the all-time great boxers, but former coach Teddy Atlas once claimed that Mike’s biggest weakness was his mind.
Speaking on the Joe Rogan Experience, Atlas claimed that the boxer was ‘mentally weak’ and had ‘residual stuff from his upbringing’ that affected him.
“He used to hide in between abandoned building walls in Brownsville, it was a rough place. He used to hide between walls to not get picked on,” he said.
“He was as strong a guy as you’re ever gonna see, but he was as weak of a person as you’re ever gonna find.”
‘Iron Mike’ also once revealed in his book ‘Iron Ambition: MY Life with Cus D’Amato’ that another former coach, Cus D’Amato ‘petrified’ him.
Speaking about the trainer the former heavyweight world champion wrote:
“I was petrified when I was alone with him. If he called me – ‘Mike, I need to talk to you’ – I didn’t feel good going over to him.
“People see the public celebrations of my sensational knockouts but they don’t hear Cus talking to me alone after the fight. He’d make me feel like s**t, play with my emotions. He would put things in your head all day.
“Cus made me feel two inches tall, when he asked me ‘am I wasting my time with you? I’m an old man. you’re a phone.'”
“The man I worshipped was telling me I was a phony. It was crushing. I soon learned to walk on eggshells when I was around Cus.”