INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — It has been nearly 20 years since Mike Tyson was in Indianapolis and he's ready to reclaim center stage.
46-year-old Hall of Fame boxer hopes to show city residents Wednesday
night that he's a very different person than the one they remember — the
brash young heavyweight champion who was convicted of raping an
18-year-old beauty pageant contestant and then spent three life-changing
years behind bars in the 1990s. Helicopters were on hand for his
release from prison in 1995, and he hasn't been back since.
boxer once dubbed as the "Baddest Man on the Planet" is settling into
his new role as the star of a one-man, 36-city road show called "Mike
Tyson: Undisputed Truth." Strangely enough, it begins in Indy, where the
sexual assault remains almost as well-known as anything he did in the
"At the time, I was living a pretty hectic life and pretty
wild and I don't know what would have happened if I had three more years
of that life," Tyson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview
from Las Vegas. "So maybe that was, everything happens for a reason.
You know, when I left prison, I did a lot better than when I came. So
everything happens for a reason, everything's a developmental stage in
life, and I'm just going on this journey in life to find out what's
Tyson's show details his rise from the streets of Brooklyn
to champion boxer, the subsequent fall and all those glorious and
inglorious moments that defined his life — drug use, biting of Evander
Holyfield's ear, relationships with ex-wife Robin Givens, new wife,
Kiki, boxing promoter Don King, the late Cus D'Amato, his former
trainer, and, of course, his version of what happened in Indianapolis.
reviewers have interpreted Tyson's words to be apologetic, though Tyson
made it clear in the interview this is no apology tour. He said he is
not sure what kind of crowd reaction he will get, though the original
two-day Indy program has been cut to a one-night only performance.
not like no kryptonite. There's nothing about that stuff that evokes
any bad memories to me," he said. "I'm a professional, I'm going to go
there, I'm going to entertain the crowd. I'm not going to be there and
say, 'Oh, my God.' No, I'm a grown man. That's 21 years ago. You think
I'm scared to come to Indianapolis because of something that happened 21
years ago? I'm a totally different person now."
Local talk radio host Greg Garrison, the man who successfully prosecuted Tyson, declined to comment on the boxer's return.
show has already appeared in Las Vegas and on Broadway, and after
spending three nights in Indianapolis this week, he heads to Chicago. He
says he spends two hours a day, seven days a week rehearsing the script
written by his wife, and the show is directed by Spike Lee. The tour is
scheduled to take him to places such as San Francisco, Los Angeles,
Houston, and Washington, and more could be on the way if things go well.
Tyson has already had roles in "The Hangover" series and last week made
a cameo appearance on "Law and Order: SVU."
When he's not
rehearsing, Tyson said he's working with his Mike Tyson Cares, an
organization that helps underprivileged and homeless children receive
medical treatment, find shelter, help with school expenses and assist
with job placement.
That's the new Tyson.
But his penchant for the drama, not all of his own doing, has not changed.
December, Tyson told a television show he was "high on cocaine" during
filming on the original "Hangover." In November, a Polish court ordered
Tyson to pay $48,000 to the organizer of a boxing gala after Tyson
didn't show up.
In October, he was banned from traveling to New
Zealand because of his rape conviction. New Zealand immigration
authorities initially granted him a visa so he could give talks about
overcoming adversity in his life before a charity withdrew its support
and officials reversed their decision. Tyson's comment that he was going
to New Zealand and there was nothing anybody could do about it, didn't
"I brought that on myself because I was being
arrogant at the time," he said when asked about the dust-up with New
Zealand authorities. "I really had the OK to go there, but I made a
statement about the prime minister and he got mad at me, and I should
have been more humble about the whole situation. Other than that, all of
the people that wanted to come from New Zealand they came to Australia,
and I was very grateful for that."
If Tyson sounds more contrite,
more polite, he says it's because he has a new perspective on what's
happened in the past. Tyson has no immediate plans to follow George
Foreman back into the ring as he nears 50, but he wants to continue
acting, whether its on stage, the small screen or the big screen.
He said he's willing to do whatever it takes to become a star.
strangely enough, the next chapter begins in Indianapolis, where he
hopes to show everyone he has learned to enjoy his life rather than
living it solely in the fast lane.
"I'm just happy to be existing
in life, enjoying life the way I'm enjoying it now," he said. "That's
awesome that people anticipated me not being here and I'm still here. So
I'm sure you're all happy that I chose to go another route and I'm sure
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