Mike Tyson will readily admit he had no business setting foot in the ring in the final bout of his legendary career when he faced Kevin McBride back in 2005.
That fight came at the tail end of a career where Tyson was once regarded as “the baddest man on the planet,” but the version that clashed with McBride was a far cry from the human wrecking machine that dismantled his first 37 opponents in a row.
Following that fight 15 years ago, Tyson underwent several career reinventions including guest appearances in movies like The Hangover and television series such as Entourage. He eventually engaged in a highly successful one-man stage show where he told stories from his life and boxing career.
It appeared that boxing was behind him for good.
But then Tyson decided he wanted to get back into shape after gaining a lot of weight in retirement. Slowly but surely, the former heavyweight champion started to see more and more of his former self in the mirror and it motivated him to strap on the gloves again.
“It’s a 100-pound process,” Tyson said about his physical transformation ahead of his return against Roy Jones Jr. on Saturday night. “My wife told me, she pretty much asked do the treadmill 15 minutes a day. So that 15 minutes turned into two hours a day. From there I started doing two hours on the treadmill, an hour on the bike. Then I started running. I don’t know where I was. I wanted to hit the mitts. I don’t know why I wanted to hit the mitts and someone said they knew Rafael Cordeiro and he held the mitts for me.
“When I was hitting the mitts, I believe we showed it on Instagram and it got over like 2 billion hits. Before that little 20 second combination, I was in the bed for six weeks, I was all messed up. I got comfortable with the process of punching and moving and then eventually sparring. I’m never calling another fighter a bum again because the process of getting in shape to fight somebody is just psychologically overwhelming if you’re not an experienced fighter.”
As he prepares for his return, Tyson can’t compare his physical shape now versus his prime or even those final few fights during his career. That said, he knows he’s in a much 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 more comfortable in the way who I am now to a certain degree. Not totally but to a certain degree. So I can’t compare the two but this is what I want to do.
“I can say this — my last fight, I didn’t have no interest in doing it. I’m interested in doing it now.”
When it comes to expectations for the exhibition bout, Tyson understands the rules put in place by the California State Athletic Commission, which is why he’s not offering a prediction for how he plans to end Jones Jr’s night.
He can only promise that heavy leather will be thrown and the fans will enjoy his return to action.
“Maybe I don’t know how to go easy,” Tyson said. “I don’t know. I don’t want to say the wrong thing cause some people get angry, the boxing commission, so I don’t want to say the wrong thing.
“I’m just going to go right at him as soon as the bell [rings]. We’re just going to see what happens. Listen, from any perspective how they look at it, it’s going to be entertaining. I’m a fighter, he’s a fighter and of course we’re in there throwing punches. During that process, anything can happen.”
This article was originally published on www.mmafighting.com