At one time Mike Tyson was the baddest man on the planet, a heavyweight champion who terrorized anyone who got in his way, inside the ring or out. More recently he’s unburdened himself as perhaps the most tortured soul on Earth, with a one-man show on Broadway that Spike Lee has turned into an HBO special airing Nov. 16.
It turns out that Tyson didn’t tell us everything. He’s now taken care of that in a hefty autobiography called “Undisputed Truth” that might be the most soul-baring book of its genre ever written.
Although he attempts to put his demons to rest, the book needed an epilogue written just before printing to talk about Tyson falling off the sobriety wagon once again.
And although things might be better in Tyson’s world these days, he constantly warns that he’s not far from slipping off the edge or slipping back into a strip club to party with drugs and women.
“Sometimes I just fantasize about blowing somebody’s brains out so I can go to prison for the rest of my life,” he writes. “Working on this book makes me think that my whole life has been a joke.”
Although Tyson has reinvented himself in recent years as a family man and vegan with enough comedic chops to act in movies, he says he lives daily with the dark past of a junkie who loved to snort cocaine and drink and was constantly preoccupied with finding women to bed.
The sex is detailed in almost clinical terms, and the many women in Tyson’s life flow in and out of the pages like they did in his life. One big exception is Desiree Washington, the beauty pageant contestant whom Tyson was convicted of raping in Indianapolis — a charge he heatedly denies and for which spent three years in prison.
“How do you rape someone when they come to your hotel room at two in the morning?” he asks.
Even in prison he got his fill, he says, first with visitors and then with a prison drug counselor who suddenly became available after Tyson had $10,000 sent to her home to fix her roof.
“I was having so much sex that I was too tired to even to go the gym and work out,” Tyson wrote. “I’d just stay in my cell all day.”
But it is also quite funny in parts, like the time Tyson forgot about a suitcase that contained $1 million in cash, only to have one of his go-fers find it a week later.
Tyson says Evander Holyfield was a serial head butter with ties to steroids, and claims the late referee Mitch Halpern was drunk in the ring during his first fight with Holyfield in 1996.
And while he tells an epic tale of beating up British promoter Frank Warren in a London hotel room in 2000 for not paying his $800,000 jewelry bill, he saves special venom for the havoc Don King wreaked in his life.
Tyson was an equal-opportunity fighter when it came to beating up promoters, detailing several times he bloodied King, including once on a Miami highway when he tried to strangle him in the car from behind.
“When I think about all the horrific things that Don has done to me over the years, I still feel like killing him,” Tyson said.
Tyson knows how to tell a story, and he tells them about people you don’t expect, like the day he found actor Brad Pitt at Givens’ house. When Tyson confronted them, he said Pitt begged, “Dude, don’t stroke me. Don’t stroke me. We were just going over some lines.”
The book was supposed to have a happy ending, with Tyson slim and happy in his new life with wife Kiki, who he credits for his attempt at sobriety. But Tyson had to write a new epilogue after acknowledging in August that he had gone out drinking again.
Got to admit, I first thought the “Even in prison, he got his fill” line was going in a completely different direction. Thankfully that’s not the case. But I digress.
No one has ever accused me of being a literary sponge. If reading Wikipedia plot summaries of almost every great American novel qualifies as being well read then, yes, I’m extremely well read. But every now and then there comes a book that I just can’t miss on, and Undisputed Truth by Iron Mike is one of those books.
I mean, shit, just read this ESPN article. I tried to cut down the summary but there is just too much gold here. By now, if you haven’t heard of Tyson’s one-man show, also titled “Undisputed Truth”, then you’re living under a rock. It’s one of two Broadway shows, along with “The Book of Mormon”, that I’ve been dying to see. Too bad I have the same income as a mother of 5 on welfare in the Bronx. Haven’t been able to make it. But now we have the tell-all book.
And as captivating as Mike is on-stage, you know that this book will be just as great if not better. Nothing left out. Tyson on stage is bound to start babbling and run out of time without spilling all the beans. This time around, everything is included. Larry Sloman, who previously wrote Private Parts with Howard Stern and Scar Tissue with Anthony Kiedis, is the one doing the typing. Every glorious, psychotic, hilarious story that Iron Mike has ever told will be in this masterpiece. I CAN NOT WAIT. This summary does not include all of the dirty laundry but it is still fucking awesome:
– History of his decades of cocaine, alcohol, stripper, and every other type of abuse.
– Detailed account of when he beat up some British promoter for an unpaid $800,000 tab
– WHILE IN PRISON, he was having so much sex with visitors and a PRISON DRUG COUNSELOR that he eventually didn’t even want to leave his cell. He was sick and tired of heterosexual relations while in prison.
Can this get any better?
– Detailed stories of SEVERAL times that Tyson beat up DON KING, including when he tried to strangle King from the back seat of a moving car.
I would gladly pay $79.99 for that massacre.
– He almost murdered Brad Pitt after catching him with his estranged wife. Tyson’s reenactment of the scene is priceless:
In all seriousness, Tyson is a very troubled soul. He’s got a gift for story-telling and a knack for comedy, and I deeply respect him for following this path. He could be much, much worse off right now, but he wants to better himself and leave his dark side behind. Sharing his story with the masses seems to be therapeutic. The more he shares, the more he entertains people and makes them smile, the better shape he seems to be in personally. At his core, Mike is an entertainer, whether it’s in the ring or on stage or through written word. I just hope that he can continue getting the help he needs because the more movies, one-man shows, and books that Iron Mike is involved in, the happier I will be. In my opinion, Tyson is the most interesting, most captivating athlete of our time. He’s a once in a lifetime athlete, and a once in a millennium character. Top-5 favorite athlete of all time. Iron Mike: Man, Myth, Legend.