In his celebrated return to the boxing ring at the age of 54, Iron Mike T. said he smoked marijuana right before he fought Roy Jones Jr.
“Absolutely, yes,” he said.
Iron Mike and Jones fought to a draw in an eight-round exhibition match at Staples Center as scored by three former WBC champions.
Before he met with the media to discuss his first fight in 15 years, Iron Mike T. indicated he smoked another joint.
“Listen, I can’t stop smoking,” he said. “I smoked during fights. I just have to smoke, I’m sorry. I’m a smoker. … I smoke everyday. I never stopped smoking.”
Fighting in an exhibition rather than a professional fight apparently gave Mike T. some wiggle room. The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association tested the fighters for performance-enhancing drugs prior to the bout, but marijuana reportedly was not on the list of banned substances.
Iron Mike T. said he stopped using cocaine about 2 1/2 years ago, but that turns out not to be the case for marijuana — even inside the ring.
“It’s just who I am,’’ he said. “It has no effect on me from a negative standpoint. It’s just what I do and how I am and how I’m going to die. There’s no explanation. There’s no beginning, there’s no end.”
Did the marijuana help numb the pain Saturday night?
“No, it just numbs me,” he said. “It doesn’t numb the pain”
The bout proved entertaining, with Tyson looking fit and powerful and landing hard punches to Jones’ body. For his part, Jones flashed some of his old showmanship but also kept Tyson tied up for much of the fight as a means of survival.
Although Tyson said he didn’t know how much money the fight generated, but he assured his winnings won’t be spent the way they were in the past, when he squandered much of the $685 million that Forbes reported Tyson earned during his career.
“I’m here for a purpose,” he said. “I’m not here for my ego. My ego is taking the money, buying some planes, some nice houses packing up a bunch of chicks and have some orgies and stuff.
“This is not who that is right now. That guy was just somebody that had to be, eventually he was a platform to become me.”
What Tyson cares about now, he said, are his family, his pigeons, his clothes and, yes, his joints. They must be easy to come by considering in 2017 the former heavyweight champion founded Tyson Ranch, a cannabis company.
He said he cares deeply about something else, too — charity. Although Tyson has offered few specifics, he said he’s focused on helping people less fortunate than himself.