At 50, boxing legend Mike Tyson might be more ubiquitous than ever.
The ex-heavyweight champion and Boxing Hall of Famer, entertainer and, yes, busy dad seems to be everywhere these days, keeping his hand in television, YouTube videos, the business world and family. He even has a new book out.
Iron Ambition: My Life with Cus D’Amato tells the story of Tyson’s manager, trainer and father figure who turned Tyson from Brooklyn street thug and juvenile delinquent into boxing’s youngest heavyweight champion at 20.
Eventually, Tyson became one of the world’s most well-known, and at times most reviled, personalities. Once known as the “Baddest Man on the Planet,” Tyson went off the rails after D’Amato died at 77 in 1986, and he ended up twice serving time in prison. His most infamous moment, of course, came when he bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear 20 years ago during their heavyweight title rematch.
After several brushes with the law and bouts with drug addiction, plus the death of his 4-year-old daughter Exodus in a treadmill accident in 2009, not to mention the squandering of $300 million in earnings, Tyson has reinvented himself and become a sought-after personality just by being himself. He credits D’Amato for his legendary career.
“The book is about Cus and his teachings and my life living with him,” Tyson told USA TODAY Sports by phone recently.
D’Amato was not only a father figure, Tyson said, he also was “my mother, my wife, my psychiatrist, my doctor. He was my everything. He was amazing.”
Tyson, who turns 51 on Friday, said he misses D’Amato: “I wish he could meet my children.”
There are seven, including Milan, the 8-year-old daughter of Tyson and his current wife, Kiki Spicer. Milan Tyson, who lives with her parents in Las Vegas, is something of a tennis prodigy who started playing at 4. Tyson, who describes himself as a “tennis dad,” has taken her to Indian Wells, the U.S. Open and other top tournaments, and the proud pop said she is “going to be a broadcaster for ESPN for little kids.” (It’s actually part of a USTA program called Net Generation, as a “kid-caster” in partnership with ESPN.)
Tyson has children in Washington, D.C., New York, Phoenix and “all over the place,” he says. “I love being involved with my children. They’re my sanctuary now. … I get to see them whenever I want,” Tyson says.
He’s currently on vacation with some of them, he said.
Tyson, who has played himself on many TV shows and movies, most notably The Hangover and Entourage, is a celebrity panelist/judge on a new, hour-long Fox TV show called Superhuman, which tests the skills of ordinary people who possess extraordinary abilities with memory and all of the senses. Fellow panelists include singer-songwriter Christina Milian and noted neurosurgeon Rahul Jandial. The host is actor Kal Penn.
“My agent hooked me up, and it turned out to be a really, really good show,” Tyson said of Superhuman (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET/PT). “I love working with Kal and everybody else. We all fit together as one family.”
Tyson also has had an animated series on the Adult Swim channel since 2014 called Mike Tyson Mysteries, where Tyson solves mysteries a la Scooby Doo.
As if he’s not busy enough, Tyson is opening Mike Tyson Fitness and Boxing Academy franchises. He has 15, including in Dubai.
“They thought it would be lucrative, especially overseas, which they were right,” Tyson said. “We’re at the beginning stages right now, but we’re doing contracts for different franchises, and things are going real well.”
Tyson still watches boxing and is an MMA fan. Asked how he sees the Aug. 26 Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor superfight in Las Vegas, which he hopes to attend, Tyson said, “I’m going with Floyd all the way.”
So he doesn’t think an MMA fighter can defeat a boxer?
“Not with boxing gloves on,” he said.