Mike Tyson lived a tough life. He grew up in poverty, was bullied in his neighborhood and had no parental guidance after the age of ten. But as the saying suggests, “Tough times create strong men,” similarly, Tyson’s hardships propelled him to attain the title of ‘The Baddest Man On the Planet.’ The former two time Heavyweight champion was exposed to boxing at a young age.
Growing up, Muhammad Ali was the face of the sport and Tyson was a fan of ‘The Greatest.’ However, he did not have any vehement desire to be like Ali as he could not relate to his life story.
Mike Tyson reveals his struggles
If one was to compare the childhood of Tyson and Ali, the former unarguably was less privileged. Instead, he related to fighters like Sonny Liston and Jack Dempsey who made it out of the trenches. Reflecting on the same, in a resurfaced interview, Tyson stated, “I didn’t wanna be like Muhammad Ali because where I came from Muhammad Ali didn’t come from the world I came from. I came from filth and scum and sewage.”
He added, “So I wanted to be mean like Sonny Liston and Jack Dempsey. I wanted to be ferocious. I wanted to kill you with my stare.” Liston and Dempsey, just like Tyson, had a rough childhood. They grew up with venom and made a name for themselves by knocking people out. Tyson did not have any desire to emulate Ali but the latter still incited Tyson to become a boxer.
‘Kid Dynamite’ was “inspired” by Muhammad Ali
Before Tyson was a professional boxer, he had the opportunity to met Ali in his teens. At the time, Ali was one of the most popular and influential personalities in the world. Just by purely being in his physical presence, Tyson was left inspired. In his podcast, he stated, “I met Ali and I just wanted to be a fighter, right? But I didn’t know if I could really do it but I wanted to do it”
Tyson’s doubt was answered with his resilience and work-ethic. Decades after their career ended, both Tyson and Ali are remembered as the all time faces of boxing. Both combatants contributed to the sport in an unique way.
What do you make of Tyson’s aforementioned confession? In addition, has Tyson been an influence in your life? Get candid with us by sharing your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.