Mike Tyson is 44 year old, 20 years removed from Buster Douglas knocking him out in Tokyo and the downward spiral that followed, including prison time on a 1992 rape conviction and quitting mid-fight against journeyman Kevin McBride during a 2005 match before promptly announcing that he didn't have "the fighting guts or the heart anymore."
Often when Tyson has spoken publicly about his life, he's been forthcoming about his mistakes. He ratchets the self-loathing up a few notches in a recent interview with Details, telling the magazine that, "The first stage of my life was just a whole bunch of selfishness. Just a whole bunch of gifts to myself and people who didn't necessarily deserve it. Now I'm 44, and I realize that my whole life is just a f--king waste. 'Greatest man on the planet'? I wasn't half the man I thought I was. So if there's a big plan now, it's just to give-it's selflessness, caring for the people who deserve it. Because I think I'm a pig. I have this uncanny ability to look at myself in the mirror and say, 'This is a pig. You are a f--king piece of sh-t.'"
Tyson touches on everything from losing his four-year-old daughter (she died from injuries suffered during a freak accident in Tyson's home) to his Mao tattoo to what he was thinking during the infamous Evander Holyfield fight.
As to the ear-biting incident, Tyson was frank: "Man, I didn't care about boxing anymore. I was wrong to do that-all wrong-all crazy to do that. But that wasn't about boxing. I just wanted to f--king maim him."
As for the future, Tyson keeps it simple ... and raw: "I got no money. I'm not a glamour guy anymore. I got friends who've got money, so it looks like I've got money, but I don't. All the money I had, forget it. I never had anything, never had a stitch on me that felt like freedom. But to have somebody by your side, win, lose, or draw. My wife's lived with me in places I wouldn't take a sh-t in. I wouldn't be a prostitute in some of the places my wife and I have slept."
Tyson's entire professional life has been meticulously documented and there's no gray area when it comes to supporters and detractors: either you love him or hate him. Despite his mixed past he's still a sympathetic figure to those who defend him, while critics think there is a special place in hell awaiting him.
Tyson might argue that much of his existence on this planet has been hellish; he had to declare bankruptcy in 2003 after burning through more than $300 million in career earnings, has been married three times, lost a child, served time, and all this after a hardscrabble upbringing in Brooklyn, New York that pretty much guaranteed he'd be dead or in jail by the time he was 20.
To paint him as an unsophisticated street thug would shortsighted. He's a thoughtful man trying to come to grips with his actions over the course of his lifetime. Impulsive, yes, but also introspective enough to know that all his professional accomplishments are far outweighed by, as he put it, his "uncanny ability to look at myself in the mirror and say, 'This is a pig. You are a f--king piece of sh-t.'"
You can read the entire interview here.