His record as the youngest boxer ever to win a world heavyweight title, reputation as one of the most intimidating, ferocious and longest-tenured undisputed heavyweight champions in history, and World Boxing Hall of Fame status are still-intact facts about Mike Tyson.
What is considerably less suited, however, is his past moniker of Baddest Man on the Planet. Tyson has mellowed in middle age – perhaps due to dabbling in the cannabis industry? – and all aspects of his remarkable, yet tumultuous life are revealed in a completely revised version of “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” which had a successful run on Broadway and was made into an HBO special by filmmaker Spike Lee.
Tyson’s new show “Undisputed Truth Round 2” will take place 8 p.m. Friday, March 6, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s Music Box Theater. Tyson spoke on-air recently with the host of WOND 1400 AM radio’s “Off The Press with Scott Cronick” in advance of his Borgata appearance.
SCOTT CRONICK: The most exciting boxer I’ve ever seen live and in person is Mike Tyson. And what is most interesting about Mike Tyson is that boxing is just a part of what he’s done in his life. One of the interesting things about major professional athletics is that many athletes’ careers are over at a young age, but then what do you do with the rest of your life? You’ve got to figure out what that second or third chapter is, and Mike Tyson has not only done that, he’s reinvented himself over and over.
He has a new show called “Mike Tyson – Undisputed Truth Round 2.” This the sequel to the HBO special filmed on Broadway by Spike Lee, and he’s been here many times in the past with that first show. Now he’s come back with something brand new.
Hey Mike — when I spoke with you the last time, you asked if Cronick was my real last name. Then you said that it was the greatest name of all time.
MIKE TYSON: Well, I’m in the chronic business, Scott Cronick. I like that name, Cronick.
SC: How’s the chronic business doing? I know you’ve gotten involved in the cannabis business. It’s called Tyson Ranch and its slogan is ‘Not all cannabis is created equally.’ (see TysonRanch.com).
MT: Incredible. Just incredible. I’ve very grateful.
SC: You’re a connoisseur of it, right? I mean, you love good weed and have for a long time?
MT: I thought I was a connoisseur, but I really didn’t know anything about weed until I got involved in it as a business.
SC: It’s kind of crazy how scientific it’s gotten, right Mike? I mean, all the strains and the different kinds, it can twist your head around, right?
MT: It’s scary.
SC: I agree, and now that you know more about it, what makes Tyson Ranch cannabis a superior product to other stuff that’s out there?
SC: You know, I couldn’t believe when I was in Las Vegas last year how the cannabis industry has taken over out there. There’s more billboards and taxicab signs about weed than there are about showrooms, right?
MT: The world is changing, isn’t it? It’s bizarre.
SC: Is there good money in that for you, Mike? Has that really changed your life in a way?
MT: Well, I’m not doing this because I need the (financial) help or anything, I’m just doing it because I love it.
SC: I hear ya. You know, New Jersey is supposed to legalize weed sooner than later – is it still amazing to you that this is still considered a banned substance federally?
MT: That’s all about to change.
SC: I agree. You can’t overdose on marijuana, right Mike?
MT: No, but you can fall asleep.
SC: (Laughs) Yeah, you can do that. I own a bar now, Mike, and sometimes I’ll see people who drink too much getting into fights, but I’ve never seen anybody get into a fight because they smoked too much weed.
MT: Well listen, you can put a bunch of guys together in a room that don’t like each other, smoke some weed, and the next thing you know they’re taking selfies with each other.
SC: (Laughs) That’s right! 100%. Mike, you brought your first show here a few times in the past. What’s new about Undisputed 2?
MT: It’s much better than the first show from a human perspective. We laugh a lot and just forget about everything else. It’s an in-the-moment type show.
SC: The first one was scripted in a sense – is this less scripted, and more a show in which you’re able to maybe go off on your own a little bit more?
MT: You’re going to really enjoy it. From what I’ve heard from everybody else so far, it’s even better than the first one.
SC: Is there some stuff from the first one in this one, or is it all new?
MT: There’s some things you’ll hear about like how I got to this stage of my life that’s similar to what you’ve heard before, but this is more explosive than the last one. A lot of it’s different.
SC: When I first met you, you didn’t really want to talk about yourself very much, let alone do a show about yourself. Do you feel better about talking about your personal life, and the struggles and the victories you went through? Obviously it’s a way to get out and make some money, but do you feel comfortable with that life now?
MT: My life’s not about money anymore, my life’s about other things that bring about happiness.
SC: So you don’t have that inside you anymore – where you’re uncomfortable talking about the good or the bad that has happened in your life?
MT: Well, there’s really no such thing as good or bad. Your life is what it is, and you just try to deal with it the best you can.
SC: That’s a great way to look at it. So, Spike Lee directed the first show on Broadway – is there a chance that the newest version of the show might end up on Broadway as well?
MT: Absolutely. The show has gotten great reviews from a lot of people, and I’m truly grateful for its success.
SC: Speaking of Mike Tyson as the former undisputed heavyweight champ, and the most exciting boxer I ever saw, did you happen to watch last weekend’s heavyweight title fight, the (Tyson) Fury-(Deontay) Wilder fight (a Fury win by seventh-round TKO)?
MT: Yeah, I was there. It was a good fight and I’m looking forward to the next one (a possible third fight between those two opponents).
SC: Makes sense that there will be a rematch. Hey, when you look at boxing now and when you were part of it, that fight had some of that old-school rivalry feel about it, but I feel that boxing has fallen off the map a little bit. Do you think these guys might have what it takes to bring it back to the spotlight it once had?
MT: I think they did already. Their drawing power is awesome, it’s inconceivable, particularly the drawing power that Tyson Fury has.
SC: Do you miss that life at all, Mike, the boxing?
MT: No, that life was not for me. I lost who I was in that life. I don’t miss that.
SC: I know you had a second book come out recently (‘Iron Ambition’, preceded by the book ‘Undisputed Truth’). Any other books up your sleeve, or anything else that you’d like to get out there?
MT: Anything’s possible, my friend. I’m just living life and loving life on my own terms.
SC: And Atlantic City’s been good for you – you’ve fought here, you’ve performed here, you’ve partied, you’re a Boxing Hall of Famer here – anything come to mind when you think of Atlantic City?
MT: It’s all good times – not a bad moment in A.C.
SC: Well Mike, we really look forward to ‘Undisputed 2.’ Mike says it’s a brand-new show and he’ll talk about everything from his boxing days to the days of now being in the cannabis business. Have a safe trip to Atlantic City, OK Mike?
MT: Love ya, brother.