By Michael Rosenthal
He is still, arguably, the most fascinating man within the boxing sphere, 12 years after he last gloved up in a square ring.
Mike Tyson, 51 years old, still resonating in YouTube-y glory as the bad-boy from Brownsville who almost burned out, but didn’t implode or fade away, is today still quite relevant as a public persona.
He has a new podcast cooking, and is an in-demand media get. Indeed, ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap talked to the ex-Baddest Man on the Planet, and delved into new and surprising territory which is featured on ESPN’s E:60 show.
Tyson reveals that he was molested as a child and found purpose as a fighter in an emotional conversation with Schaap.
In his home in Las Vegas, Tyson opened up about trainer and father-figure Cus D’Amato, his loss to James “Buster” Douglas, his troubled childhood and more, at 9:00 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN, which is becoming quite the boxing hub, with regular fare from Golden Boy Promotions and now Top Rank.
Touching base with Schaap to get some deeper context to his big reveal get, I asked the journo to tell me how this interview, and particularly the delicate subject of molestation, came together.
“This really starts with a conversation I had with Brin-Jonathan Butler, who was the first person to ask Tyson whether he’d been molested, back in 2014. Brin had picked up on something Tyson had written in his first memoir and had the good sense to follow up on it one-on-one. Brin and I talked about that and then when I was asked to interview Tyson about his new book it occurred to me that I wanted to explore this topic with him, which he’s never discussed at length. With a lot of input from Brin, my colleagues at E:60 and I came up with a plan for the interview, giving a lot of thought to the questions I would be asking.
“Initially, Tyson was coming to Bristol to do several interviews about the book, but then back troubles forced him to cancel his trip. Instead, I went to see him in Vegas.”
Could Schaap share with us a natural question, on part of the viewer…does Mike give a hint or tell who the transgressor was? Was it a relative? Someone in boxing, a trainer or what have you?
“As I recall, Mike said it was someone unfamiliar to him, just a man on the street, someone he’s never seen again.”
Did Schaap get the sense how sharing this information affected Tyson? Did it seem like a burden lifted?
“I think Mike was surprised that I wanted to talk about the subject. But he did eventually open up. He became emotional. And he began to see, I think, how an incident such as this might have affected him. It’s interesting because, again, it was Mike who alluded to it in his book, and Mike who mentioned it once on a radio show, unprompted, after Brin had asked him about it. But I’m not sure he has ever really examined the impact of what he went through.”
And finally, what ideally does Schaap want the viewer to take away from watching this segment?
“The goal is always to bring viewers closer to the subject, to expand their understanding of the subject. I think even viewers who’ve been watching Tyson for decades will get something from this. That’s my hope.”
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Source:: The Ring – Boxing