NEW YORK — Pounding out the details of his personal life on a Broadway stage doesn’t seem to faze Mike Tyson. The former heavyweight champ said that’s what he’s used to doing, “and at least now I don’t have to go to hospital every time.”
The 46-year-old Tyson is appearing in the one-man show, “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth.” Directed by Spike Lee, the nearly two-hour show chronicles Tyson’s life from childhood and his early boxing career to his public divorce from Robin Givens and his time spent in prison. He even talks about an incident with Brad Pitt.
“I’m just joking and stuff. I’m not mad at anyone. I hope he gives me a damn job,” Tyson said when asked about the incident. The boxer spoke to The Associated Press Thursday, the same day as the show’s opening.
Lee chimed in: “He asked for a job.”
Lee, famous for chronicling stories about Brooklyn in such films as “Crooklyn,” “She’s Gotta Have It” and the upcoming “Red Hook Summer,” feels this work adds nicely to collection.
“You can’t get more Brooklyn than Mike Tyson. And if you remember the film, ‘Do the Right Thing,’ the great Robin Harris (playing Sweet Dick Willie) had many references to Mike. And on the side of Sal’s Famous Pizzeria we painted a mural, Brooklyn’s Finest: Mike Tyson, so this is history,” Lee said.
While Tyson’s life has been tumultuous at times, the boxer says he can deal with telling intimate details to a room full of strangers simply because “it’s a job to be done.”
“Even though it’s real, it’s not real. It’s an illusion,” Tyson said. — (AP)
Tyrell Biggs has a story to tell.
It’s one about embracing prosperity and fame.
It’s also one about accepting failure and obscurity.
And somewhere along the way, the Olympic boxing Gold Medalist found himself and learned something about who he is and what he is about.
“It’s better to have had and lost than to never have had at all,” said Biggs. “That’s the way that I look at it.”
These days, Biggs can be found at the Mitchell Allen Boxing Gym located in the Shepherd Recreation Center in West Philadelphia. He’s there providing inspiration to aspiring boxers and other athletes. He shares his stories about going toe-to-toe with Mike Tyson in the ring for the heavyweight title in 1987. He also spins yarns about the money he squandered and his battles with alcohol and drug addiction.
“I’ve been clean for going on 30 years now,” he said proudly. “I remember a lot of what I experienced in the ring. I also remember what I experienced out of the ring. I want to share what I know to the younger people. I don’t want them to make the mistakes that I’ve made in life.”
Which is why Dafna Yachin is directing a documentary about Biggs. The project, “Whatever happened to Tyrell Biggs” is currently in post production. Yachin is searching for funding to complete the film.
“Tyrell Biggs is a very interesting person,” said Yachin. “His story has so many chapters. He’s been at the top. He’s been at the bottom. I believe many will be inspired by his story and what he’s been through.”
Before he was a budding star in the ring, he was known as Burt Biggs, a bruising power forward for the West Philadelphia High School Speedboys. He was a starting forward for the Speedboys’ Public League and City championship team in 1978. That team had a state-record 68-game winning before losing 62-61 to archrival Overbrook.
In 1977, the Speedboys, led by the legendary Gene Banks, were the best prep team in the nation. Some of that success could be attributed to Biggs, who was a scrappy aggressive rebounder and good defender. He was a reserve on that team.
“Burt had to go away to let Tyrell come out,” said Biggs. “I really don’t recall much about those days.”
Biggs went to then Hampton Institute to play college basketball. He flunked out but soon found success as a boxer. He won the gold medal at the 1981 U.S. National Boxing Championships as a super-heavyweight. In 1982, he repeated as champion and won the World Championship. To win the world title, he outpointed Italian Francesco Daminiani. Earlier in the tournament, Dimiani defeated Cuba’s Telefelo Stevenson.
After winning a bronze medal in the 1983 Pan American Games, Biggs put it all together in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He defeated future heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in the quarterfinals and out-pointed Damiani in the championship bout to win the gold.
Biggs and fellow Philadelphian Meldrick Taylor (125-pounds) highlighted an American boxing team that won 11 total medals, nine of which were gold.
“Tyrell made me the proudest man alive during his run for the Olympic Gold and I even stopped my car in Mississippi and got a hotel room, to watch him win his Olympic Gold with my then wife Isabelle,” said Banks. “I cried seeing him win, knowing he was a product of West Philly, a teammate and brother and from the neighborhood. We STILL have not honored him properly as such, in his achievement. Funny, he was my back up and I wanted to be a pro boxer and he wanted to be a pro basketball player. The irony!”
Not long after that, Biggs went pro. He won his first 15 bouts before going against an angry Tyson. Biggs’ trainer, Lou Duva, hyped the fight saying that Biggs would expose Tyson as a fraud. And Biggs did some jawing as well.
From the opening bell, Tyson was on a mission to destroy Biggs, which he did in seven bloody rounds. In round one, Tyson bloodied Biggs mouth. In the third round Tyson opened a cut over Biggs left eye. In round 7, Tyson dropped Biggs with a left hook.
A wobbly and battered Biggs took a nine-count and tried to go finish the round. Tyson proceeded to drop Biggs with another left. Referee Tony Orlando mercifully waved off the bout at the 2:59 mark. From there, Biggs became a journeyman boxer. He would be ranked as a contender, but never experienced another big payday. Biggs was among the best, but never got another opportunity to fight for a title. He retired in 1998 with a 30-10 record with 20 knockouts.
Those days are long gone and the memories are murky to Biggs.
“I had some difficult moments,” said Biggs. “I made some mistakes. I was out there for a time.”
He’s hoping the documentary will help others not to make the same missteps. “Why not do [the documentary?],” Biggs said. “I’ve got a story that can help someone. No one can take away the things that I have accomplished. I’m proud to be an Olympic champion. I fought for the heavyweight championship of the world. There aren’t many people who can say that.”
It’s so easy to despise Floyd Mayweather Jr.
He’s easily boxing’s most exciting pugilist.
Like Muhammad Ali in his prime, Mayweather does two things extremely well — win and make money.
On Saturday, Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) will fight Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs) in a mega fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The fight will net him a guaranteed purse of $41.5 million.
No wonder Mayweather’s nickname is “Money.”
Mayweather, is arguably the best boxer pound-for-pound. He is a five-division world champion who has won eight world championship and the lineal championship in three different weight classes.
Alvarez has an impressive resume. He’s the WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine light middleweight champion.
The Mayweather-Alvarez tilt will be fought at a catch weight of 152 pounds. The championships on the line are Alvarez’s crowns and Mayweather’s WBA super light middleweight championship.
Philly will be represented at mega fight. On the undercard, Juniata Park’s Danny Garcia, the WBA and WBC super and Ring Magazine light welterweight champion, will defend his titles against Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse, the WBC intercontinental light welterweight champion. Garcia is 26-0 with 16 KOs while Matthysee is 34-2 with 32 KOs.
Mayweather seemingly thrives on being despised by many. He taunts opponents and enjoys flashing his opulence. His guaranteed purse will smash the previous record of $32 million, which he set May 5, 2012 in his fight with Miguel Cotto and tied this past May 4, against Robert Guerrero. For 2013, Mayweather’s guaranteed purses will total a whopping $73.5 million.
The fight with Alvarez is the second bout of a mega deal that Mayweather signed with Showtime/CBS before the Guerrero fight. The 30-month deal include six fights and is worth a reported $200 million.
Mayweather could earn more than $41.5 million if the pay-per-view generates more loot. The all-time buy record of 2.44 million and revenue record of more than $130 million was set by Mayweather in his bout with Oscar De La Hoya on May 5, 2007. Ironically, De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions is in charge of the bout.
Alvarez’s purse has not been disclosed yet, but reportedly is believed to be more than $10 million.
Reportedly, the Mayweather-Alvarez fight already has broken the all-time gate record with ticket sales at the MGM Grand Garden Arena generating $19.1 million, breaking the record of $18,419,200 set by Mayweather-De La Hoya.
It’s expected that 25,000 closed-circuit tickets at MGM properties in Las Vegas, at $100 per ticket, will be sold out. Millions of dollars will be generated from foreign television sales, event sponsors, national closed-circuit revenue and merchandising.
De La Hoya believes there’s a reason why the fight has created such a buzz.
“Well, I know why it’s caught on so big is because people have hope and people strongly feel that Mayweather is going to get beat,” said De La Hoya during a conference call. “You know that’s why I feel this fight is catching fire. You have a young guy in Saul who is like a seasoned veteran. He knows what he’s doing. He’s a fighter that has a game plan that is in the best shape of his life. People have hope and people strongly feel that Mayweather is going to get beat.
“I can see it and I can envision that because I know what he’s capable of. I understand his potential and he hasn’t shown not one bit of what he’s capable of, and I strongly feel that Sept. 14 we are going to see the younger Canelo Alvarez who is going to be fast, who is going to be strong, as we know, but who is going to be smart. He’s the whole package and he hasn’t put it all together because he hasn’t fought Floyd Mayweather, who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Floyd Mayweather will bring out the best in Canelo Alvarez.”
De La Hoya believes that Mayweather’s age, now 36, will be a deciding factor. Alvarez is 23-years-old. De La Hoya is predicting a knockout victory for Alvarez.
“That’s my personal position, my personal feeling. That’s how I feel that the fight will pan out. You know in boxing anything can happen. In boxing any punch can land and knock you out, so my feeling is that a fighter like Canelo Alvarez has what it takes to land that perfect punch.”
De La Hoya had a plan when he fought Mayweather. It failed. Alvarez has a plan for Mayweather.
Perhaps Mike Tyson said it best many years ago: “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.”
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Mike Tyson is going back to pay TV, where his fights were some of the biggest moneymakers in boxing history.
Only this time the punches he's throwing are verbal.
The former heavyweight champion is teaming with director Spike Lee to bring Tyson's one-man stage show to HBO later this year.
The program was filmed on Broadway, where "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" ran last summer.
Lee used 11 cameras to film the show that he described as part of Tyson's legacy outside the ring. Tyson gives an unvarnished recounting of his life's highs and lows, including his years in prison, biting Evander Holyfield's ear, his marriages, being a tabloid target and his drug use.
"Most human beings are not going to display the dark parts of themselves, the demons they have, to the world," Lee told the Television Critics Association on Thursday. "When you see this he's out there on this stage naked sharing his experience, his ups and downs to the audience and it's traumatic. It's the most courageous thing I've ever seen in my life. I couldn't do it and most people couldn't do it."
Tyson found walking on stage to do a live show similar to going into the ring, with similar energy among the Broadway and fight crowds.
"I can't wait to get my hands on the guy like I can't wait to get on stage. Just like in a fight, I wanted to kill everybody in the room, by my performance, of course," he said, adding the biggest difference was "I don't have to go to the hospital after I perform."
With Tyson waiting in the wings with his mic clipped on, Lee said, "We had to hold him back until he hears the bell 'cause he's ready to go."
Tyson's wife, Kiki, wrote the script for the stage show, which toured the country earlier this year. Tyson said it reflects his life's journey from Brooklyn street urchin to happily married father.
"It's how I plan on living my life now in a productive way," he said. "This is all pretty much new to me but it's working." -- (AP)