Mike Tyson: Boxing can make a comeback

Tyson with director Spike Lee, who is overseeing HBO's upcoming film on the boxer. (USATSI)

Former heavyweight champion-turned boxing promoter Mike Tyson didn’t seem to be pulling any punches when he claimed that he thinks the fervor surrounding boxing could be rekindled. 

Speaking on an extended interview with 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore, Tyson lamented the current state of boxing, elaborated on his spat with USA boxing, and explained how his promotions company, Iron Mike productions, will try to infuse the sport with new energy.

“People are tired of these horrible decisions. They look at boxing and they know who’s gonna win before the fight even starts. The officials are destroying boxing, it’s not the fighters,” he said, before adding that he thinks both boxing and MMA can co-exist. “There’s enough room for both of us.”

Tyson recently took a lashing from USA boxing, which claimed that he was poaching potential amateurs, luring them into the ranks of the professionals and thus removing the country’s best chances at an Olympic medal.

“The reality of it is I want to be involved with USA amateur boxing. The reason [for the public letter] was because I got their stand out Olympic hopeful [Erickson Lubin]. He signed with us. …We’re interested in being involved with USA boxing and working in some kind of way and helping that cultivate to a higher level.”

One of the biggest issues with the current state of boxing, according to Tyson, is that the people involved with it are solely interested in the money.

“It’s just that people don’t care about boxing. The people involved with boxing just want to get what they can get. It’s a cash and grab situation. People just grabbing the cash and leaving,” he said.

Tyson mentioned Floyd Mayweather, who made $41.5 million just for fighting Canelo Alvarez last month.

On Money’s boxing style, Tyson described it as “like watching grass grow.”

“He’s a master at what he does, but it’s not bringing boxing to the forefront.” Tyson didn’t say who would’ve won a bout had the two ever fought, but predicted it would’ve been “all-out warfare.”

As for fixing boxing, Tyson is adamant about bringing more excitement to the sport, and does believe it has a chance for a comeback.

“These guys have to make exciting fights,” he said. “That’s why with my guys, I make sure the fights are very exciting. They have to fight. I test them all.”

Aside from his business, the oft-troubled Tyson sounded optimistic about all of his latest endeavors, including a movie on HBO.

“I had all that money back then, I couldn’t get anything done. Listen, now I’ve got a Golden Globe award, I won an Emmy for my interview. I’m doing so many things that I never could’ve been able to do while I was fighting. The best thing that ever happened to me was that I retired from boxing to really find out who I was as a person. I’m just so happy that I’m still alive.”  

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