Mike Tyson Said He’s ‘Surprised He’s Still Alive’ After Looking Back on Wild Lifestyle During His Prime

Mike Tyson is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, and his resume makes a strong case for it. After taking the boxing world by storm as an amateur, Tyson became the youngest world heavyweight champion ever by winning the title at only 21 years old. 

Tyson’s incredible skill and exciting fighting style made him Can’t-miss TV. After his meteoric rise to fame, Tyson received more money and attention than he knew what to do with. A series of bad personal and financial decisions led him to bankruptcy in 2003, but his life turned around after landing a small part in The Hangover

Since then, Tyson has been on a different path, with many likening him to a spiritual guru. Looking back on his life during his early career, Tyson himself can’t believe he managed to stay alive. 

Mike Tyson felt he was held to unrealistic standards as a young man

Mike Tyson stands in the ring during the fight with Carl Williams
Mike Tyson stands in the ring during the fight with Carl Williams | Focus on Sport/Getty Images

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Tyson talked about the challenges of being a young superstar during a 1990 interview with Interview Magazine. He recently decided to review his responses to the interview and add the new perspective that he’s gained over the years.

One of the first points Tyson talked about during the original interview was the constant scrutiny he was under, despite his age. 

“At 24, think about what you were doing,” Tyson said in 1990. “You were probably just out of college or something. Not knowing what the hell you were gonna do with your life. It’s the same. I’m a fighter since I’m 11 years old, and now it’s just like graduating from college, and I say, ‘What the hell am I gonna do with my life?’ I mean, it’s difficult,  you know?”

He’s surprised he survived his earlier years as a champion

In hindsight, Tyson understands that he wasn’t quite ready for the spotlight he was under at the time, which overwhelmed him. 

“At that time, that’s what my life was about. Just fighting,” Tyson said. “Becoming a personality at such a quick rate, I was never prepared for that. I thought I was. I had no idea what I was involved with at that time in my life. It was just so overwhelming. I’m surprised I’m still alive.”

Many people took advantage of him when he was in the spotlight

Aside from his nasty left hook, Tyson was known for being extremely generous. He frequently gifted people with expensive items during his heyday and gave away 17 cars over the course of his career. However, many questioned whether or not the people closest to Tyson were taking advantage of him. 

“Well, it’s just difficult,” Tyson said in 1990. “I’m the kind of guy that if someone is good and I like them, they don’t even have to try to steal from me. I’ll give them anything they want. That’s just the kind of guy I am.”

In the more recent interview, Tyson admitted that he’s still just as giving to those he cares about. 

“That’s who I still am. I can’t explain that. If I could explain who I am, then I’d be so limited in my thinking.”

He has a completely different perspective on life and love 

When asked about the state of his life at 21 years old, Tyson was candid about how oblivious he was to anything outside of boxing. 

“I was 21 years old, I didn’t know nothing about life, marriage, and all that crap,” Tyson said in 1991.  

Looking back, Tyson gave a new answer that proved he truly has evolved over the years. 

“When I was on drugs, I had this idea that I was under control,” Tyson said. “But this is what I found out about love: I absolutely know I’m not in control. Love is a more powerful narcotic than actual dope.”