Mike Tyson, other than being one of the best boxers in the modern era, is also becoming one of the most self-aware athletes out there. On his podcast, ‘Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson,’ he’s been brutally honest about himself as of late. In fact, recently, Mike Tyson admitted that he once thought of himself as a demi-god.
Mike Tyson’s rough upbringing
Tyson’s childhood was a rough one. He was born in the mid-60s in Brooklyn, New York, and it didn’t take long before he was thrown into the criminal world.
Tyson, like many fighters, had a violent childhood where he was either getting into fights or getting himself into trouble. That all changed, though, when he met his trainer, Cus D’Amato.
D’Amato saw the potential in Tyson and started training him in boxing. But soon, D’Amato took Tyson under his wing and became Tyson’s mentor.
In fact, their relationship was so strong that after Tyson’s mother passed away, D’Amato became Tyson’s legal guardian. On top of that, as The Independent said, D’Amato helped Tyson in more than just boxing. D’Amato also helped boost Tyson’s self-esteem.
Tyson said that D’Amato “never told me I was a n*****, that I was never going to make it.” Instead, D’Amato encouraged Tyson to become the best man that he could be. This deep relationship between the two men would yield fruitful results.
How Mike Tyson rose and fell
After a great showing in the amateur boxing scene, Tyson was ready to fight professionally at just the age of 18. In early 1985, Tyson made his professional boxing debut with a thundering first-round knockout.
A month later, another knockout. Tyson wasn’t fighting the best boxers ever, as he was just starting his boxing career, but still, he made it clear that he was a cut above everyone else.
However, with over 10 wins and 10 knockouts under his belt, in November of 1985, D’Amato died. Many boxing analysts speculate that the death of D’Amato, someone who had been so close to him and who had believed in him all this time, sent Tyson down a dark path.
In the next four years, Tyson would continue dominating his opponents, knocking almost every one of them out. He’d claim multiple heavyweight titles before finally suffering his first loss.
A few years later, Tyson was convicted of raping a woman and he was sentenced to six years in prison. He got out after serving three years, and a few years later, he infamously bit Evander Holyfield’s ear during their rematch.
Tyson fought a few more times after that incident. He suffered a few more losses before he finally retired in 2005 at the age of 38.
How Mike Tyson’s ego got so big
As The Independent reported, D’Amato did more than just reassure Tyson that he was going to be somebody someday. D’Amato also told Tyson how much better he was than everybody else. Tyson said that D’Amato, “always said [he] was superior to everybody.”
In fact, D’Amato’s praise also reassured Tyson that he wasn’t wrong about things. Tyson said of D’Amato: “[He] never put doubt in my mind that I was f—– up, even though I believed that. In my mind, I was a demi-god.”
This type of seemingly-crazy amount of ego is not uncommon in high-level athletes. Athletes need to be confident in themselves that they’re the best, or else they won’t believe that they can beat the best and become the best.
That’s why athletes like Conor McGregor trash talk so much, it’s because they truly believe they can beat anyone. Obviously though, Tyson’s ego got too big, but thankfully, he seems to have reigned it in as of late.