‘Shark Week 2020’: Mike Tyson Contends With a Shark for an Interesting Reason

The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is on the way. This year’s lineup includes more encounters between celebrities and sharks. Will Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and Mike Tyson, to name a few. Tyson will go head-to-head with a shark for his part. Here’s what we know.

Mike Tyson’s biggest fear has nothing to do with sharks

Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson | John Lamparski/Getty Images

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Becoming one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of our time didn’t come without a struggle. According to Tyson, one of his biggest fears has nothing to do with sharks and everything to do with living.

In a tearful interview with The Sportsman, battles feelings of emptiness but is still learning how to move through it.

“The more we learn about ourselves, the more we learn about life,” he said.

“Life is pretty interesting. We’re born not knowing, we die not knowing where we came from. But our life prepares us for our death. We still don’t know s*** about it, but when we get to a certain age, we’re not scared of dying no more, like it was when we were young.”

Tyson’s boxing career, which includes winning his first heavyweight championship in 1986, is well-documented. The now-retired athlete was convicted of rape in 1992 and served three years of a six-year sentence, though he maintains his innocence.

After an attempt to resurrect his career, but lost fights to Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis.

“But I wasn’t scared, because I thought if anybody was going to die, I would do the killing,” he continued. “That self-confidence was a survival mechanism. But now, from my experience, from what I believe, the more I know about not existing, the more willing I am to die.”

Tyson added that he doesn’t fear death, saying that living “might be more complicated than dying to me. The belief of it. I don’t know if it’s true. Because living takes a lot of courage. Without the courage, you can’t handle living.”

Considering his thoughts on life and death, facing a great white shark may not rank too high on his list of fears. Still, he’s going to give it a try for an interesting reason.

Why Tyson will face a great white shark for ‘Shark Week’

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During the second portion of Shark Week, Tyson will appear in Tyson vs. Jaws: Rumble on the Reef. The event features Tyson facing off with some of the ocean’s most terrifying animals such as the blacktip reef shark.

“With famed ring announcer Michael Buffer calling the shots, these two heavyweights will square off underwater, where Mike Tyson will try to score a TKO over the massive shark … all in the name of research,” the show summary says. “And don’t worry, no sharks were harmed (or bitten) in the making of this episode.”

What else to expect for ‘Shark Week’

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The 2020 Shark Week lineup kicks off Aug. 9 and runs through Aug. 16.

“With more than 20 hours of shark programming throughout the week, SHARK WEEK 2020’s fincredible lineup will deliver magnificent shark stories and celebrate the 20th anniversary of ‘Air Jaws,'” a press release says.

“This year, the pop culture phenomenon will take viewers to oceans around the world revealing phenomenal insights into the mysterious world of these brilliant creatures.”

Aside from celebrity specials, the network will pay tribute to the Air Jaws 20th anniversary — films that celebrate great white sharks. The events will also touch on the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and what it’s done to the ocean and hunting patterns of great white sharks.

That aside, prepare for ShaqAttack, Will Smith: Off the Deep End, and shark encounters caught on tape, as hosted by Snoop Dogg.

Tyson vs. Jaws: Rumble on the Reef airs Aug. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on The Discovery Channel.