Athletes & Celebrities

Undisputed Truth: Mike Tyson Is Still a Knockout

Boxing legend Mike Tyson talks about his workouts, diet and the meaning of his tattoos.

Big Hitter

If there’s a real-life Jekyll and Hyde in the sports or entertainment fields, it’s “Iron” Mike Tyson, who for 30 years has straddled the line between terrifying competitor and sympathetic victim. We sparred (figuratively, thank goodness) with the youngest heavyweight champ of all time as he prepared to revive his show Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth.

M&F: Where would you rank yourself among the greatest heavyweights of all time?

Mike Tyson: It’s not my position to do that. People saw me perform and do whatever I did when I did it. It’s up to them to choose where I belong.

You had a great physique throughout your career. When you were coming up as a fighter, did you lift weights at all, or were you just boxing?

No way. Only hitting the bag and boxing all the time. I did lift later in my career, when I came back in ’95. I started lifting weights because that’s what everybody was doing. Everybody had strength-and- conditioning guys at that time.

Is there a workout regimen you follow today?

Normally it’s just an hour and a half on the treadmill, 200 Russian twists with a 15-pound medicine ball, and then I do chest exercises. I don’t do heavy weights. I’ll do bench presses with about 100 pounds, a bar, and plates. I just do repetitions.

I get addicted to running sometimes. Sometimes I’ll do it till I have to go to the hospital and get shots through my foot. I haven’t been on the treadmill for two months. I’m so happy because this is the first time I’ve stopped running and I didn’t gain a pound.

You lost 160 pounds by adopting a vegan diet. What were you eating?

I stopped eating basically altogether. I was miserable. Every time I traveled I had to bring food with me.

So what are you eating now?

First thing in the morning I get a bison burger and some cream of wheat. I’ll go to the health club and work out. In the afternoon I’ll eat some greens and chicken and take vitamins. At night I have tea and maybe some grapes.

In your show, you talk about catching Robin Givens, whom you were in the middle of divorcing, with Brad Pitt. How close did you come to knocking him out that day?

Not close at all. I wasn’t mad. He just beat me to the punch. He’s a nice guy. Even then he came across as a real nice guy. He said, “How you doing?” And I said, “What’s up, buddy?”

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