Even at 56 years old and sitting outside a boxing ring, Mike Tyson is still terrifying. Just ask ESPN’s Stephen A Smith.
The two sports personalities came together recently when Smith was an in-studio guest on Tyson’s Hotboxin’ With Mike Tyson podcast. As he did throughout his illustrious boxing career, Tyson showed he still has that intimidation factor, even while sitting comfortably in a leather chair.
Mike Tyson was one of the most intimidating boxers of his time
Mike Tyson might not be considered a top-10 boxer of all time, but he was dominant. The youngest heavyweight boxing champion ever packed a powerful punch. Many of his opponents didn’t last very long in the ring.
Tyson had his first professional fight on March 6, 1985, when he took on Hector Mercedes in Albany, New York. In typical Tyson fashion, he made quick work of Mercedes, earning a TKO in the first round. The win began a string of 37 straight victories over four-plus years.
Tyson won his first 19 pro fights via knockout. Twelve of those occurred in the first round. At age 20, he became the youngest heavyweight champion of the world.
He suffered the first loss of his pro career against a relatively unknown fighter names James “Buster” Douglas. After the Douglas fight, Tyson bounced back with four straight wins before his career was halted when he was arrested on a rape charge that sent him to prison for nearly three years.
Tyson returned to the ring in August 1995 when he knocked out Peter McNeeley in the first round. He won three more fights to raise his record to 45-1 before suffering back-to-back losses to Evander Holyfield. Tyson finished his career with a record of 50-6, with 44 of those victories coming via knockout.
Tyson and Smith have different outlooks on the word ‘beauty’
Tyson and Smith recently got together on the former boxer’s podcast. They spoke about various subjects, including Tyson’s obsession with animals. Tyson, of course, was known for having tigers and pigeons as pets. Smith was intrigued — and also uneasy — about Tyson’s way of thinking when it came to animals. It certainly made for interesting dialogue.
“A lion bit me one time but other than that…,” Tyson told Smith matter-of-factly before Smith quickly interjected.
“It bit you?” Smith yelled in typical fashion. “What do you mean, other than that?’ I don’t understand, other than that.”
“Normally, they kill their owners,” Tyson responded as Smith stared in disbelief.
“They kill their owners?” Smith asked and then repeated. “They normally kill their owners.”
Tyson admitted he “slept with my cat” as Smith simply shook his head and groaned. Tyson said the animal could kill you in three seconds. That brought Tyson to speak about grizzly bears.
“The grizzly bear, they — boom — hold you down, biting chunks out of you,” Tyson said. “The wildlife is a trip. I would love to have a hyena for a pet. You can train ’em like dogs. That’s beauty, man.”
“Beauty?” Smith screamed. “You just talked about them eating people from inside out. Or a grizzly holding down your head and chomping on you while you’re alive. That’s beauty?”