The man formerly known as the Baddest Man on the Planet, Mike Tyson, currently operating as a boxing promoter, took part in a conference call to hype his June 6 fight card at TurningStone Casino.
Select bouts will run on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights,” and the Hall of Fame search and destroy specialist talked up featured bouts, including a 10-round light middleweight bout featuring Yudel Jhonson (15-1, 9 KOs) and an 8-round welterweight bout featuring SammyVasquez Jr. (14-0, 10 KOs). The June 6 event will also feature Ievgen Khytrov (4-0, 4 KOs) in an 8-round middleweight bout.
The boxer said that he is sober, and has been since last year, when he announced at a post-fight presser at Turning Stone, in Verona, NY, that he’d had a slip.
Right now, he said, he’s winning in his struggle against the temptation of substance use and abuse.
Johnson, Tyson said, is exciting, and a good puncher. His foe Norberto Gonzalez is 20-3, a come forward type, and he expects a solid scrap. He also said a Samuel Vasquez-Jay Krupp fight should be a good tussle.
Tyson said it’s up to the people to assess him, his legacy, and he can’t speak to that himself.
He said he’s digging promoting, but is surprised about the dog eat dog nature of promoting, and that former friends are no longer, because everyone wants a piece of a small pie. He will be different as a promoter, he said, by having his guys fighting more often, so the fans can get to know them. Floyd fighting once or twice a year isn’t optimal, he said. “Inactivity is a fighters’ worst enemy,” he stated.
Tyson spoke about his roots in upstate NY, and said that region is special to him, because he trained and lived in the Catskills. He said that he can’t be as self-centered as he was when he boxed, because he has to pay attention to all his fighters. He said he wants to be “more responsible” for them than he was for himself.
The ex fighter said that too many fighters are businessmen first and don’t seek to challenge themselves in the same manner he and his cohorts did back in the day.
The ex hitter said he’s more and more comfortable being on stage and in front of a camera, and that all stems from boxing, from being OK performing in front of large groups of people.
He will meet and greet folks at the upcoming Hall of Fame weekend, and is still learning the promotion game.
He said that ESPN showing that heavyweight scrap, between Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola, was a “brilliant move” by TWWL.