Mike Tyson is known for a lot of things, most of them from his time in the boxing ring. Since his retirement from boxing, he has branched out outside the world of sports. He’s tried his hand at acting, including a funny role in the movie “The Hangover.” He has performed a one-man show on Broadway, where he talks about his personal and professional life. And last year, he started hosting the “Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson” podcast where he interviews a variety of guests.
Tyson’s latest interview is with superstar rapper Eminem. The almost hour-long session touches on a variety of topics in the worlds of sports and entertainment. Throughout the interview, the roles reverse, and Eminem asks questions of the host because, as he describes it, Tyson is “like a god to me.” It’s a fascinating listen. Here are a few highlights.
Eminem admired Mike Tyson from the beginning
Before the interview starts, Eminem tells Tyson he “feels like a little kid” and admits he’s a huge fan. He has watched every fight Tyson fought from the start of his career, including his first fight in 1986 against Trevor Berbick.
“Bro, you’re like a god to me,” Eminem gushed. “You were the world champ at age 20. That takes a lot to be the champ. When you fought, someone is getting knocked out. It’s just a matter of what round.”
At one point, Eminem told the fighter he thought he could still get in the ring today and knock someone out. Tyson said it wasn’t who he was anymore.
“I don’t feel that way. I don’t have it in me. I don’t have the mentality to kill everyone’s family anymore.”
The time a 14-year-old kicked Eminem’s butt
About 12 years ago, Eminem said he was so inspired by Tyson he decided to get in the ring himself. In order to learn the sport the right way, he called the late boxer, trainer, and commentator Emanuel Steward to work with him. The two developed a special relationship.
He said they started with the basics. Eminem admitted it was much harder than he thought it would be. After a couple of months, Steward offered to start bringing in up-and-coming young fighters to spar with him. Eminem agreed.
For six months, Steward brought boxers to the rapper’s house every week. Eminem said he got his butt whipped most of the time but did get in a few shots, just enough to give him some confidence. He ultimately decided to hang it up after one specific sparring session where he went three rounds with a fighter, and got pummeled.
“When we get finished I hadn’t gotten in one punch, and he took off his headgear, I asked him, ‘Man, how old are you?’ When he said he was 14, I said that’s it. I’m done.”
Mike Tyson tells Eminem why he loved hurting people
Eminem told Tyson he admired that nobody could knock people out the way he did. Many in the boxing world have said Tyson’s punching power was second to none. Tyson agreed with his guest and described how he developed a warped sense of reality while boxing.
“Every time I hurt someone and knocked someone out, my life gets better. And so I loved hurting people because my life is getting better and I’m getting the girls, I’m getting the mansions, I’m getting the planes, I’m getting the boats. I’m getting whatever I want for hurting people. That was my perception of life at the time.”
Tyson attributed his success in the ring to his detailed study of the sport and to his late trainer Cus D’Amato, who pushed Tyson to achieve success, he never thought possible.
“Nobody could inspire me like he could. He inspired me to be better than what I was. He made me believe I was the best fighter the world has ever produced.”
“You were the greatest,” Eminem told him.
The entire interview covers a spectrum of interesting and very Tyson-esque topics like his role in the movie “The Hangover” and how he was high on cocaine the whole time during filming. It’s entertaining to hear Tyson’s interview style and how the questions he asks of his guest, at least in this case with Eminem, boomerang back, and he ends up answering them.
That’s the way Eminem wanted it.