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Mike Tyson said his mother was always there to bail him out. As a youngster, the former heavyweight boxing champion constantly found himself in trouble, yet his mother helped clean things up. Things then got out of hand for Tyson, who had to spend many of his early years at a juvenile detention center.

Tyson’s mother died when he was 16. Recently, on an episode of Club Shay Shay with host Shannon Sharpe, Tyson delivered a shocking statement, saying “one of the best things that happened to me was that my mother died.”

Mike Tyson was arrested 40 times before he was 12

During a December 2020 episode of the IMPAULSIVE podcast, Tyson spoke about the things that got him into trouble before he reached the age of 12. He said he was knocking people out then when he was on the streets.

“Burglaries, pick-pocketing, snatching jewelry,” he said. “One-punch knockout and then go in their pocket, robbery.” 

Whenever he got into trouble, his mother was always there for him. She wasn’t always happy with her son, but she was there to help him.

“I didn’t want to let my mother down,” he said. “My mother really did a lot. Always going to police stations to get my ass out. She would beat my ass so bad, in front of the police. I’ve been arrested 40 times before I was 12. My mother was so humble and proud and I was arrogant.”

Tyson eventually became too much to handle and landed at the Tryon School for Boys. It was there that he met a man named Bobby Stewart, a counselor and former boxer. Stewart introduced him to legendary trainer Cus D’Amato, who later became his legal guardian after Tyson’s mother died when the boxer was 16.

Mike Tyson makes a surprising comment about his mother

D’Amato became the father Tyson never had. He pushed him. He encouraged him. More importantly, D’Amato made Tyson believe in himself.

D’Amato struck fear in Tyson. He’s the one who got through to him.

“I was petrified when I was alone with him,” Tyson wrote in his book IRON AMBITION: My Life with Cus D’Amato. “If he called me — ‘Mike, I need to talk to you’ — I didn’t feel good going over to him. That’s when he’d start giving me his detailed criticisms of my fights. People see the public celebrations of my sensational knockouts but they don’t hear Cus talking to me alone after the fight.”

During Tyson’s interview with Sharpe this week, he made a comment about his mother, saying that one of the best things that happened to him was when his mother died.

“You know what, Mr. Sharpe,” Tyson said, “one of the best things that happened to me was that my mother died.”

Sharpe asked the boxer to elaborate.

“Because my mother would have babied me,” Tyson said. “There’s no way I would have ever gotten into a street fight. No way I would have ever learned to stand up for myself.”

Tyson went on to become one of the most feared boxers of his time

Tyson went through a lot as a youngster, including the death of his mother. He also said he was flawed, but those flaws helped him become the heavyweight champion of the world.

“My biggest asset is all my flaws,” he said. “Without my flaws, I’m nothing. There’s nothing wrong with being flawed. The only thing wrong with that is if you don’t know your flaws.”

Tyson turned those flaws into a lucrative boxing career where he became the youngest heavyweight champion of the world at age 20. He won the first 37 fights of his career, including the first 19 via knockout.

Tyson finished his career with 50 victories — 44 by knockout — in 58 fights. He’s considered one of the most feared boxers of his day.


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