After 15 years out of the ring former Heavy Weight Champion of the World Mike Tyson is returning to boxing this weekend. The 54-year-old, known as 'Iron Mike' will take on Roy Jones Jr in California with millions around the world expected to tune in for his comeback. At the height of his career, Tyson was one of the most famous - and controversial - sports people on the planet. Huge bouts and lucrative sponsorship deals saw him amass what is believed to have been fortune of hundreds of millions of pounds.
Nicknamed the 'baddest man on the planet', Tyson rubbed shoulders with A-list stars and counted some of the biggest names in TV, film and music among his friends. However, the boxer's friendship with global superstar Michael Jackson got off to a rocky start, with Tyson admitting he "hated his guts" in a grudge that last for years. The pair were first introduced at a concert and it's fair to say the meeting did not go well.
Speaking on T.I.’s expediTIously podcast, the former world champion said: "I met Mike one day, I think he was at a concert in Cleveland, I’m with Don King. So me and Don come in, right? And I’m champ and everything, did all this s***, undisputed. So Don goes and Don gives Michael Jackson the peace sign, like this. And then so Michael gives Don the peace sign, and so I give Michael the ‘peace’ sign, and Michael put his hand down. In a way, I say, ‘Did he play me? Nah, he didn’t play me, he just didn’t see me. I knew he didn’t play me, cause I’m f***ing champ."
Remaining understanding, Tyson was again introduced to Jackson at the end of the show - and once again the boxer was snubbed.
He said: "So we went backstage, right? So I’m backstage, and so there’s his backstage, some of his singers and stuff. He’s on stage, it’s over I’m signing autographs and stuff, so Michael comes over and he talks to Don, he doesn’t talk to me. … I say ‘Let me just go on and meet Mike’, cause that’s really why I’m here, I want to meet Mike. And then I go over to meet Mike, … and he goes like this, ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere? Where I know you from?’ He broke my ego, he crushed me. I said ‘No, I’m just a fan, pleasure to meet you, sir. He said, ‘OK’, and then he got out and went in the car."
It would be a grudge that Tyson would refuse to let go of for years - even refusing an invitation to hang out from Jackson. Eventually, he forgave the Thriller star and the pair became close friends. But Tyson couldn't let the earlier snub lie.
He said: "I got on a plane, went over there, hung out, and we just started hanging out together. And I said ‘F*** man, he’s a good guy. But in my mind, I said ‘Why’d you play me though, Mike, why’d you play me like that? You knew who I was, why’d you play me?’"
Following the end of his career and his conviction for rape, Tyson has admitted he is "broke". After filing for bankruptcy in 2003, Tyson said: My whole life has been a waste – I've been a failure.
"I just want to escape. I'm really embarrassed with myself and my life. I want to be a missionary. I think I could do that while keeping my dignity without letting people know they chased me out of the country. I want to get this part of my life over as soon as possible. In this country nothing good is going to come of me. People put me so high. I wanted to tear that image down."
In recent years, Tyson has worked hard to turn his life around. His one-man Broadway show embarked on a successful tour of America. And the purse from his long-awaited fight with Jones Jr will all be donated to charity.