While boxing aficionados will remember Mike Tyson as a ferocious and merciless power puncher, with the cold, steely stare that ruled the boxing world during his terrifying reign as undisputed Heavyweight champion in the late 1980s, "Iron" explains that man no longer exists.
"People have to realize that 'Iron Mike' is just really dead and I'm doing something else now," Tyson dished in the first episode of "Being: Mike Tyson," a six-part documentary series that will debut on FOX this Sunday (Sept. 22, 2013). "That's just what it is."
The Emmy Award-nominated "Being" series, which focuses on the magnetic, troubled and controversial former Heavyweight boxing champion, starts with him on the road during his one-man stage show called, "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth." It's this 36-city United States tour that Tyson refers to as "something else," as the FOX Sports cameras roll to get a closer look on how he relived his life story on a stage.
A spotlight that is much different than the boxing ring that made him a star.
To open the first episode, which will begin before or after local NFL coverage this weekend (check local television listings), a montage of Tyson preparing backstage for his "Undisputed Truth" show is blended with old footage of him preparing in the locker room before one of his iconic fights.
"I feel like I'm in a locker room because this is what a locker room to a fight looks like," he says. "It's the same thing, anticipating and waiting to perform."
The true performers in this series are FOX Sports. Tyson is just, well, as the show is titled, being Tyson. The FOX Sports cameras are the left hook to the body, and the former champion's stories are the right uppercut, working in unison just as well as one of Tyson's most famous combinations.
His tumultuous story is told through his preparation for his one-man show. You hear him travel deep into himself either by voicing over scenes at the gym or on the road. You see his heart captured in scenes with his wife, Kiki, and their two children Milan and Morocco. In the most telling scenes, he candidly speaks to the audience sitting in front of a black background, as if he is having a completely normal, intimate sit down conversation with perfect strangers.
"I'm the kind of individual, I have to be at conflict," Tyson admits, staring at the camera. "If I'm not at conflict I'm not going to perform well. If I'm not at conflict with an individual, I have to be at conflict with myself."
A return to the state of Indiana for the first stop of his tour -- a place he never wished to return to after serving a three-year prison sentence for being convicted of raping Desiree Washington in the early 1990s -- was the main storyline in the first installment of the series.
Tyson makes a stop at the Plainfield Correctional Complex where he was incarcerated. He looked out his window while being driven toward it saying, "Steel and cement, glass and barbwire." The prison obviously conjured up vivid memories of his time there. He speaks with Assistant Superintendent Philip Slavens, who was there while he was a prisoner, to make amends, and the former prisoner gives his definition of what it was like to lose his freedom.
"Being in prison is the closest thing to being dead while you are alive because everything else stops."
"Being: Mike Tyson," like the opening indicated, is the dichotomy between his past life as a fallen sports superstar and his current one as an entertainer. It's part cautionary tale and part redemption story, as the retired boxer isn't afraid to open up about his past mistakes and loves to share his new-found happiness and out look on life.
Whether inside the ring or on a stage alone baring his soul, the initial offering of the six-part series shows Tyson's polarizing effect has never waned.
After the debut episode this Sunday on FOX, "Being: Mike Tyson" will shift to FOX Sports 1, starting Tuesday Sept. 24, 2013 at 10:30 ET.