The first time Mike Tyson showed up on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast was in January of 2019 and he was a very happy (albeit out of shape) 52 year old man man that sounded very content with his fighting days being done. Just over a year and a half later, Tyson returned to the JRE looking fit as a fiddle to promote a November 28th exhibition boxing bout against Roy Jones Jr.
So what was the impetus for the sudden change in plans? According to “Iron Mike,” things just kind of happened after he decided to get back into shape.
“I was discussing with my wife about me being overweight,” Tyson said. “And she said ‘Why don’t you just get on the treadmill for 15 minutes a day?’ But then it went from 15 minutes a day ... to two hours a day.”
“I just started losing weight, and my brother in law said ‘Hey Mike, I know you’re not going to want it but someone asked if you would fight this guy for thirty or forty million bucks.’ I said ‘Get the fu — woah. Hold on. Who would they like me to fight?’”
The first name thrown Tyson’s way was Bob Sapp, which makes us think the people behind the original pitch may have been Japanese fight promoters. Sapp is still a major celebrity in Japan, while we’re forced to explain his past glories (and more recent collapse) to casuals in North America these days. From there, a rotating cast of potential fight opponents were floated past Tyson, including Wanderlei Silva and Evander Holyfield.
Tyson himself didn’t seem too informed regarding the specifics of the whole thing, which became clear when asked why his fight with eventual choice Roy Jones Jr. would be eight rounds.
“Beats the hell out of me,” he said. “I wanted to do the exhibition, I wanted to help the people, I said, ‘Why do I gotta do eight fucking rounds?’ But now I’m getting in condition, and we’re going to do this stuff.”
“Getting in shape and getting conditioned are two different animals. They don’t even belong in the same division of working out. Getting in shape is getting able to fit in your clothes. Being in condition is being able to come outside of your soul. You can’t do that automatically. The emotional state to prepare for that is mind boggling. Let me tell you something about [an early training video]. I did that video and I was in bed for a week. That was 30 seconds, and I was in bed for a week. That was not funny because it made me realize that this is big boy s**t.”
Tyson said the fight would be a real dust up, not a simple patty-cake paw fest like some past celebrity exhibition matches have been
“Of course it is [gonna get violent],” Tyson said. “Because both of us are who we are, and we’re gonna show our skills and nobody’s gonna look stupid. It’s just going to be interesting, I think. … I’m just prepared to do a lot of running and chasing. That was real difficult to get into condition for, chasing this little f**king guy around the ring.”
As for whether this was a one off thing, Mike sounded unsure.
“We don’t know what the future holds, but we’re just looking forward to having fun and a purpose, a reason,” he said. “Hey, I’m not interested in a title, I’m just interested in fighting for the title of giving. It feels soul-cleaning for some reason. Doing it for myself doesn’t do it for me no more.”
“It’s orgasmic sometimes,” he said. “What does it mean when fighting gets you erect? Well that’s how I’d get when I was a kid. Sometimes I’d get the twinkle.”