I’m not a boxing fan. Too much hype, too crooked. I prefer mixed martial arts. My view of Mike Tyson was the one I saw in the media. I knew he had been a petty criminal and a gangster. I knew that he had been convicted of rape and served a prison sentence for it. I wrote him off as a kind of brute, all about violence and physicality.
Then I heard the man speak.
It turns out that he is a man of great intelligence and, strange as it may seem, a delicate sensibility. He spoke with self effacing humor, wisdom and he was bit of a philosopher. Prison seemed to have changed him. I do not condone his crime but I do believe that people can change. I walked away with a new respect for the man. Not as an athlete but as a man. I saw the qualities which had served him become a champion. He had risen from a poor kid from Brooklyn with thick glasses and a lisp to dominate the ring. There was something there, intangible and hard to define, but it was a kind of presence and drive.