INDIANAPOLIS — It has been nearly 20 years since Mike Tyson was in Indianapolis and he’s ready to reclaim center stage.
The 46-year-old Hall of Fame boxer hopes to show city residents Wednesday night that he’s a different person from the one they remember – the brash young heavyweight champion who was convicted of raping an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant and then spent three life-changing years behind bars in the 1990s. Helicopters were on hand for his release from prison in 1995, and he hasn’t been back since.
The boxer once dubbed as the “Baddest Man on the Planet” is settling into his new role as the star of a one-man, 36-city road show called “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth.” Strangely enough, it begins in Indianapolis, where the sexual assault remains almost as well-known as anything he did in the ring.
“At the time, I was living a pretty hectic life and pretty wild and I don’t know what would have happened if I had three more years of that life,” Tyson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Las Vegas. “So maybe that was, everything happens for a reason. You know, when I left prison, I did a lot better than when I came. So everything happens for a reason, everything’s a developmental stage in life, and I’m just going on this journey in life to find out what’s next.”
Tyson’s show details his rise from the streets of Brooklyn to champion boxer, the subsequent fall and all those glorious and inglorious moments that defined his life – drug use, biting of Evander Holyfield’s ear, relationships with ex-wife Robin Givens, new wife, Kiki, boxing promoter Don King, the late Cus D’Amato, his former trainer, and, of course, his version of what happened in Indianapolis.
Some reviewers have interpreted Tyson’s words to be apologetic, though Tyson made it clear in the interview this is no apology tour. He said he is not sure what kind of crowd reaction he will get, though the original two-day Indianapolis program has been cut to one night.
“It’s not like no kryptonite. There’s nothing about that stuff that evokes any bad memories to me,” he said. “I’m a professional, I’m going to go there, I’m going to entertain the crowd. I’m not going to be there and say, ‘Oh, my God.’ No, I’m a grown man. That’s 21 years ago. You think I’m scared to come to Indianapolis because of something that happened 21 years ago? I’m a totally different person now.”
The show has already appeared in Las Vegas and on Broadway, and after spending three nights in Indianapolis, Tyson heads to Chicago.