Meeting of Giants
Mike says he did the interview primarily for his children. "They definitely deserve a better life than what I had," he says." "I want to make that possible. Not from a financial perspective, but from a human perspective. To be decent people."
Mike says he can relate to the viewer's battle. "I have an affinity to him. I understand that addiction because so many different agendas can set it off and trigger it. Like, I want to get high now because I'm afraid to death of fame because I know what fame can do to me," he says. "When I was this 'Iron Mike Tyson' guy or whoever he was, that guy haunts me. So I'm very apprehensive with fame."
Mike says it's incredibly hard to keep himself from going to a dark place sometimes. "It's the right thing to say that my children stop me, but it's not. My love for my children is not stronger than my addiction. But I want a better life for myself," he says.
A time came when Mike had to shift his thinking, but it was hard, he says. "When everything you believed in, everything that made you successful in your life, you realize is a lie, then you have to start over. Sometimes you just don't know where to start."
These days, Mike says he follows the example of men he admires. "I just watch from a distance," he says. "I just watch people in life and I take this from him—the way he holds his cigarette, the way he talks to people—the assertiveness of that guy and I just take everything into my everyday life. I watch television and watch people in the street and I add that."
Mike says he's in the same boat as Christopher. "I'm fighting too, just as much as he is," Mike says. "If I was two years dumber, I would have killed some people. ... You hold it in for so long because you just don't know what to do, but my first response is violence. I know how to do that really well."
Learning a new way of responding to life's struggles is a new priority for Mike. "To set an example for the other children I have, I have to be strong," he says.
When Mike first spoke with Oprah, he said that though he's officially apologized, he wasn't sincere at the time. "Everybody on my crew would get on my nerves. I said, 'Okay, I apologize.' Really I was more offended for apologizing because it was so insincere," he says. Now that time has passed, Mike wants an opportunity to meet Evander face-to-face. "I just always wanted to have a place to sit down and talk to him and shake his hand and just express myself to him."
After Oprah and Mike's first interview aired, Evander called to say he wanted to talk with Mike about the fight. They are meeting on the Oprah Show stage to talk about the infamous incident for the first time in more than 10 years.
Mike has said that the few times they've run into each other, Evander has seemed leery of Mike. "He never says a word. The guy doesn't talk. When he looks at me, I feel like I'm having a face-off with him every time I meet the guy," Mike says. "I met him not too long ago at the ESPY awards and I just wanted to talk to him, but he was just so stoic he doesn't want to talk."
Evander says that's not the case and he hasn't avoided Mike. But now that they are face-to-face on Oprah's stage, Mike has the opportunity he's been waiting for. "This is a beautiful guy," Mike says. "Me and this guy both come from basically the sewage, and we watched each other grow to become established and esteemed fighters, you know what I mean? I just want you to know it's just been a pleasure passing through life being acquainted with you."
Mike says he's finally learned that lesson for himself and is happy to spread that message. "At one time, I believed there can't be peace without war. I was in that frame of mind—there must be war, there must be peace, somebody has to rule, superior has to rule," he says. "I was a Neanderthal in thinking from that capacity. But I realize that we need to love each other better and treat each other better."