It's hard to imagine Mike, a man known for his strength and ferocious fighting style, as an overweight child who was the victim of relentless bullying. But that's how it all began.

"I deal with a huge inferiority complex," he says. "As a little boy, I was fat and everybody picked on me."

Long before he slipped on boxing gloves for the first time, Mike learned to fight in Brooklyn's schoolyards and back alleys. One day, he says neighborhood bullies found out he was raising pigeons, and they came to take his birds.

"I said: 'Mommy, please. They're taking my birds.' I called my mom to help me. One guy took the bird, and he just ripped open the neck, and he just puts the bird in my face," he says. "Somebody said, 'Mike, fight him.' And I just fought him."

"And that was the beginning," Oprah says.

"Yes," Mike says. "That was a wrap."

Since then, Mike says he's never backed down from a fight. "I'm not somebody that will walk away from a street fight. I wouldn't provoke a fight with them," he says. "But I won't walk away from one either."


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