Boxing champ’s new kind of knockout
Mike Tyson is in a service state of mind, doing good work through his charity, Mike Tyson Cares, which provides assistance to at-risk kids in Las Vegas. Tyson was inspired to start his philanthropic cause by Shade Tree, the Las Vegas shelter for abused women and their families that he and wife, Kiki, visited this summer. Mike Tyson Cares was launched at a fundraising event on Dec. 7 at MGM Grand, where John Katsilometes sat with Tyson after he walked the red carpet.
Q: You say you want to give kids a fighting chance. What do you mean by that?
A: It’s for homeless children, to give them a fighting chance. I was one of those homeless children. We lived in condemned buildings. I know the thoughts of helplessness, not knowing what’s going to happen the next day, if you’re going to be victimized by one of these street people who come into condemned buildings, the drug dealers and you don’t know what your life is going to be … it’s something that is close to my heart.
Q: Your one-man show is going on tour?
A: Yes, a 36-city tour that starts in February.
Q: Is it coming back to Vegas?
A: I hope so, I hope so. I would be able to sleep in my own bed for once.
Q: Any New Year’s resolutions?
A: To continue to live the kind of life I have been living. Don’t go off track. A good friend of mine, Jim Gray, the announcer, he calls me all the time. Periodically. He says, “Mike, don’t (screw) it up! Don’t (screw) it up, Mike!” I say, “Don’t worry, I’m not.” That’s why you don’t see me at clubs unless I am with my wife … I will not go anywhere I’m not invited. If I don’t have a reason to be there, I won’t go there.
Q: Are there projects, aside from the show, that you want to work on?
A: The Muppets. Maybe I could beat up Gonzo or somebody. (laughs) Or, have him give me a black eye. I think the Muppets are awesome. I’d be a hero to my son, who loves the Muppets. The Mike Tyson boxing Muppet!
Q: Are you celebrating Christmas?
A: It’s my daughter’s (Milan’s) birthday. She’s 4, so we’ll celebrate with her. We’re Muslim, so we don’t celebrate Christmas, but she likes Christmas so we’re celebrating. (laughs) We just have gratitude that we’re together and we’ll celebrate with gifts for the kids. We’re celebrating the God of gifts. (laughs)