Don King, Chechnya And Cocaine, The Craziest Tyson Tales From Iron Mike Himself

It is 34 years since he became the world's youngest heavyweight champ
16:00, 22 Nov 2020

Fifteen years on from retirement, Mike Tyson goes to war once again next Saturday against a formidable adversary in the form Roy Jones Jr.

The 54 year old has had one hell of a life since 22 November 1986 when he became the youngest-ever world heavyweight champion, stopping Trevor Berbick in the second round. And while most ageing hell raisers tend to do their best to forget about their past misdemeanours, a few years ago Mike sat down and wrote Undisputed Truth. To this day it’s one hell of a read, more a story of addiction, violence and redemption than any normal boxing autobiography. If you haven’t read it, do so. If you have read it, read it again. In the meantime, here are a few of our favourite moments from the book. Get ready.


The time he fought Don King while holding a brick of cocaine

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Don King picks up Mike at the airport in Florida in his Rolls Royce. He and a small convoy head to Miami on the I-95 when Mike, high on drugs, suddenly attacks King, who is driving at the time. “I kicked him in the fucking head. Boom! Don’t turn your back on a jealous cokehead.”

King stops, Mike gets out, King drives off, and then Isadore Bolton, King’s chauffeur who is driving the car behind, pulls over to see what’s going on. Big mistake.

“He pulled up alongside me and rolled his window down and told me to get in his car ‘Fuck you motherfucker,’ I screamed. Isadore got out…and I was right on him. I punched him in the face twice, shattering his left orbital bone. I was about to break the window when he managed to drive away. 

“Then the cops came. They were talking to us and I had the half brick of coke and Luiz (a friend who had joined the chaos) was holding the duffel bag with half a pound of weed. These cops were so excited to see me that they didn’t even ask what the four of us were doing on the side of the highway. They offered to drive us to our destination and we piled into one of their cars and they took us to South Beach.”


The time he went to Chechnya

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Ramzan Kadyrov is the head of the Chechen Republic. In 2005, while on a visit to Russia, Mike finds himself having dinner with the man himself. A big boxing fan, Kadyrov asks Tyson to visit Chechnya with him. Even Mike Tyson knows this is a bad idea. 

“The first thing Americans were told when they entered Russia was ‘DO NOT GO TO CHECHNYA’.” Of course, as this is a Mike Tyson story, you know what happens next. “The third morning I was staying at the hotel, Marilyn came to get me and I wasn’t there. Later that night one of her friends called her. ‘I just saw Mike on TV. He’s in Chechnya.’”


The time he was so wasted he didn’t know he had signed up for a Hollywood blockbuster


In 2009 Mike had a cameo role in The Hangover where he famously punches Zach Galifianakis out cold. It was a role so popular they had him back for the next film, but to this day Mike has no recollection of agreeing to do the movie. 

“I was in one of my clubs in Vegas when all of a sudden that comic actor Zach Galifianakis came over to me. ‘Hey. We’re shooting a movie with you in two weeks,’ he said. ‘Fuck you are. For real?’

"Zach laughed. He must have thought I was putting him on but it was news to me. I didn’t know anything about any movie. I was high on coke the entire time we shot The Hangover.” 

The time he forgot where he left a million dollars in a duffel bag 

Stories of Tyson losing his fortune are legendary, but it’s the little moments that are the best, like the time he left a million dollars in a Louis Vuitton duffel bag in the guest room at a friend’s house. It had been there a week. “I had a rough night in the city and forgotten where I left it.” 

When his friend who owned the house found it, he said to his assistant, “Man, Mike forgot his bag. I’m going to call him right now and ask him to loan me two hundred thousand dollars.”

Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, My Autobiography is available here

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