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The Type-Casting of Mike Tyson

Former undisputed champ Iron Mike Tyson

Still dealing with his inner demons, former championship boxer delivers the goods in a new bare-knuckle documentary.

"Darkness is very alluring," Tyson says in his soft, incongruously high-pitched voice.

Ex-boxing champion, "Iron" Mike Tyson isn't the fighter he once was, nor is he the same person...formally a decorated undisputed heavy-weight "Belt" winner, a media favorite and a respected hero to many fight fans, something changed within the public's opinion about Tyson at a pivital time in his personal journey.

Tyson getting ready for lunch

Mike Tyson, a man who can still envoke memories of a fierce gladiator with an iron plated physique wielding dynamic fists of fury, a fighter who's opponents would rarely escape his onslaught long enough to survive past the first few seconds of the opening round of their encounters, has since become a type-casted persona of public disgust to many.

A tarnished "Iron" Mike has claimed that his demeanor changed for the worse after his legendary trainer and mentor, Cus D'Amato, became ill and passed away. "I have such a different perspective of boxing from Cus D'Amato," Tyson's said, "a real dark perspective." Tyson's made it perfectly clear of his disdain for merciless attitude and relentless approach of D'Amato's dehumanizing training methods.

Not the ear Mike

Some critics say, in the film's archival footage, the white-haired D'Amato is depicted as almost more of a negative influence on a young Mike. However, it has been perceived by the public, at least in the early part of his boxing career, Tyson's been close to his trainer.

Since his death, Mike's been troubled with a variety of drug and physical abuse charges, been convicted of crimes, had a messy divorce, caused himself to become publically disgraced and humiliated, while his image lost credibility.

Past fashion stripes

In a long series of extended interview sessions with Tyson, which has lasted nearly twenty-five years, film-maker James Toback has pieced together an intriguing and sometimes unsettling documentary portrait that should easily interest and entertain diehard fans of Mike Tyson.

The film, aptly named, 'TYSON' depicts the former world heavyweight champion as having always been his own worst adversary, his inner demons relentlessly haunting him. Digging into the labyrinths of his mind, Toback discovered Tyson has deep-rooted feelings, which stem back to his violent and humiliating childhood of being called a 'fat kid' who wanted to become a hustler, being exposed to street-gangs and drugs, his abuse towards himself and others while growing up in a rough part of New York.

The feature also follows Tyson, barely out of his teens, through his meteoric rise to the pinacle of boxing's ultimate heights to his successful reign as heavy-weight champion of the world, his great loss to Buster Douglas, down to his appalling meltdown in the media that resulted in a highly publicized divorce from actress Robin Givens, a rape conviction and resulting prison term, takes a look at the terribly embarrassing ear-biting incident he committed in front of millions of viewers, against Evander Holyfield, inside the ring.

These episodes, including failed attempts at a half-hearted boxing comeback, culminated in a unsastified induced retirement.

Tyson's turbulent career has set an uneven stage for this rocky horror show where audiences may discover the real man, now well in to his 40's, who has continued to struggle with his many self-recriminations and inner anger, his personal demons; drug abuse, sexual addiction, violent public and private outbursts.

"I know it kinda sounds crazy, but the dark world is just fascinating. We call it, where I come from, we call it dancing with the devil," claims Tyson.

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