ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOX) – The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world skipped back and forth on the Peabody Opera House stage Friday night to the delight of those in attendance as he shared the extreme highs and lows of the one-time Baddest Man on the Planet.
Under the same roof he won the 1984 Golden Gloves Championship as an emerging boxer, Mike Tyson admitted he was “messed up from the beginning” of his life, as he watched video projected behind him on stage of Brooklyn’s Brownsville Projects where he grew up.
The Spike Lee directed one-man Broadway show, “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” is part of a national theater tour and featured Tyson dressed in all white jumping, kicking, and dancing across the stage and interacting with the crowd. A slide show of images projected on a large screen behind him aided his story telling and helped him focus during a too scripted journey.
Tyson joked about needing a speech coach to prepare for his performance so he could use words like ‘epiphany’ and ‘abstinence’ as he shared an emotional view into his life – from describing his robbing sprees as a misguided youth who was arrested 30 times before he was 12 years-old to verbally disparaging his nemeses, including ex-wife Robin Givens and former promoter Don King.
He even threw some punches on stage while recalling his workouts with the late Cus D’Amato, joked about Evander Holyfield’s ear tasting nasty, and said he was tired of people asking him why he got a “tramp stamp” on his face.
“It’s my face. I’ll do what I want to do,” Tyson said.
While the show certainly isn’t meant for all audiences with vulgar language and wide-ranging subject matters, his fans applauded throughout as Tyson wasn’t afraid to address everything from his rape conviction, to his young daughter’s death, to his cocaine addiction.
It was an interesting attempt to explain a troubled life, but the show lacked a clear path on stage and disappointingly avoided most of his boxing career. At times the stories became discombobulated by Tyson jumping to other memories he couldn’t wait to share, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind as he mixed in self-deprecating humor even saying at one point that he resembled “Madea’s fat grandma.”
By the end of the night Tyson claimed he is a changed man, and while he admitted that relapses and recovery go hand in hand, he is encouraged by his family life and his personal triumph over his demons of drugs and alcohol by remaining clean and sober for 4 years.