For the second time this year, Mike Tyson has allowed the boxing world an inner look behind the mask of arrogance and invulnerability he has long worn, a glimpse at his true mind and soul. And like the first time, it wasn't pretty.
The first time was in June when Tyson lost his mind, his composure, his chance of regaining the heavyweight title and whatever remaining credibility he had in the ring by biting off the top of Evander Holyfield's right ear in a fit of rage during the third round of their title match.
That was a scary sight.
The second time was last Monday in an interview televised nationally by ABC.
That was a sad sight.
Tyson admitted that, upon viewing a tape of the fight, he himself was shocked by his own behavior.
"I just forgot he was a human being," Tyson said of Holyfield. "I just snapped. I was no longer playing under the rules."
He went on to admit that the bully image he presents to the world is merely a front for his own insecurities.
"I truly think everyone hates me," he said.
Tyson also said he doesn't think the Nevada State Athletic Commission will reinstate him next summer when he is eligible to apply to have his suspension lifted.
Many labeled Tyson's display of self-pity a ploy, the beginning of a public campaign to get the commission to let him back into the ring.
Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada commission, says there is no basis for Tyson's contention that a decision on his fate has already been made.
"I don't know why he would think that way," Ratner said. "That is way in the future. It's not even a topic for discussion at this point."
Except in Tyson's discussions.
Monday's interview was neither a ploy nor a devious method for gaining sympathy. It was a cry for help.
It was a man admitting that, despite possessing bank accounts loaded with millions, despite owning several homes fit for a king, despite all the punching power and boxing talent and world attention, he is unable to fit into society, unable to function as a regular human being. With all he possesses, happiness--the most prized possession of all--is beyond his grasp.
He's not going to get much sympathy. He hurt too many people when he was on top, and we're talking about people outside the ring. So there aren't going to be many outstretched hands now that he is on the bottom.
Although he has served his time in prison, he is still a convicted rapist. Many people won't forget that, and that is their right.
But now that he has a wife and loving kids, he has the foundation to start living a normal life if he takes advantage of it along with seeking professional help.
He probably will get his right to fight back and probably will make millions more. And the hypocrites who castigated him for his despicable actions in the ring against Holyfield will be the first in line to buy tickets to Tyson's next fight.
He doesn't need that kind of support any more than he needs the tears of those who watched him being interviewed Monday.
What he really needs can be found only within himself. He needs to find inner peace.
Tyson was serious when he said he thinks everybody hates him. But nobody hates him more than he hates himself.
You don't have to love him to hope that he finds that peace.
Even Mike Tyson deserves that much.
A GOAL OF HIS OWN
Michael Moorer, the International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion, has accused Holyfield, the World Boxing Assn. titleholder, of looking past Moorer and tonight's unification battle between the two at Las Vegas' Thomas & Mack Center toward a possible match against World Boxing Council champion Lennox Lewis.
Two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman, scheduled to fight Shannon Briggs in Atlantic City, N.J., on Nov. 22, has now given Moorer something to look at. Foreman says that if Moorer wins tonight, he'd like to face him in January.
Don't plan on it. Revenge would be sweet for Moorer, whose only loss was to Foreman in 1994.
But big bucks and universal recognition would be sweeter. If Moorer wins, he figures to go after Lewis himself to try to win the undisputed heavyweight title.
THEY WILL ALSO COME TO FIGHT
Three other title matches are scheduled for tonight before the main event between Holyfield and Moorer.
Nate Miller (30-4, 26 knockouts) will defend his WBA cruiserweight championship against Fabrice Tiozzo (36-1, 23 knockouts). WBA featherweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez (49-7-3, 37 knockouts) will face challenger Genario Rios (11-2, five knockouts). And in an IBF cruiserweight title bout, champion Uriah Grant (26-12, 24 knockouts) will take on Imamu Mayfield (16-1, 13 knockouts).