Details: You once said, "I don't aim for a guy's head. I aim to put it through his head." Bruce Lee also taught his students: Aim at a target just behind their head.
Mike Tyson: Yeah, and I would never disrespect Bruce, but it wasn't his fighting that really got to me. There was too much showmanship there, even in his real fights. It's his philosophy—the best ever, off the hook: "You must be like water. The most insignificant substance but the strongest and most destructive force on the planet." You have to be both weak and strong. Strong alone is not enough. You cannot reign if you have not served. If you have not served a king, how can you ever know what it's like to demand that kind of obeying? That's water-deep. That's the ocean. Everything he did was extreme. He wasn't no nice guy, and people don't like extremists. But he was a perfectionist.
Details: And so are you.
Mike Tyson: I'm addicted to perfection. Problem with my life is I was always also addicted to chaos. Perfect chaos.
Details: What's the story behind your Mao tattoo?
Mike Tyson: I read his book when I was in prison, man. Down in the hole. They thought they were punishing me in that little room—no toilet, no bed. I got myself put down there so I could read Chairman Mao and not have to deal with all that prison bullshit. The thing that stuck from his Quotations book: "No investigation, no right to speak." If you aren't going to look deep, just shut up.
Details: And the one of Che Guevara?
Mike Tyson: You know, physically, he was just a pussy. He walked into this room, people would think he's a wimp. He can't kick no one's ass. But his intensity, his tenacity. Wow, it's like: What kind of guy is this? He was a doctor, man. He was a wimp. And then he's a killer? A revolutionary. He got turned out! But they got him. They got him good. And when that guy came to shoot him? The guy respected him, and he hesitated. Che said, "You gonna shoot me? C'mon, shoot me, you fucking pussy."
Details: How long were you out of prison before you actually felt free?
Mike Tyson: Never. Not till now, really. This is the freest I ever felt in my life. And I'm still not free. But it's an awesome feeling. I got no money. I'm not a glamour guy anymore. I got friends who've got money, so it looks like I've got money, but I don't. All the money I had, forget it. I never had anything, never had a stitch on me that felt like freedom. But to have somebody by your side, win, lose, or draw. My wife's lived with me in places I wouldn't take a shit in. I wouldn't be a prostitute in some of the places my wife and I have slept.
Details: It goes back to the extremes, doesn't it? You wake up every day either God or a guttersnipe.
Mike Tyson: [Bursts out laughing] That's me. God or guttersnipe.
Details: Is that how you'll go to the grave?
Mike Tyson: Sure hope not. I want to go to my grave with respect.
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