By Keith Idec
Piers Morgan made light at the end of a segment on his CNN talk show Thursday night with Mike Tyson about the former undisputed heavyweight champion blowing half-a-billion dollars.
Morgan playfully forced Tyson to pick one of two tickets Morgan held in his hands for Friday night’s Mega Millions lottery drawing, worth an estimated $540 million.
Tyson played along, laughing until he grabbed one of the tickets and the show ended.
Earlier in the interview, a much more serious Tyson solemnly discussed the greatest loss of his life, the May 2009 death of his 4-year-old daughter.
That’s something from which Tyson suspects he’ll never recover.
“Just being in that state of helplessness, there’s nothing you could do,” Tyson, 45, said. “You have no control over the situation. I don’t know. Um, there’s no words to describe it. I’m waiting for it to stop bothering me or irritating me, but some people say it never stops. I talk to people who’s in this unique club of ours that nobody wants to be involved with it, bereaved parents, they said it never stops.”
Exodus Tyson died in a strangely tragic treadmill accident at Tyson’s home nearly three years ago in Phoenix. Tyson recalled with Morgan what it felt like in the hospital in the aftermath of his daughter’s accident and death.
“When I was in that hospital I looked at it from a different way,” Tyson said. “Other people’s children were dying and they came to me and said, ‘We’re sorry. We’re …’ But their kids were dying and were dead already anyway. Whoa, I said … Your guys’ kids are dying, too. I’m sorry to hear that. That’s what made me realize that there’s other people here that’s suffering, too. You’re not the only one. And I just look at life differently after that.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Tyson talked about everything from Trayvon Martin’s death, to his revival as a cultural icon after appearing in “The Hangover,” to his parental skills.
“I’m trying to become more understanding,” Tyson said. “I should be shot for being called a good parent. I’m just a horrible parent, always been a horrible parent. I had horrible parents. And if it wasn’t for my wife, none of this would work out.”
Tyson reiterated throughout the interview that nothing means more to him now than his family, particularly his third wife, Lakiha, and their daughter, Milan, and son, Morocco. When Morgan asked a seemingly more mellow Tyson if he still succumbs to the legendary fits of rage for which he is infamous, Tyson said, “Periodically. Not like I used to, of course. I may feel sorry for myself and say, ‘God, I’m not where my potential could take me.’
“Then I always think that where my potential could take me could separate me from what I really want, and that’s my family unit. So I don’t really strive for some great goals anymore, unless my family is able to come with me.”
Tyson is making the rounds to promote his one-man show, scheduled to run April 13-18 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It’s called, “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth --- Live On Stage.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.