"When I say
I'm the best fighter on the planet, I don't say it because I want to prove
something. No one knows I'm a jerk more than me—I screw up all the time, I'm
somewhat immature. I just say it because I want to get under people's skin. I
want people to boo me when I walk in the ring. The chip on my shoulder is my
security. I'm the bad guy, I want to be the bad guy...but I'm not the bad
gives me doesn't mean anything to me, because I know when I go it will be like
I never existed. I don't want celebrity. It's disrespectful, coming up and
asking me for autographs while I'm eating. What does a 70-year-old white person
have in common with a 21-year-old black man? Nothing. Nobody is going to come
up to me and say they love me now, when he has no reason to love me. Where was
he when I needed someone to love me?
before I was born, black people had no rights. If you were 20, five years
before I was born, your ways were set. It's hard for me to believe that someone
who was 20 in 1961 could change his mind about blacks. It's still inside them.
People don't want to see a 21-year-old black man making 60 million dollars a
year, owning four, five cars. But I don't need them to love me. I don't need
anyone but myself.
"Tell me, how
do people expect me to react: Give the nigger a little money and he's
satisfied? Why is my friend Rory a great guy when he's with me, but not when
he's not? I'm a commodity, I'm supposed to entertain them. You know in the old
days, how slaves sang and danced for their masters? Then they had to go home
and mop the floors. Think about it. I'm supposed to be a role model. What kind
of role model would I be if I forgot where I came from?
"I know that
basically I'm not wanted here. Americans aren't civilized people. I love the
freedom of speech and opportunity here...but sometimes, I'm embarrassed by
America. We should be a great enough country to take care of the weak. If there
wasn't poor, there couldn't be rich. If there wasn't sickness, there wouldn't
be health. Suffering is the only way we don't take life for granted, it makes
us realize how good we have it. I love retarded people, animals, kids—they're
innocent. But people take affection for weakness. When people do that, I get
very upset, I don't know what I might do.
"If a man hit
me outside of the ring, I'd kill him and not think anything of it. I refuse to
take———. I took enough of it when I was a kid. I ran away—I don't ever want to
do that again. If somebody smacks me, it's reason to fight to the death. Then I
will take responsibility for what happens. Be a man.
"I love to
hit people. I love to. Most celebrities are afraid someone's going to attack
them. I want someone to attack me. No weapons. Just me and him. I like to beat
men and beat them bad.
Spinks. None of them have a chance, I'll break them all. When I fight someone,
I want to break his will. I want to take his manhood. I want to rip out his
heart and show it to him. My manager, Jimmy I Jacobs I, tells me not to say
those things. But that's how I feel. People say that's primitive, that I'm an
animal. But then they pay $500 to see it. There's so much hypocrisy in the
world. The world is so———up."
His listener asks
about the letter Tyson's old social worker, Ernestine Coleman, wrote to him in
1986 after his devastating sixth-round knockout of Jesse Ferguson, when he told
the media, "I wanted to drive his nose bone into his brain."
athlete," Coleman wrote. "Not an animal."