Tyson on his game for 'Undisputed'

Former heavyweight champion delivers during his premiere at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles.

March 09, 2013|By Steve Virgen
(Steve Virgen )

The room became dark at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, where Jay-Z lyrics in the song, "Ni**as In Paris," repeated loudly.

"Jackson, Tyson, Jordan, Game Six," looped on the sound system. And then just, "Tyson. Tyson. Tyson."

The crowd cheered for the former heavyweight champion of the world, who moments later appeared on the stage under the spotlight and talked about his roller-coaster life.

Mike Tyson's, "The Undisputed Truth," premiered in L.A. Friday night. It was in Orange County last week.

Tyson delivers a raw telling of his life, that reveals tragedy and triumph, carelessness and comedy, and much more.

Throughout the show he reminds you that he was loved and vilified. He talks about his time in jail, not too foreign from the experience of being, "born in hell," and growing up on the tough streets of Brownsville, N.Y. He stole as a means for survival just as much as he did for credibility among his peers. The local juvenile detention center became a second home and eventually a training ground for one of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing.


Even after fame and success he became hooked on drugs. He battled obesity, failed marriages and the death of his daughter.

Before walking into the theater he stood outside, talking to reporters, posing in front of cameras. He appeared happy, content even. Tyson said with "Undisputed" he's a showman. But he admits there's more to his story than art and entertainment.

"I'm just here entertaining people," Tyson said. "But when you look at the situation, and you see my life, where I started, where I went, where I descended to again. And you see where I'm going now. And it shows that it doesn't matter about anything. I don't care if you sick, you got cancer, you have AIDS. Whatever. Don't give up. Don't lay down because society said you have no hope. Continue to fight. Continue to have your dreams in your mind and never give up."

Celebrities came to watch Tyson to tell his story, the one directed by Spike Lee who was also in attendance on Friday night. Charlize Theron, David Arquette, Juliette Lewis and Dennis Miller were among them.

Jim Gray, a sports commentator, was also in the audience, as was comedian Jeffrey Ross.

"I was curious," Ross said of why he came to watch Tyson. "I'm fascinated by controversial figures. And when someone like Mike Tyson says I'm going to turn that into art, I got curious. And with Spike Lee's endorsement I knew it would be fascinating theater.

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