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Mike Tyson Packs A Punch At Fan Expo

If you haven’t been following the eclectic career of boxing legend Mike Tyson, he might seem like an odd match for Fan Expo. But as he explained to Sportsnet’s Ben Ennis on Saturday afternoon, boxing plays virtually no role in the former heavyweight champion’s current life. So what has the distinctive, multi-talented celebrity been up to? For starters, Mike Tyson Mysteries is now the number one cartoon series on Adult Swim, an outcome Tyson never would have predicted at the show’s inception. “It came out of left field,” he said. “These two guys came to my house and I was in the shower. When I hear there are some white guys downstairs, I’m thinking they’re detectives or something. They explained that they’re here to do a movie. I said, ‘This is not going to do well.’”

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Tyson was ultimately proven wrong, and he hopes for similar success with Ip Man 3 and a mysterious Steven Seagal vehicle he just finished shooting in China. “I’m an African general and I’m pretty corrupt,” he said of his character. “I’m naïve and I’ve got the English taking advantage of me, and the Chinese taking advantage of me. It’s pretty action-packed. I fight with Steven.” Asked to comment on the current state of Seagal, Tyson didn’t pull any punches. “He’s eaten a few doughnuts lately. He munched down on some pizza.”

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In spite of Tyson’s many professional obligations, he still finds time to have fun with his kids. Asked what this consists of, he explained that they visit the children’s museum or watch Frozen—rather than say the title, he treated the crowd to a few seconds of “Let It Go”—and “some really weird movie named Home.” (Asked about his own tastes, Tyson named an unlikely favourite: the much-maligned 1977 romance The Other Side of Midnight.)

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While these movies have clearly left an indelible impression on Tyson, they can’t compete with good TV. “With the kids, we gotta watch Dino Dan,” said Tyson. “My son, he knows everything. The little dinosaurs and stuff. Dan, he’s in there with Spinosaurus, and he explains to the kids, ‘This is Spinosaurus. He’s been extinct for 95 million years. Tyrannosaurus rex is not as big as Spinosaurus.’ And this and that and that and that. He knows if they’re carnivores or… what’s the other one’s name?” When the audience says “herbivores,” the newly innocent Mike reverts to his mischievous former self, pretending to smoke a joint on stage.

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Boxing isn’t at the forefront of Tyson’s mind these days, but he did offer some intriguing thoughts on the subject. For one, he refused to be labeled the greatest heavyweight champion of all time, insisting that this distinction belongs to Muhammad Ali. He also weighed in on the concussion controversy currently plaguing several professional sports, offering a bizarre interpretation of his own medical history. “Maybe I was born with a concussion and I got better when I started boxing,” he theorized. “I didn’t talk as good when I first started as I did now, so those punches might have helped a little.”

Still battling jet lag—Tyson flew in from China 30 hours before his appearance—he was visibly fatigued, but his outlook for the future seems both upbeat and realistic. “At this particular stage, I’m just very grateful that I’m working,” he said. “I’m able to do some amazing things that I didn’t think I’d be able to do at this stage, and hey, the sky’s the limit. I’m not choosy. Whatever comes, I’ll do my best.”

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