Mike Tyson is set to make his return to boxing Friday, although don't expect to see any haymakers from the former heavyweight champion.
Instead of trading blows, the 47-year-old legend will be sitting ringside as the promoter and president of Iron Mike Productions, which will hold its first event live on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y.
Billed as "Tyson is Back," the card will be headlined by a title fight between IBF junior lightweight champion Argenis Mendez and contender Arash Usmanee.
In his fighting days, Tyson was notorious for his controversies inside and outside the ring. Now, he hopes to use his new position to postively influence younger fighters and keep them from the pitfalls he experienced.
"I’m not in no position to stop nobody from hurting themselves.” Tyson told Boston.com during a media conference call. "The only thing I can do is tell them what I endured."
The ex-champion hit a low point in his life in 2008-09, dealing with a drug addiction problem as well as the death of his 4-year-old daughter Exodus, who was found unconscous and tangled in a cord by her 7-year-old brother on May 25, 2009. She died a day later in the hospital.
"I was planning on killing myself," Tyson said. "I was OD-ing every night.
"I can’t believe that I was waking up."
After the death of his daughter, Tyson would start on his path toward a brighter future by marrying his longtime girlfriend, Lakiha "Kiki" Spicer, whom he credits for his career turnaround, as she encouraged him to get into promoting and acting.
"It all started from my wife telling that we were gonna do this," he said. "All of a sudden it started happening."
Tyson said he has abandoned his partying ways in order to focus on a multitude of endeavors, including his one-man show, "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth", which director Spike Lee brought to Broadway last year. The critically acclaimed stage act recently concluded a 36-city tour and is set to become an HBO film.
The New York native will also star in the upcoming Fox Sports 1 cable series “Being,” a documentary-style show focusing on Tyson's everyday life.
While the former champ's new promotion is set to debut on ESPN, Tyson expressed interest in cross-promoting and working with other networks in the future, although there is one channel in particular that's first in line.
"We’re in business with Fox Sports now," Tyson said. "They get first dibs.”
For now, Tyson is content just to be near the ring again.
“I’m just happy to be back involved in boxing," he said.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer