Mike Tyson is saying,

"Hey, well, check this out. I was planning on killing myself. My wife was just my friend at that time and I asked her to spend some time in Vegas. She got pregnant and she had to go to prison in two weeks. When she came back, she started talking about building a company.

"When she's saying this, I'm saying, 'Look at the state we're in.' I didn't want to bust her bubble. She'd probably leave me. And I kept saying, 'Yes baby, yes baby.' I saw Chazz Palminteri (in a one-man show). I said, 'Baby, I think I could do this.' We staged some shows. I took questions. Someone who worked for Spike (Lee) said, 'You've got to see this. Let's take it on Broadway.'

"It all started from my wife telling me, 'We can do this.' My daughter died. I just wanted to live a different life. Living life is very difficult for me. I just wanted to be a savage fighter. I had a paradigm shift in life. In '08, '09, I wanted to kill myself. I was just OD-ing every night. I couldn't believe I was waking up."

As Tyson speaks, I'm typing as fast as I can. It's a national conference call for Tyson to announce he's going into boxing promotion. He's on the line talking fast, talking Brooklyn, talking how I understand talking.

And I'm learning. He wanted to kill himself. His wife, Kiki, went to prison (six months, minimum security). He knows Chazz Palminteri. I don't know Chazz Palminteri. Life is difficult for Tyson. He knows what a paradigm shift is. I'm not sure I do. He couldn't believe he kept waking up.

And I'm thinking this is a man who knows Death. This man has walked with Death, invited Death home for coffee and crumb cake on a Tuesday night and talked about the fruitlessness of life and asked, 'Does God exist and if he exists, does he care?' And Death didn't say a word. And Tyson cried because Death would not take him then and there.

Mike Tyson is saying:

"All of them (boxing promoters), they never told you the truth. And I put my hands on them, which you should never do. I was a spoiled kid. I'll never do that again, striking people. I forgive those guys and, hopefully, they forgive me, the ones who stole my money. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."

And while he's talking, I'm thinking this is the most honest man alive. Not the best. The most honest. He can't help revealing himself, that he hit people out of the ring, that he could be a brute, that he forgives, that he wants to be forgiven, that his life is the history of mankind.

Mike Tyson is saying:

"You'll never hear (fighters) say, 'Mike Tyson stole something from me.' And, hopefully, they'll never end up like me. I'm broke. Where are my friends? They done left me."

And I'm thinking Tyson, who could knock you cross-eyed with his right uppercut, was a mark outside the ring, lost a fortune. And the guy seems happy.


Mike Tyson is saying:

"My life went so fast, as far as my boxing life. I'll never make money. I owe so many bills I'm never going to be wealthy again. All the money I made with Don King, he should have been running out of his way to help me. I never learned nothing from Don King. I learned something. I learned how to manipulate fighters and tell them lies. I attempted suicide and I took cocaine but, like I said, I forgive him and I hope he forgives me. I see Don and I might want to hit him because I loved Don and he took advantage of me. I see life in a different perspective now."

And I'm thinking Don King really screwed Tyson. Snake in the Garden stuff. That Garden. And I'm thinking Tyson punishes himself with his own words, admits guilt, seeks out guilt, publicly washes himself in guilt.

He was that way as a fighter. He took a beating, welcomed a beating, needed a beating. Some guys, one hard punch they go down. Not Tyson. Stood there hands in front of his face, peek-a-boo style — "Please hit me." And he let Buster Douglas/Evander Holyfield/Lennox Lewis pound him, pound him to the canvas. Like a penance. Like whispering a Hail Mary. Like putting on a hairshirt.

Mike Tyson is saying:

"I'm in no position to stop anyone (from) hurting themselves. The greatest psychologist, Sigmund Freud, couldn't help anyone from hurting themselves. The only thing I can tell them is how I endured. I can't make my kids do anything. How am I going to make a grown man do anything? That stuff is bigger than me. It's an inside job. You've got to look within. If you look for happiness outside, you're going to fail."

And I'm thinking how personalities change, how people choose to become different people, and if it's possible and if this change in Tyson is true.

And I'm thinking he was a thug in the years he fought as a pro — rude, nasty. And I'm remembering, before that, he was a delightful teenager. Well, part of him was. The other part, you didn't want to know. Believe me. And I'm thinking Bad Mike seems to have receded to the background, and Good Mike is now foreground. Apparently.

Mike Tyson is saying:

"You can't be a big-time fighter and be a jerk. You have to be a gentleman."

And I'm listening and typing and thinking.