OTR Interviews

Mike Tyson: 'I Live a Boring Life I've Learned to Love'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 12, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: He's known worldwide as a heavyweight champion, but "Iron Mike" is definitely a nickname of the past for Mike Tyson. You're about to see a side of Mike Tyson very few have ever seen. Long gone are the days of crisscrossing the globe in private jets and fancy sports cars. Tyson's days are now spent reading Mark Twain and caring for his pigeons. Mike Tyson went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you like pigeons?

MIKE TYSON, FORMER BOXING HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: I don't know. It has been the first animal I was introduced to, the first pet as a kid. That's just been it. It is a real grand subcultural underground, but in Europe it is just out of this world. In South Africa they have the $1 million pigeon race. These guys have grandiose races where they let thousands go and the winner wins a major prize.

VAN SUSTEREN: I read the story obviously or maybe you spoke to me when were you a boy someone came in and killed one of your pigeons in front of you. I think I would have collected pigeons after that as well.

TYSON: I don't know. It is like racing horses. Once it is in your blood. It is difficult to explain to a person that's a neophyte. It something you want to do. You just -- sometime my wife will say -- we weren't married she comes to the pigeon coop and watch me hang out there for hours, saying what are you looking for? And you are what watching them in action, watching characteristics, watching everything. There's a lot going on in their world.

VAN SUSTEREN: As I listen to you talk it reminds me of times we've spoken even about boxing and how you used to watch boxing films and you would spend hours studying how people box.

TYSON: I have an extremist personality. If I get involved with something I want to know the whole origin of it. How did they come into existence? That's how I see things.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm curious to what extent your studying the boxing makes you such a great boxer?

TYSON: I don't know. I don't know why I'm that way. If I'm involved with something, it is really -- I think I'm hardcore. In my deep core of myself, I'm hardcore when I'm involved with a project or if I want to accomplish something.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think you are a student. The things that I've watched over the years, you study it, you throw yourself into it, whether you're studying the pigeons or the boxing films, when you are studying books. I know you know a lot about history. I know you read a lot.

TYSON: Yes, from reading a lot and doing studying and history I realize the own thing really worthy of studying is the mind. Nothing else stands a chance. Nothing really matters but why do we feel the way we do? What originated that feeling? Who the first person that brought that feeling to existence? Why do we feel this way? That's more interesting than studying anything on the planet.

VAN SUSTEREN: What are you reading now?

TYSON: Mark Twain, interesting book about a slave woman, I believe that has a baby, most likely probably from the master. She exchanges it with the master's baby. This woman who is born at the apex of the new world, white Christian baby, has to know what it is like to live as -- I didn't know, what you call it, a mulatto slave. I thought that was -- I was just starting it, too. I think that is going to be interesting.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are so different in person than watching new the ring.

TYSON: I don't know. I'm a different person in the ring than I am in person. It has to be. To accomplish the goals that Cus D'Amato put inside me I have to view myself as greater than I actually am.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are so disciplined. Why are you so disciplined. I might like to sit around all day?

TYSON: I don't know. With all due respect, if I'm not disciplined I won't survive. I won't have -- I will have contempt for people. I won't be respectful to anybody. Discipline is -- this is my definition of discipline is doing what you hate to do, but do it like you love it. I just balance it out in case I have confrontations. I may have ill feelings about somebody. I have to love them and be very kind. That's my definition of discipline.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who is your best friend?

TYSON: No doubt about it, my wife.

VAN SUSTEREN: Besides your wife, any guys?

TYSON: I don't want to have friends closer to me than my wife. I dedicated by life to her and hopefully she will do the same. Our goal is to take care of our children. We have eight children altogether. Our job is to make sure we take care of them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Famous people are almost like prisoners.

TYSON: We are. I was talking about that with my wife, and I spoke to somebody else about that. I live a boring life, and that's just what it is. What am I going to do out there? Tell me what I'm going to do out there? Me. Whatever you know about me, what am I going to do out there besides get a job. I can never go to a club and hang out. I can never do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: You're in "The Hangover 2"?


VAN SUSTEREN: When is it out?

TYSON: Maybe June or May.

VAN SUSTEREN: How big a part do you have?

TYSON: Just the right sized part.

VAN SUSTEREN: How many lines?

TYSON: I don't know. Not many, but ones you won't forget.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you different now than you were 15 years ago?

TYSON: Yes and no.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where is the yes and where is the no?

TYSON: I'm a responsible guy now. I'm not, I don't know, I'm not like emotionally driven now. I'm not sexually-driven. I know that stuff, impulses and stuff, none of that stuff move my car anymore. I work on improving myself now, my discipline.

Say I may get a jealous feeling. Why am I feeling that way? How would that feeling come about? What reason would the jealousy come from? Why is it called green? Is green the sign of what immaturity? Green is novice. Maybe I'm immature that's why I'm jealous sometime. Maybe that comes together. That's why I study it and look at the science of it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have a hot temper?

TYSON: It can be.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you have a temper, I don't want to be in your way.

TYSON: That don't move my boat no more. It is about winning. I want to win in a good healthy way. Everybody has a temper. I have a great deal of frustration, rage, violence. Everybody has that. I do other things. It comes out in other ways, loving my children. In comes out in case my wife makes a mistake and I want to say what are you doing? I might want to kiss and rub her and hug her. It works in different ways now.


VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, Mike Tyson says he has a long way to go, but he has already achieved more than most of us can imagine. What is he talking about? And will Tyson make a return to the boxing ring? You hear much more from the boxing champ, next.



VAN SUSTEREN: Here's more with our interview with boxing champ Mike Tyson.


TYSON: These are my personal birds.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you do with them, just look at them?

TYSON: There comes a time I'm going to let them out and fly. I'm going to put in another three weeks, I let them out.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do they come back?

TYSON: All the time.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are there different kinds?

TYSON: There are so many different kinds.

VAN SUSTEREN: How long have you been a vegan?

TYSON: Two years.

VAN SUSTEREN: Notice any difference?

TYSON: Every now and then, sometimes I forget to eat sometime. Every now and then I get aches but I feel awesome.

VAN SUSTEREN: People say they don't have arthritis problems many

TYSON: I feel awesome.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mentally feeling different as vegan?

TYSON: Incredible. I wish I was born this way. When you find out about the processed stuff you have been eating. I wonder why I was crazy all those years.


TYSON: All that garbage I was eating running around, the drugs didn't help either.


VAN SUSTEREN: The drugs didn't help either. Who does the vegan cooking?

TYSON: My wife does everything.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did she get you to be a vegan or did you get her?

TYSON: My wife will never be a vegan. She is like, this week we are going to be a vegetarian guys. This month we're going to be a vegan. She wants to lose weight she is a vegan that month, a vegetarian. She likes to eat fish and red meat. She is the one that inspired know become a very began. She was a vegan that month.

VAN SUSTEREN: And it stuck with you.

TYSON: I stayed with it.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about boxing, any chance we'll see you?

TYSON: Me fight somebody? Somebody would kill me. I don't have that attitude no more. I don't want to stare a guy down and talk about killing his kids and his mother.

VAN SUSTEREN: It is over.


VAN SUSTEREN: Do you miss it?

TYSON: Periodically, not consistently. Every now and then I want to stroke my ego. I do it by myself.

VAN SUSTEREN: You watch old videos of yourself boxing?



TYSON: No. Every now and then I watch myself training when I was young. I said I should have fought like I sparred. I was a better fighter in the gym than in the ring. I wish I fought like that because I looked better.

VAN SUSTEREN: No regrets, though?

TYSON: No, not about that. I want to be bitter with somebody, but that's not who I am. I think I should be, but it is not who I am. I want to be bitter. But it is not who I am.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why were you so good at boxing?

TYSON: I had a great teacher.

VAN SUSTEREN: Back to Cus.

TYSON: That's where it starts and that's where going to end. If I become 70-years-old, I had the greatest teacher. He was one of great trainer of all time. He's always been a great trainer. He needed the right fighter to teach what he to teach. That's what he needed.

VAN SUSTEREN: I've seen pictures of you as a pallbearer at his funeral. It is still rough, 25 years later?

TYSON: It is what it is, Greta. Maybe it wasn't -- I don't get ashamed no more. You think I can get embarrassed if I walk the streets butt naked?

VAN SUSTEREN: Why would you be embarrassed? Look, I recognize there have been problems in your life, those that you created yourself. But you've had enormous success.

TYSON: I think I'm crazy because I feel bad because sometimes I don't have shame. I believe I should have shame, but I don't have shame.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you have pride.

TYSON: I don't have no pride either.

VAN SUSTEREN: The number of times I've interviewed, I never think that Mike Tyson thinks, like, I really did it. I was great. I was a great boxer. I was at the top and I'm proud of myself. I never get that.

TYSON: No. My wife loves me because I'm not going to do everything wrong. I want those accolades now.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are getting those.

TYSON: I got a long way to go. I got to work on my kids some more. I want to cultivate. This is what I like now. All my family is becoming a unit again. All the kids like each other they have a relationship. We talk to each other on the phone, and that's what I like. That's what motivates me.