TCA Press Tour 2011: Mike Tyson -- champion charmer
He's known as one of the most fearsome champions in boxing history. His life outside the ring was filled with tragedy, brutality and endless trouble.
But when former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson appeared before TV reporters, he could not have been more charming and charismatic.
"Don't every one rush in all at once," Tyson said with a huge smile when the first question from a reporter was a little slow in coming. "Don't be afraid to talk to me."
Tyson was promoting "Taking On Tyson," a new Animal Planet series that will feature him in his new venture -- competitive pigeon racing. His love of pigeons was a key part of his childhood before he started his boxing career, and he is clearly excited over revisiting that part of his life.
"How you doing, my friend," he greeted one questioner. "I see you, my friend," he said to another.
Of his obsession with pigeons, Tyson said he is impressed with their loyalty. "I love being around them. No one can understand it."
When one reporter approached him about Michael Vick and his former dogfighting days, Tyson deflected the question: "He did his time and made an amazing comeback. My opinion don't mean nothing. I'm here to talk about pigeons."
He also displayed a disarming sense of humor. One reporter said she wished Tyson would come clear out the pigeons littering her balcony in Queens.
Proclaimed Tyson: "We don't want those birds!"
-- Greg Braxton
Photo: Mike Tyson in "Taking on Tyson." Credit: Animal Planet