- Last Updated: 2:34 PM, June 30, 2012
- Posted: 1:01 AM, June 30, 2012
When Mike Tyson makes his debut on Broadway next month in his one-man show “Undisputed Truth,” don’t be surprised if Evander Holyfield is sitting in the front row. Holyfield was in Las Vegas when Tyson premiered the autobiographical show during a brief run at the MGM Grand in April, and was excited to hear Tyson is taking the show to Broadway.
“It’s a great thing,” Holyfield told The Post recently. “When people can make fun of themselves that means they’re over it. If you’ve had issues in your life and [you’re] trying to hide them, it scares you because you don’t want anybody to know and you act like you haven’t made mistakes.
“But I tell people all the time, Mike probably can change more people than anybody because people will look at Mike and say, ‘If Mike can change, I can change.’ Now he’s letting it all go.”
This week brought the 15th anniversary of the infamous “Bite Fight” when Tyson was disqualified by referee Mills Lane for twice biting Holyfield on the ears in the third round of their heavyweight championship rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Back then Tyson was cast as an out-of-control cannibal in the midst of a mental meltdown. But today he has transformed his image to a more likable personality who has cleaned up his life thanks to his wife, Kiki, who helped write and serves as executive producer of Tyson’s one-man show, which officially opens July 31 at the Longacre Theater.
Holyfield applauds the new Tyson.
“Everybody was always telling him all you need is to be tough,” Holyfield said. “Then everybody liked him for how tough he was, but nobody liked him for the person he was. All of sudden he was trying to be Iron Mike the whole time instead of just being Iron Mike when he was in the ring and a different person when you’re out of the ring. If you don’t know how to switch those things, you’re going to burn out. That’s pretty much what it was. Even when he was trying to be a better person, they were always poking a stick at him like he was a lion. It’s like I told him, ‘My mama said don’t pretend to be somebody you don’t ever want to be because they’re going to hold you to that.’ ”
Tyson retired from boxing in 2005, and was voted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame last year. But Holyfield, 49, hasn’t given up on regaining the undisputed heavyweight championship. If Holyfield doesn’t get a fight with the winner of a postponed summer fight between WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin and Hasim Rahman or with either champions Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko this year, he said he likely will retire.
“If they don’t fight me this year, I’m going to retire,” Holyfield said. “If it’s not a championship fight, what’s the point?The point of the matter is it’s not so much about the money. If it’s not a fight for a championship, there’s no sense of me fighting. What am I trying to prove to somebody out there, that I can fight? I know I can. But if there’s no gold out there, you’re putting yourself in a position to be complacent.”
Holyfield last fought on May 7, 2011, when he stopped Brian Nielsen in the 10th round of a non-title fight in Denmark.
Showtime will feature a triple-header tonight, headlined by Cornelius Bundrage (31-4, 18 KOs) defending his IBF junior middleweight title against former welterweight champion Cory Spinks (39-6, 11 KOs). In other bouts, Gary Russell Jr. (19-0, 11 KOs) faces Christopher Perez (23-2, 14 KOs), and Erislandy Lara (16-1-1, 11 KOs) against Freddy Hernandez (30-2, 20 KO’s).Follow @NYPostsports