Former boxing great Mike Tyson opened up to the press about his drug and alcohol addiction
, saying he had previously lied about having been sober and, while holding back to tears, proudly said he had been able to stay dry and drug free for the past six days.
Tyson's revelation came during an ESPN press conference about his debut as a promoter last week in Verona, N.Y., according to the Huffington Post
"You know I want to change my life I want to live a different life, I want to live my sober life," Tyson, 47, told reporters. "I don't want to die. I'm on the verge of dying because I'm a vicious alcoholic. . . I haven’t [drank] or took drugs in six days and for me that's a miracle."
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"I've been lying to everybody else who thinks I was sober, but I'm not, this is my sixth day. I'm never going to use again," Tyson added, prompting members of the audience to rise from their seats and begin clapping.
Tyson also talked about those he hurt during his life, responding to a reporter's inquiry on whether the former champ would reconnect with his former trainer and long-time friend, Teddy Atlas – a boxer turned analyst who was also there that night.
"I don’t want to fight you know more, I was wrong. I'm sorry. I was wrong," Tyson said as if Teddy was among the press he was addressing. "I had to make my mends, if he accepted them or not, at least I can die and go to my grave and say that I made my mends with everyone that I hurt."
"It's all about love and forgiveness," Tyson added. "And in order for those guys to forgive me. . . I want people to forgive the things that I did. . . I'm a bad guy sometimes and I did a lot of bad things and I want to be forgiven and so in order for me to be forgiven I hope they can forgive me."
Tyson, who in 1992, at the peak of his career at 26 years of age, was convicted of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington, then-Miss Black Rhode Island. As a result of the conviction, Tyson served six years in prison followed by four years on probation. He has consistently denied he ever raped Washington, saying she went to his room willingly and wanted to have sex with him.
Despite making a return to boxing following his stint in the penitentiary, Tyson twice lost to then champ, Evander Holyfield. The first of the two losses to Holyfield came via a TKO, while in the second fight he was disqualified after biting off part of Holyfield’s ear.
Tyson went on to fight a series of other bouts, including one for the heavyweight championship in 2002 against then champion, British boxer Lennox Lewis. Tyson lost to Lewis in an eighth round knockout.
Tyson went on to address some of the demons that have haunted him throughout his career during the Friday conference.
"I'm negative, I'm dark, and I wanna do bad stuff," Tyson said.
Pointing to an area of his brain the former Champ added, "Thats dangerous to hang out in this neighborhood alone, up here, right, it wants to kill everything, it wants to kill me too."
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"So I went to my AA meeting. . . [And] I explained to my fellow alcoholics and junkies that I was going to deal with this certain situation here and explain the feelings that I evoke from it," Tyson said. "And I made the right decision. . . I made myself proud of me. I hate myself, I've been trying to kill myself, I hate myself a lot, but I made myself proud of myself and I don’t do that much."
In recent years, the Brooklyn-born Tyson has received somewhat of a second chance via acting, having appeared in several TV series' as well as major motion pictures such as the comedies "The Hangover," and "The Hangover Part II."
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