MIKE TYSON: BRUTAL HONESTY PLUS RAW EMOTION EQUALS UNDISPUTED TRUTH
By G. Leon
Former world heavyweight champion "Iron" Mike Tyson made the first of his twelve performances of the accurately dubbed Undisputed Truth at the Longacre Theater inNew York City. Following two standing ovations, the two words that best describe his performance are AWE-SOME!
The show begins with Tyson welcoming the audience to his "living room" and that's exactly what it was. The experience of Undisputed Truth leaves you feeling like you've just kicked it with Mike Tyson for two hours.
The bright lights of Broadway had no impact on Tyson's unique ability to articulate key moments of his checkered past. He laughed (even at himself) during the funny moments and showed genuine emotion while discussing his mother, his aunt, the legendary Cus D'Amato, and deceased daughter Exodus.
Diehard boxing fans who have followed Tyson from his professional debut to his meteoric rise to the heavyweight championship, will not receive any breaking news from the performance. But to hear him tell his story (directed by Spike Lee, written by wife Kiki) in such brutally honest fashion is something one has to see to believe.
Tyson also showed the unique ability to interact with the audience. There were several moments where he was confirming his experiences through hip hop artist 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson). None funnier than 50 Cent confirming what it felt like to hear guns go off in his direction, although the rapper turned boxing promoters confirming the awkwardness of prison shackles finished a close second.
When somebody in the front row chimed in "F**K that b**tch and her little dog too," in reference to Robin Givens who was pictured with a small dog, Tyson looked directly at his admirer and quickly responded, "I work alone brother."
From his impersonations of Cus D'Amato, to his hilarious reenactment of his encounters with Mitch Green, to the factual potshots he took at his ex-wife Robin Givens, the show is an all around must see.
Rave and Rants
Rave: Bryant Gumbel, Kanye West, Jimmy Glenn, Mike Borao, Paul Rosenberg, 50 Cent, (accompanied by) HBO's Ken Hershman and Kerry Davis, round off the notables in attendance.
Rant: Sitting in front of 50 Cent has it's disadvantages. The seat next to boxing's newest promoter was empty because his security was standing guard at the end of aisle. If only he was just standing and not providing those in earshot with his useless commentary throughout the performance. Memo to Mr. Jackson's personal motormouth; You're security, be security. This means eyes open and mouth closed, especially during a Broadway show moron.
Rant: It was good to see Curtis Jackson with the HBO suits in tow. The leverage he now holds over the most powerful network in boxing is nothing to sneeze at. Then again, it's impossible to sneeze when your nose is crammed where the sun doesn't shine. After years of allowing a concert promoter to virtually control their airwaves, bowing down to a music industry powerhouse, turned promoter (based on a genuine friendship with the best boxer in the world) should be a practice they've perfected by now. One can only hope the recent hiring of Ken Hershman, a capable boxing network executive, is enough to change the culture over there.
Disclosure: Boxingtalk publisher Greg Leon currently serves as boxing advisor to Jean Pascal, Zsolt Erdei, Troy Ross, Joachim Alcine, Allan Green, and several other boxers. He has also been good friends with Mike Tyson for nearly a decade.
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