Former boxing great Mike Tyson went public during an ESPN press conference Friday, saying he lied about his sobriety and now had been clean and sober for six days as of Aug. 26.
“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, according to a report in the Huffington Post. “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.”
Tyson, who was speaking at the press conference about his intentions to become a promoter, said he had been lying to people, saying he was sober.
“I'm never going to use again,” Tyson added.
Audience members stood and clapped.
Tyson also talked about those he hurt during his life. Concerning his former trainer and long-time friend, Teddy Atlas – a boxer turned analyst who was at the press conference, he said:
“I don’t want to fight you no more, I was wrong. I'm sorry. I was wrong,” Tyson said. “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.”
In 1992, at the height of his boxing career at age 26, Tyson 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.
“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 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. “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,”