Mike Tyson has had many highs and lows during the course of his life. While many people would see serving time in jail as one of life’s lowest points, the boxer has said that those years were his finest.
The professional boxer said during his appearance on The Pivot Podcast that he ultimately achieved inner peace while serving his sentence.
He said: “I’m just very grateful – I’m a cool guy, I’m a good person, I treated everybody nice. I had the best three years of my life in prison.”
The heavyweight champion was then asked whether he missed his extravagant way of life.
“I had peace though. That don’t mean nothing when you don’t have peace. Just sit there within your balance. You need your sanity to dictate any part of life.”
Tyson was convicted in 1992. He received a sentence of six years in the Plainfield Correctional Facility and four years of probation. His sentence was shortened to three years, and he was released in 1995.
Even while he was imprisoned, Tyson maintained a strict exercise regimen to be ready for his eventual return to the ring. In his cell, he allegedly ran “eight or nine miles” and jumped up and down nonstop, especially at night.
He added: “My cell has a concrete floor, right? I indented it with my feet into the concrete floor. I was 285 lbs (129 kg). I came out 215 lbs (97 kg).”
But it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing:
“I got an extra year. When I first came there, I was mad at everybody, I didn’t know they all wanted to show me love, so I’m fighting the guards and stuff but then the guards were telling me how to move.”
“So, now I’m the man, I am getting food, got women, I am the man in prison. But then the guard that was working for me goes like, ‘Listen champ, remember when you first came here?’”
“You had those problems, we had to give you a year. I said ‘oh f**kng s**t how could they do this s**t?’ I gave them my money and they gave me another year?’ So I had to go on programmes that I could never pass, spelling and stuff.”
Tyson’s career didn’t suffer, however. After being freed, he went on to win four bouts and even recapture the heavyweight title. But he officially retired in 2005.
He previously told The Guardian: “I’d liked to have continued, but I saw that I was getting beat on. I just don’t have this in my heart anymore. I’m not going to disrespect the sport by losing to this caliber of fighter. This is my ending.”