Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson may be best known for his viciousness in the ring and the huge tribal tattoo on his face, but he apparently has a sensitive side. Not only has he contributed his poetry for a special edition of O Magazine, out on stands March 15; he’s also in a new reality show, “Taking on Tyson.”
Tyson, 44, will showcase the heretofore unknown world of pigeon racing for the show, which debuts on Sunday, March 6 at 10 p.m ET on Animal Planet.
Tyson has always been known as a pigeon enthusiast, a hobby he’s talked about many times on his way up in the boxing world. As a young man in Brooklyn, he became fascinated by the city birds that many consider a nuisance.
“The first thing I ever loved in my life was a pigeon. I don’t know why. … I feel ridiculous trying to explain it,” Tyson told Discovery Channel, Animal Planet’s parent network. “Pigeons are a part of my life. It’s a constant with my sanity in a weird way; this is just what I do. If I’m lucky enough to die an old man, I’m going to have birds.”
Now living in Las Vegas with his wife, their two children and his pet pigeons, Tyson has no desire to return to live in Brooklyn, despite its now-luxury living spaces. But for the show, he travels back to his old hometown with pigeon trainer Vinnie Torre, his manager Mario Costa and the Roman Brothers, the pigeon’s caretakers.
“This is my opinion, but I love these birds,” Tyson told Yahoo! Eurosports. “They’re fascinating creatures, and it gives me a good feeling, a sense of peace, just to be around them every day. It’s not for everybody, but this is my life, and this is what I love to do. I could be happy being around them and watching them for the rest of my life.”