Mike Tyson Bares His Past in "The Undisputed Truth"

One-man show runs through Sunday at the Orpheum

By Joe Rosato Jr.
|  Friday, Mar 1, 2013  |  Updated 6:21 AM PDT
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Joe Rosato Jr. goes toe to toe with former boxing champ on his weekend gig at the Orpheum.

Joe Rosato Jr. goes toe to toe with former boxing champ on his weekend gig at the Orpheum.

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Mike Tyson On His One-Man Show

Mike Tyson discusses bringing his one-man show, "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth," to Broadway. What part did director Spike Lee and actor Chaz Palminteri play in the process? Also, Mike discusses going to prison and how he lost his boxing fortune. Catch "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" from March 8 through 10 at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles.
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Mike Tyson strolled into the empty VIP room of San Francisco's Orpheum Theater on Thursday for a string of publicity interviews on the eve of his one-man show ,The Undisputed Truth.

Among the journalists and handlers scattered in the room, was a disheveled man who wandered off the street, wearing a hoodie and aiming a smart phone in the champ's direction.

As the theater staff hustled to remove the uninvited guest, Tyson huddled in close with the man, happily posing for pictures with the man's fist pressed against his tattooed cheek.

This was the kinder, gentler version of Tyson - the boxer who once bit the ear off Evander Holyfield, the convicted rapist who spent three years in prison - the brute who once pummeled paparazzi.

This was Mike Tyson - thespian.

"I don't look at myself as Mike Tyson when I'm on the stage," said Tyson dressed in a black sports jacket, jeans and blindingly white tennis shoes.

"I look at myself as a starving actor trying to get a break." This down-and-out actor certainly isn't starving for material for his one-man show - which sounds like a conversation been overheard in a confession booth.

As he prowls the stage over two hours, Tyson squares up with the demons of his past.

"I just want to be at peace with myself," Tyson said. "And you just have to embrace who you are. The good, bad, whatever situation you have to embrace who you are."

Tyson comes off like the eternal seeker - a man who emerged from the fog of youth and is now paying down his bad karma by talking endlessly about the error of his ways.

His monologue addresses all the heavyweight topics of his life; prison time, the millions of dollars he blew, infidelities, failed marriages, drugs and the mistreatment of various folks.

"It all happened for a reason and now I'm here," said Tyson. "I don't have all the money I once had, but I couldn't get anything done when I did have the money."

As he scanned the room of Bay Area journalists, Tyson revealed he'd never been to San Francisco before, and was struck by its laid-back, liberal nature.

He said the liberal members of his family would appreciate the vibe, while the younger version of Mike Tyson might once have taken advantage of the anything-goes-vice smorgasbord. But this was the grown-up Tyson.

The conservative Las Vegas dweller who was now in the midst of a 36-city mea culpa. And this Mike Tyson was no longer in the ring - he was going shopping.

"I want to shop down that pretty street there," said Tyson, presumably referring to Union Square. "I don't have much money, but the money that I get from this show maybe I'll spend some there."

The show runs through the weekend at the Orpheum.

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