This is about Mike Tyson, but I’ll start out with Charles Dickens. I am not a Dickens person — at universities they’re called Dickensians. In every Dickens novel too much crummy stuff mixes with the good stuff, for my taste. So I’m rereading Bleak House and keep begging Dickens to get on with it, and then I switched to Tyson’s autobiography, one hell of a book. It’s called Undisputed Truth.
My friend Lawrence Epstein recommended it to me — Lawrence is the chief operating officer of Ultimate Fighting Championships. “You’ll love this book, Lowell,” he said. And I did.
It is a first-person, as-told-to book and it’s a laugh riot and desperately sad and vivid and has scenes and great characters (right out of Elmore Leonard), and it has Tyson’s voice. He’s intelligent and introspective and sees how he used to be — I assume he’s not a maniac anymore — and he goes over every one of his fights and he makes fun of himself but also gets a kick out of himself. As I did. The final 100 pages or so are about Tyson and drugs and I did not find them as interesting as what came before, which I loved.
The book is profane, part of why I like it, and Tyson now seems likable, although I don’t know him. I hope he’s likable because I sure like him.
He talks about Holyfield II, the ear-bite fight, says Holyfield headbutted him and that’s why he bit Holyfield. I looked at the fight again, and don’t agree with Tyson. I saw Tyson, having lost whatever made him great, frustrated and desperate. The fighters clashed heads, accidentally I thought, and Tyson was bleeding. And Holyfield was handling him. So Tyson bit him.
He and Holyfield have made up so it’s not for me to carry a grudge. I’m just stating an opinion. My other opinion is I like Undisputed Truth better than Bleak House.