Mike Tyson wanted to make something clear to Don King during the International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend in Canastota, New York — stay the hell away at all times.
When King walked by and tapped Iron Mike on the back in a friendly gesture Saturday night, the former heavyweight champion of the world responded by throwing a cup of water at his former boxing promoter.
When former boxer Gerry Cooney asked him about the incident on Sunday, Tyson admitted that it was “immature” and said “I shouldn’t have done that,” but added that King “talked in there like he was my friend and that was just bullcrap.”
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Tyson also said about King: “He really did me in.”
Watch Tyson hurl the cup of water at King and give his explanation about the incident below.
Tyson’s vitriol for King has been publicly noted, with “The Baddest Man on The Planet” having sued the boxing promoter for $100 million in 1998 alleging that King cheated him out of fight money for over a decade as his promoter. Although Tyson and King would reach a settlement in that lawsuit in 2004, it didn’t stop the boxing legend from verbally bashing the promoter.
In the 2008 biopic, Tyson, Iron Mike referred to King as everything from a “piece of s**t” to “wretched” and “slimy” and a person who “would kill his [own] mother for a $1.”
There were public signs of their impending fallout even at the height of their partnership.
Tyson was in upstate New York on Saturday night to induct sports broadcaster Jim Gray into the Boxing Hall of Fame.
The two had numerous — and notorious — interviews during Tyson’s career, including the one in 2000, when Tyson told Gray that he wants to eat Lennox Lewis’s children.
Following Tyson’s transition into retirement and a bit of acting, he and Gray have had a chance to build up a good enough rapport to the point where they consider each other friends.
"This award is way, way overdue," Tyson said Saturday night, while inducting Gray (h/t The Associated Press). "I'm very proud of you. Well-deserved."
Gray then added, while looking over at Tyson, "It's ironic. The man who threatened to kill me in public is now inducting me into the Hall of Fame. My journey today has been an unlikely one. The Boxing Hall of Fame immortalized all of these great fighters, so this magnificent honor comes with tremendous humility. How could this happen? I never took a punch."