'When I Start Drinking And I Relapse, I Think Of Dying'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mike Tyson was one of the greatest boxers of all time. Nobody can dispute that.

But the sad fact is that he remains a very troubled, troubled man.

The former heavyweight has battled drug and alcohol addictions for years, and last Friday he told reporters at a press conference that he’s “on the verge of dying.” He also informed the media that he’s been sober for a mere six days.

“When I start drinking and I relapse, I think of dying,” Tyson told the “Today” show in a segment that was taped on Wednesday. “When I’m in a real dark mood, I think of dying. And I don’t want to be around no more. I won’t survive unless I get help.”

The 47-year-old has remained sober through the week, but he’s not feeling particularly well as he continues to take on the fight of his life.

“I’ve been sober 12 days now and it’s tough,” the man previously nicknamed “Iron Mike” told host Matt Lauer. “I’m mean and irritable … It’s a real challenge because I don’t know if I like this sober guy. It’s hard for me to live normal — straight is hard.”

At the press conference last Friday at Turning Stone Resort in upstate New York following a fight — Tyson is attempting to become a successful boxing promoter — the former heavyweight champion of the world received a standing ovation when he announced that he would never again use drugs or alcohol.

“No one’s failed more than I did,” Tyson told  the “Today” show. “I’m a king of the barbarians. There’s no one that could surpass me in the pain that I’ve endured. I can deal with it. I can handle it.”

The Brooklyn native also addressed his 1992 rape conviction, adamantly denying that he raped Desiree Washington. Tyson served time in prison from 1992-1995.

“I don’t think I have to make amends to that because I’ve done nothing,” Tyson said. “I really didn’t do anything to her. I didn’t rape her. I didn’t beat her. I didn’t do anything to her and I’m not going to make amends. I already made amends to myself. But to her, no.”

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