Former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, Actor, Producer, Promoter and Philanthropist Mike Tyson visited his friend Sugar Ray Leonard to support Juvenile Diabetes at SRL’s Big Fighter, Big Cause event on the pier in Santa Monica.
He talks about his take on problems with fighters and their promoters picking their fights which may be hurting the sport of boxing, but I also get Mike to talk about his Mike Tyson Cares Foundation and how he wants to help kids.
I love to cover the Sugar Ray Leonard Big Fighter, Big Cause event for so many reasons. First it is held on the Santa Monica Pier which in and of itself is very cool, but also because Sugar Ray is such a wonderful man and his foundation supports junior diabetes JDRF which is a cause we all need to support.
Also this year they were honoring my former boss Al Mann with a Golden Glove Award for his work to support JDRF. I used to work for Al at Minimed, now owned my Medtronic, and he was a great boss and a great guy.
Ok then I saw Mike Tyson walking down the line of reporters and it made my day. I am a big fight fan. I can’t tell you who is doing what in the fight world, but I love to watch a great fight and how many times have we watched this guy end it in the first couple of rounds, before all your friends made it over and the chips got stale.
I was a huge Ali Fan and never missed a Mike Tyson fight.
I often tell the story about when I was just a kid my stepfather worked for the Sahara Hotel and Casino in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada. It was the early 70’s and I was not a teen yet. My brother and I saw Mohammad Ali walking toward the elevators past the front hotel desk and we made a beeline to him. Ali held out his hand and I ran smack into his palm with my forehead. I fell down on my ass and Ali kept walking someone picked me up and brushed me off asking if I was alright. I was stunned, but definitely alright.. I just got hit by Mohammad Ali!
Mike talked a bit about promoters allow fighters to pick and choose fights. He believes that this does not help the sport of boxing. He also talked to me about his Tyson Cares Foundation that helps give kids from broken homes a fighting chance.
I also recently saw Mike Tyson’s show Undisputed Truth on HBO and really liked it. Mike was great we had some fun. Thanks Mike – JW
Michael Gerard “Mike” Tyson (born June 30, 1966) is an American retired professional boxer. Tyson is a former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles at 20 years, 4 months, and 22 days old. Tyson won his first 19 professional bouts by knockout, 12 of them in the first round. He won the WBC title in 1986 after defeating Trevor Berbick by a TKO in the second round. In 1987, Tyson added the WBA and IBF titles after defeating James Smith and Tony Tucker. He was the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, and the only heavyweight to successively unify them.
In 1988, Tyson became the lineal champion when he knocked out Michael Spinks after 91 seconds. Tyson successfully defended the world heavyweight championship nine times, including victories over Larry Holmes and Frank Bruno.
In 1990, he lost his titles to underdog James “Buster” Douglas, by a knockout in round 10. Attempting to regain the titles, he defeated Donovan Ruddock twice in 1991, but he pulled out of a fight with undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield due to injury.
In 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping Desiree Washington and sentenced to six years in prison but was released after serving three years. After his release, he engaged in a series of comeback fights.
In 1996, he won the WBC and WBA titles after defeating Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon by knockout. With his defeat of Bruno, Tyson joined Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Tim Witherspoon, Evander Holyfield, and George Foreman as the only men in boxing history to that point to have regained a heavyweight championship after having lost it.
After being stripped of the WBC title, Tyson lost his WBA crown to Evander Holyfield in November 1996 by an 11th round TKO. Their 1997 rematch ended when Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ear.
In 2002, he fought for the world heavyweight title at the age of 35, losing by knockout to Lennox Lewis. He retired from professional boxing in 2006, after being knocked out in consecutive matches against Danny Williams and Kevin McBride.
Tyson declared bankruptcy in 2003, despite having received over $30 million for several of his fights and $300 million during his career.
Tyson was well known for his ferocious and intimidating boxing style as well as his controversial behavior inside and outside the ring.
Tyson is considered one of the best heavyweights of all time. He was ranked No. 16 on The Ring‘s list of 100 greatest punchers of all time. and No. 1 in the ESPN.com list of “The hardest hitters in heavyweight history”. He has been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.
The mission of the Mike Tyson Cares Foundation is to “give kids a fighting chance” by providing innovative centers that provide for the comprehensive needs of kids from broken homes.
These needs may include healthcare assistance, shelter, school assistance, mentoring, job placement assistance and such other needs as determined by the center for the overall well being of the child.
In addition financial support and / or services may be provided to other charitable organizations that emulate and further the mission of the Mike Tyson Cares Foundation.
The Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation was established in 2009 by boxing legend and six-time world champion Sugar Ray Leonard and his wife, Bernadette.
The Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation is committed to raising funds for research and awareness towards a cure for Juvenile Diabetes.
Throughout Leonard’s boxing career, he watched his dad and friends struggle with the many complications of diabetes and how it has affected every aspect of their life. Type 1 diabetes strikes both children and adults at any age. It comes on suddenly, causes dependence on injected or pumped insulin for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. Type 2 diabetes in children is on the rise, fueled largely by the obesity epidemic.
Leonard draws from his personal experience and boxing career to provide inspiration for funding research to combat the disease. This is one fight, together, we will win.
Big Fighter, Big Cause
The annual “Big Fighters, Big Cause” Charity Boxing Night, co-hosted by B. Riley & Co., is the Foundation’s premier fundraising event that raises funds and awareness for Juvenile Diabetes Research. The event brings together over 1,500 guests, comprised of C-suite executives from nearly 200 public companies across a range of sectors, leading institutional investors, high net worth individuals, financial services professionals, celebrities, sports legends, and other high-profile individuals.
To view sponsorship opportunities click HERE or for more information, contact:
Aileen Martinez, Consultant
GBK, formerly GBK Productions, is a luxury lifestyle gifting and special events company, specializing in entertainment marketing integration. Formed in 2000 by Gavin Keilly, the company’s Founder and CEO, GBK consists of five divisions: GBK Celebrity Gifting, GBK Special Events, GBK Weddings, GBK Charitable Consulting and GBK Marketing/Public Relations. Widely known in the entertainment industry for bringing that little extra something into the Gifting Lounge environment, GBK offers its clients a full range of marketing services. For more information on Gavin B. Keilly (CEO), Carla Domen (VP) or GBK,, please go to: gbkproductions.com.
Some photos and video taken by JW Najarian and Aggie Kobrin.