During a press conference after his “comeback” fight against Roy Jones, Jr., former undisputed heavyweight champion and now 54-year-old Mike Tyson told the world marijuana is integral to his training, post-fight recovery and success.
For those of you who aren’t fans of professional boxing or Mike Tyson, 54 years old is considered way too old to be competing in a sport in which the main goal is to pound your opponent into a near-coma, and in which brain damage leading to dementia is common, similar to how it happens in professional football players.
Tyson first won a heavyweight boxing championship at age 20, the youngest man ever to do so. He was also the first to hold three championship titles at the same time from different boxing organizations.
In his prime, Tyson was fierce, unstoppable. Tyson fights were the kind you’d better not be late to—because he usually knocked his opponents out in the first round, often within a few seconds of the opening bell.
Tyson’s career was intermittently sabotaged by his own reckless behavior, which combined with his ferocious fists earned him nicknames such as “The Baddest Man on the Planet” and “Kid Dynamite.”
Along with demolishing opponents, and throwing away tens of millions of dollars on bling, drugs, and women, Tyson had a terrible temper and was abusive of women. In 1992, Tyson was convicted of rape and served three years in prison.
After serving his sentence, he staged a comeback and regained two of his heavyweight titles, becoming one of only a handful of boxers, including Muhamad Ali, to win a heavyweight championship after losing it.
Soon though, Tyson burned out and was increasingly beaten by larger, younger fighters. He gave up on boxing in 2006, declaring he was bankrupt, unhealthy, and depressed.
In the ensuing years, Mike Tyson engaged in various failed financial schemes, made public statements indicating he was addicted to drugs and alcohol, created embarrassing controversies for himself, and was generally thought to be just another brain-addled ex-champion declining into self-parody.
So boxing fans were surprised three years ago when Tyson returned to public view with a sizzling new podcast channel called “Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson.” In a relaxed talk show format in which Tyson constantly rolls, lights and inhales marijuana blunts, Tyson showed himself to be a transformed person, and a skilled interviewer.
With eminent and interesting guests like Snoop Dogg, William Shatner, Eminem, Sugar Ray Leonard, and even former arch-rival Evander Holyfield (Tyson infamously tried to bite Holyfield’s ear off during their second heavyweight championship fight), Tyson revealed he’d changed his life by becoming intermittently vegan, consuming lots of cannabis, and working on spiritual and personal growth.
He started marketing cannabis products such as “Dwiink,” a flavored CBD beverage.
In 2020, Tyson announced he was setting up a charity organization and would likely be returning to boxing to make money for it, perhaps in “exhibition” bouts against other older, former champions.
This vision came true for Tyson in November 2020, when he fought former champion Roy Jones, Jr. in an eight-round bout that was declared a draw by judges but one that most observers say Tyson decisively won.
Contrary to what some people expected, the event wasn’t a humiliating endeavor with two old, fat guys past their prime. Both boxers looked dangerous, although Tyson’s body was the most impressive, with six-pack abs and not an ounce of fat.
You could hear the vicious thud of Tyson’s punches landing on Jones, Jr., who in his prime was a gifted counterpuncher and ringmaster famous for avoiding punches.
After the bout, Jones said every punch Tyson hit him with hurt him like if he’d been hit by a sledgehammer.
In fact, boxing insiders are saying Tyson’s performance was more competitive than in his last fights as a professional, from 15 years ago!
What was somewhat surprising to many people, including those of us on the Growing Marijuana Perfectly team who compete in fighting sports or do other extreme endurance sports, is that Tyson had the courage to say in his post-fight press conference that he smoked marijuana before and after the fight.
One reason it was a surprise is that many types of cannabis aren’t compatible with combat sports like boxing.
For example, in the ring against a wily opponent known for fast hands and fancy footwork like Roy Jones, Jr., being stoned on Indica couchlock marijuana probably wouldn’t be much of an advantage.
Boxing is a sport like no other, in which eye-to-hand coordination, brute strength, razor-sharp reflexes and a killer instinct are required for survival and victory. If you snooze, you don’t just lose, you get your jaw broken or your brain addled.
What we’ve found in studying the use of cannabis during exercise is that marijuana is more compatible with flow sports like swimming, bicycling, snowboarding, skiing, windsurfing, kite-surfing, and power yoga. It contributes to body elasticity and athletic creativity, while masking aches and pains.
But we also know that professional basketball, football, and soccer players regularly use cannabis, including just before competition.
Tyson explains that marijuana helps him deal with body pain and injuries, motivates him, makes him feel more like a warrior and conqueror, lifts him up when he feels down.
We suspect he primarily uses an extremely high-THC Sativa such as Cinderella Jack for training and before fights, and a heavy Indica and/or CBD strain after them. Sativa strains like Cinderella Jack are physically stimulating, almost like being dosed on hallucinogenic caffeine, and can enhance visual acuity, speed and awareness.
When Tyson first announced his boxing comeback, we wondered about his respiratory conditioning, given that he chronically consumes marijuana via combustion, which is can be very bad for the lungs and also generates carbon monoxide and other poisons that have an overall negative effect on physical conditioning, stamina, and endurance.
In many cases, chronic cannabis consumers who combust their buds instead of vaporizing them are creating near-COPD (emphysema) conditions in their respiratory system.
Further, marijuana is often seen to have feminizing, estrogenate effects on men’s hormonal systems. Reliable, recent studies have identified cannabis as an endocrine (hormonal) disruptor in men, possibly lowering testosterone levels and increasing levels of “feminizing” hormones.
This can lead to a reduction in lean muscle mass, an increase in body fat, lack of motivation, and other effects that aren’t good for a professional boxer.
Yet, when Tyson took off his street clothes and got in the ring with Jones, you could see that marijuana hadn’t feminized him. The dude is totally ripped.
Sure, his face has aged, but looking at photos of him in his prime and what he looks like in 2020, his body seems to be just as muscular, symmetrical and powerful as ever!
And given how Tyson constantly crowded Jones into the ropes and pounded his body with hooks and Jones’ jaw with cruel uppercuts, there was no sign that marijuana prevents the 54-year-old boxer from living up to one of the nicknames from his youth: Iron Mike.
Jones told a press conference that one of those uppercuts temporarily dislocated his jaw!
The mainstream media has made a lot of Tyson’s comments about using marijuana. Fore sure it’s amusing to see people who have always dissed marijuana as being bad for athletes and health confront the fact that a fearsome fighter like Mike Tyson uses marijuana all the time, including before and after brutal fights.
The intriguing thing is that while marijuana obviously hasn’t “feminized” Tyson’s body or fighting spirit, you do see a “feminizing” effect in Tyson’s personality.
He has often described how cannabis opens up a calmer, nicer, more forgiving, patient, peaceful and loving side of himself.
He explains how marijuana gave him a new perspective on his past bad behavior and suffering the consequences of it, describing his former self as the “old Mike,” and his marijuana-consciousness self as the new and improved version.
His recent emphasis on making money to give it away for charity, rather than wasting it on drugs, alcohol, partying, ladies, and bling, is an outgrowth of his cannabis consciousness.
Indeed, on his Hotboxin’ show, a man who in his addiction, ego, and wild days would have been raging with profanities and threats is now a gentle philosopher, someone who has evolved, grown up, become a contented and admirable person.
Tyson is now an inspiration and role model for all marijuana-using athletes. His open admission of marijuana use, which would have been universally condemned inside and outside boxing when he first started his career in the early 1980s, is now accepted by mainstream society.
The main thing Tyson has shown is you can use marijuana to make you stronger, more successful, and to overcome adversity…including in professional sports.
What Iron Mike probably also knows is that cannabis has been shown to have neuroprotective and neurorestorative effects that protect the brain from trauma injury, like the kind you get in boxing. One can only hope that Mike has had brain scans and is fully briefed by his doctors on the wisdom of getting his head pounded on in the ring during a comeback bid.
And really, that’s the big question. At age 54, is Tyson planning a “real” comeback in which he’d fight today’s heavyweight champions such as the giant Gypsy King, Tyson Fury (whose father named him after Mike Tyson)?
After his impressive performance in the ring with Jones, and his saying after the fight that he enjoyed feeling his body beaten and loved competing, we hope Tyson goes for the worldwide heavyweight boxing championship again, and continues sharing the good news about cannabis and athletics.
Iron Mike was the youngest man to ever win the world heavyweight title. Maybe he can be the oldest man to win it too!