Mike Tyson: Minneapolis may not be glamorous but it's great

Mike Tyson: Minneapolis may not be glamorous but it's great
Larry McConkey

Next stop on the Mike Tyson Magical Redemption Tour: Minneapolis.

The former heavyweight champ spoke briefly with reporters Wednesday to throw his weight behind a January 3 fight at Target Center as part of the ESPN series Friday Night Fights. It's the first, Tyson said, of what could be several fights in the area involving his company Iron Mike Productions.

"We're not just gonna walk across Minneapolis because some people don't think it's a glamorous city," he said. "I think it's a great city."

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Tyson last came here in January 2010 -- to the Target Center, actually -- for an episode of WWE Monday Night RAW. But he had nothing but praise for the city's unappreciated boxing history Wednesday, and at one point name dropped Billy Miske and the Gibbons brothers of St. Paul.

Still, Tyson's excitement for the upcoming event was undercut by his longing for the way the sport used to be. He takes exception with the way some managers pit their own boxers against each other, going so far as to compare the greed and insularity of certain companies to a plantation.

"The reason why most fights are not exciting now is because the best fighters are not fighting each other," he said. "That's just the truth."

He's trying to convince other promoters to hold more fights in more places, he said, and he's teaming up with Seconds Out Promotions and Warriors Boxing.

"This is what makes a profitable and flourishing enterprise -- constant competition," Tyson said. "Fight fight fight. Fight fight fight. I fought 15 times in one year. Who you gonna see fight 15 times?"

As of late, Tyson has been riding high with a new book and one-man show in which he confronts his troubled past. He can be seen in a new ad for Foot Locker showing up at the door of Evander Holyfield with a rueful expression and a tiny present.

"I'm sorry, Evander. It's your ear," Tyson says.

"I kept that in formaldehyde," he adds, and soon the two men are hugging it out. 

-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to [email protected]

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