In advance of the former heavyweight champion’s appearance Saturday night at the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino, where he will perform his one-man stage show, “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” I asked Tyson if he remembered the origins of that quote.
“People were asking me [before a fight], ‘What’s going to happen?,’ ” Tyson said. “They were talking about his style. ‘He’s going to give you a lot of lateral movement. He’s going to move, he’s going to dance. He’s going to do this, do that.’ I said, “Everybody has a plan until they get hit. Then, like a rat, they stop in fear and freeze.’ ”
What I like so much about the quote is that its application stretches far beyond boxing. It really has meaning in any area of life, whether the blow comes from a health issue, losing your job, making a bad investment, a traffic jam, whatever.
It’s how you react to that adversity that defines you, not the adversity itself.
“Exactly,” Tyson agreed. “If you’re good and your plan is working, somewhere during the duration of that, the outcome of that event you’re involved in, you’re going to get the wrath, the bad end of the stick. Let’s see how you deal with it. Normally people don’t deal with it that well.”
He laughed. There’s another way to spin his famous quote:
“How much can you endure, buddy?” he said. “Most talkers, they can’t handle it.”