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Tyson’s feathered entourage

other Updated: Jun 05, 2011 00:34 IST
Vinayak Pande
Vinayak Pande
Hindustan Times
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Mike Tyson is all about contradictions. He is arguably one of the greatest, most talented heavyweight boxers of all time on one side of the coin. And a man who disgraced (by his own admission) himself and the sport that made him famous on the other.

He is one of the highest earning boxers in history, as well as the man who lost all of his $300 million in career earnings.
So it comes as no surprise that the man who, six years ago, admitted to killing pigeons and that he would "rip their heads off" is now producing and starring in a television series where he professes his love for the birds and races them for sport.

“The first thing I loved in my life, I loved a pigeon,” said Tyson right at the beginning of the pilot episode of Taking On Tyson, a new television series on Animal Planet.

The show is as much about Tyson’s love for the birds as it is about exorcising his demons.

Switching sports
The setting is Jersey City and his childhood neighbourhood of Brooklyn in New York City where with the help of his promoter/manager Mario Costa, pigeon trainer Vinnie Torre and the Roman brothers, Tyson prepares to race his coop of homing pigeons against seasoned rivals.

Preparations for the 560 km race includes scenes of the ‘baddest man on the planet’ cleaning out pigeon coops while commenting on the high quality of bird excrement.

It could very well be for appearances sake, especially given Tyson’s new found desire to be in the public eye by any means necessary, be it cameo roles in Hollywood blockbusters or on television.

But then again, where else would you get to see the unlikeliest of ‘nice’ guys in the most unlikely of avatars? Truly one for the birds.