Mike Tyson talks his new equipment line, Isaac Cruz, Tank Davis and where boxing is today
He’s living boxing royalty. Everywhere Mike Tyson goes, he’s mobbed. Every time he speaks, people tend to lean in and listen. The former undisputed world heavyweight champion and Hall of Famer has begun a new line of boxing equipment called Tyson Pro (TysonPro.com [tysonpro.com]), which was launched this spring and he recently took time out to talk to The Ring about his new line, some of today’s prominent fighters and where the state of boxing is.
First off, Tyson Pro will produce apparel and high-end boxing equipment for the boxing pros and enthusiasts, crafted by one of Tyson’s mantras, “Will vs. Skill.” Tyson Pro is producing four flagship products: standard gloves, professional gloves and focus mitts and hand wraps, among other items to come.
The premise started with a simple act.“Me and my wife were looking at boxing equipment and my wife (Lakiha Spicer) just said, ‘Why don’t you start your own boxing equipment line, or athletic gear,” Tyson said. “We did and it came out spectacular. I can’t believe the products came out as good as they have. I’ve been overseeing everything. I’m watching the boxers spar in the gloves and hitting the bag. It’s going to be everything, shorts, shoes, hats. I would have started a line sooner, but I was running around too much, and there was really no one I could trust at the time.
“I believe my gear is just as good as any gear in the world—if not better. My gloves are padded well, and they’re light. The headgear is very light, comfortable. I had people work out in the gear, and they told me they liked the gloves, and the gear. That’s all I had to hear. I want to still stay involved with my sport, and it’s why I contribute something to the sport with my gear.”
The apparel, which includes shorts, t-shirts and trunks, will come out soon.“Me and my wife put it together and thought it was a no-brainer,” Tyson said. “I knew what equipment worked, from wearing everything. My biggest concern is the health if the fighters. It’s why the gloves are well padded, and why the head gear fits different sizes. I had hand issues when I fought. I kept hidden well. Preparing for the Mitch Green fight (May 20, 1986), I hurt my hands in sparring. So, I know how important it is to protect your hands. I’ve gotten great feedback from Jared ‘Big Baby’ Anderson. He liked the gloves. Anthony Dirrell has tried the equipment and he said he liked it. I hope some other fighters see what’s out there. I’m hoping Tank Davis and Frank Martin get a chance to wear the gloves.”
Tyson said he still keeps track of boxing, but not as much as he used to.
“This has been a great year of boxing, and we’re seeing the best fighting the best, like (Terence) Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. fighting, which I hope to be ringside for,” Tyson said. “It’s not just boxing we’re looking to appeal to. The equipment is not just for boxing, but for all combat sports. All our products are good.”
To this day, Tyson can’t go anywhere without being mobbed.
“It’s getting what I want, and I put out love and consideration for others, and I hope I get that back,” Tyson said. “I love a lot of today’s fighters, guys like Tank Davis. But I don’t know if anyone is close to me today. If I had to say someone is closest to me, I would say Isaac Cruz. He’s short and stubby for his weight class, like I was, and he comes at you. People might think I would say Tank, but Tank reminds me a whole lot of Aaron ‘The Hawk’ Pryor. I mean that as a big compliment.
“You would think Tank is a brawler, but he really is a boxer-puncher. He moves well. He moves his head well. He can beat you all kinds of ways. He can knock you out. Or he can box you. Cruz reminds me the most of who I was. He comes at you with bad intentions. And he keeps coming at you. He gave Tank his toughest fight. Right now, I hope the younger kids wear the Tyson Pro equipment because it is the best—not because it has my name on it. My biggest concern, and my most important concern is the safety of the fighters, and to make sure they’re protected.”
Tyson Pro heavy bags and the other bigger equipment will come out around Labor Day.
Tyson took a European tour and is expected back to the United States on July 26.
“My biggest message in terms of my equipment is after wearing all of the gloves out there, my gloves can compete with the best,” Tyson said. “Check the gloves out. You’ll be seeing them everywhere soon.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.