On ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, Former Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson claimed that he’s “close to death” from alcohol and drugs. In the interview Tyson claims, “I want to live my sober life. I don’t want to die. I’m on the verge of dying, because I’m a vicious alcoholic.” He continued, “I’m a bad guy sometimes. I did a lot of bad things, I want to be forgiven.” But this is not the typical story of a former Heavyweight Champion, multi-millionaire, gone bust. This is the story of a man who has made a life after boxing, who is married and lives in a pretty home in Las Vegas. The hundreds of millions of dollars that he made in his career may be gone, but he has ultimately landed on his feet, appearing in a one man show and yet the story is so much more complicated. Mike Tyson is a man who used to help his opponents up after knocking them down and out. At times he has shown a very human, gentle side. Mike Tyson is scholar of boxing. He knows more about the sport and boxers, than almost anyone covering the sport today. But he is also a man on the verge of succumbing to his own demons. The loss of his child has certainly not helped as we saw in his interview on HBO’s Real Sports. Although no fan of Robin Givens, she was right on the mark when she said that Mike Tyson is a manic-depressive. But more than that he is bi-polar/obsessive compulsive. These real illnesses are all tied together linked by hormone, chemical or genetic deficiencies. Although not all is known about these disorders. Yes Mike Tyson grew up in a tough neighborhood. Yes he had no real role models until Cus D’Amato. But then he did have a role model. He also made millions and millions of dollars. He was able to change his life, escape his neighborhood and all the bad influences but in the end, he has never been able to escape his one real and serious issue, his own demons. If he can’t do that, he will ultimately die. The terrible thing about his illness is he realizes it’s destructive, he realizes the danger and yet he can do nothing to change it. There are good medications today that are not the narcotics of the past but a person must be willing to take them and not go off them because they feel better. A person feels better because they’re taking them. One final thought, human beings are not typical animals. We have thoughts and can reason. We understand danger by logic not simply by instinct. What separates us from all other animals is our ability to reason and change. So despite the demons Mike Tyson and others like him, Lindsay Lohan, Heath Ledger and Robert Downey Jr, to name just a few, they can change their fate. It’s just a matter of how much they’re willing to go through to get there. Despite the fact Tyson retired from the ring in 2006, he is still fighting. But this time it’s the battle of his life.