I chose 30 Quotes from the book that I liked, there were many more I could have chosen, I may not necessarily agree but I find them very interesting.
This book is dedicated to all the outcasts – everyone who has been mesmerized, marginalised, tranquilized, beaten down and gotten the wrong end of the stick. And incapable of receiving love.
- I was the youngest Heavyweight Champion in the history of boxing. I was a Titan. The reincarnation of Alexander the Great. My style was impetuous, my defences were impregnable and I was ferocious. It’s amazing how a low self-esteem and a huge ego can give you delusions of grandeur.
- I never saw my mother happy with me or proud of me doing something. I never got a chance to talk to her or know her. Professionally that would have no effect on me, but emotionally and psychologically, it was crushing.
- I wanted to stay around this old guy because I liked the way he made me feel. I’d later realise that this was Cus’s psychology. You give a weak man some strength and he becomes addicted.
- Cus wanted the meanest fighter that God ever created, someone who scared the life out of people before they even entered the ring and out. At the time I needed that, I was so insecure, so afraid. I was so traumatized from people picking on me when I was younger. I just hated the humiliation of being bullied. That feeling sticks with you for the rest of your life. It’s just such a bad, hopeless feeling. That’s why I always projected to the world I was a mean, ferocious motherf*****.
- Cus was all about manipulation, psychological warfare. He believed that 90% of boxing was psychological and not physical. Will, not skills.
- That was the day that I turned into Iron Mike; I became that guy 100% even though I had been winning almost every one of my fights in an exciting fashion, I wasn’t completely emotionally invested in being the savage that Cus wanted me to be. After that talk about me being to small, I became that savage. I even began to fantasize that if I actually killed someone inside the ring, it would certainly intimidate everyone. Cus wanted an antisocial champion, so I drew on the bad guys from the movies, guys like Jack Palance and Richard Widmark. I immersed myself in the roll of the arrogant sociopath.
- Jimmy and Cayton were the first fight managers to make highlight reels of all my KO’S and send vhs tapes to every boxing writer in the country. They were very innovative that way.
- Cayton and Jacob wanted to be friendly with everybody, sociable, but I knew a man who was friendly with everyone was an enemy to himself.
- I realised that this little incident was a metaphor for our relationship. She teased me, she made an elusive move and I played right into her hands. It was chess and I was her pawn.
- I don’t even like talking about this fight. it was seven rounds of heartless punishment. I elbowed him, low – blowed him, punched him after the round was over. That was my dark, stupid, ignorant side, my side that I’m ashamed of, coming out. I prolonged the punishment over seven rounds. I was a young, insecure kid and I wanted to be special at someone elses expense.
- I went to the prefight press conference but I was bored. I always hated those things. Sometimes i’d even fall asleep at them. There was nothing I wanted to hear. I just wanted to fight; I didn’t want to go through all of that stuff. Don King would be talking all this bs and gibberish, making up these fake f***ing words. “The matrimony of fisticuffs and delishmushnisifice of illumination, critation and emancipation”. Who wanted to hear that sh**?
- I was severely traumatized by that relationship and I wanted to just cancel it out, but love leaves a black mark on your heart. It really scars you. But you have to take chances to keep growing as an individual. That’s what life is all about.
- And then I got caught up with this other piece of sh**, Don King is a wretched, slimy reptilian motherf*****, he was supposed to be my black brother but he was just a bad man. He was going to mentor me, but all he wanted was money. He was a real greedy man. I thought I could handle somebody like King but he out smarted me. I was totally out of my league with that guy.
- Nobody in the entire history of boxing had made as much money in such a short period of time as I did.
- I was blown away by the poverty in Mexico. I was actually mad at them for being poorer than I had been because I couldn’t feel sorry for myself anymore. More than anything else, my success stemmed from my shame about being poor. That shame of being poor gave me more pain than anything in my life.
- I believed in the Cus theory that the only thing wrong with defeat is if nothing is learned from it. Cus always used to tell me that fighting is a metaphor for life. It doesn’t matter if you’re losing; It’s what you do after you lose. Are you going to stay down or get back up and try it again? Later I would tell people that my best fight ever was the Douglas fight because it proved that I could take my beating like a man and rebound.
- In December we found out that Desiree had discussed book and film deals with civil lawyers before the rape trial. “I cannot see her as a credible witness from what I know”. Dave Vahle, one of the jurors told the press. He was one of the jurors who worried they had made the wrong decision. “We felt a man raped a woman. In hindsight, it looks to me like a woman raped a man”.
- I only trained probably two or three weeks for this fight. I had to bury my best friend and I wasn’t going to fight, but I dedicated the fight to him. I was going to rip his heart out, “I am the best ever, I am the most brutal and the most vicious and the most ruthless champion there has ever been, there is no one that can stop me. Lennox is a conqueror? No! I am Alexander, he is no Alexander. I am the best ever, there has never been anybody as ruthless. I am Sonny Liston, I am Jack Dempsey, there is no one like me, I am from their cloth. There is no one that match me, my style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable and I am just ferocious, I want your heart, I want to eat his children, praise be to Allah”. With that, I stormed away. I was doing all this ranting because I was losing my mind. I was getting so high, my brain was getting fried.
- I started these long walks when I was reading a book about Alexander the Great and his army. They were walking for 60 miles a day back then so I just said, “f*** this, I can do this”. I got to ten miles a day and my feet felt like someone had taken a blowtorch to them. I had great sneakers on too, new balance, and they still felt like someone set them on fire. I did a little reading and I found out that all these great warriors would do these marches high. The history of war is the history of drugs. Every great general and warriors from the beginning of time was high. So I started incorporating weed and alcohol into my walking regime. I was pissed off in general but walking high in 100-degree heat took my bipolar sh** to a new level. Liquor, the weed and the heat didn’t go together. I’d be walking bare-chested with my shirt tied around my head. My pants were falling off because I had lost so much weight. The sun had fried me, so I was as black as tar. I looked like a crackhead. People would see me and they didn’t know if it was me or not. One guy came up to me for an autograph and pow I smacked him. I saw a girl I had slept with one time who worked at Versace. She was concerned about me. “Mike, are you alright?”. She asked me. “F*** you, b****”, I yelled at her. “I hate your guts. I never liked you”. The sun had really fried my brains, I was losing my mind. (Side note, I found the thought of this visual so funny I was laughing out loud, there’s a lot of parts in the book that are laugh out loud funny).
- Iron Mike had brought me too much pain, too many lawsuits, too much hate from the public, the stigma that I was a rapist, that I was public enemy number one. Each punch I took from Lewis in the later rounds chipped away at that pose, that persona. And I was a willing person in its destruction.
- A week before the fight, I went to get a tattoo that became my most notorious tattoo. I told the artist, S. Victor Whitmall, aka paradox, that I wanted a tattoo on my face. I hated my face and I literally wanted to deface myself. I suggested tiny little hearts all over it. It wasn’t some ploy to make me more attractive to women; I just wanted to cover up my face. He came up with that Maori tribal design and I told him I’d think about. The more I thought, the more I liked the idea of putting a tattoo that was used by warriors to scare their opponents in battle on my face. So I went with it.
- I really think that one reason that I started doing so much coke was because I was in a lot of physical pain from my boxing career. I know some hockey players who told me the same story. When you have that kind of pain, you can’t be friendly with anybody. You’re like a lion with a hurt paw. When an animal gets hurt, they know that the other animals will attack them. That’s how I felt when I was in pain, vulnerable and scared. So you get some coke and then you’re in the room alone with the coke and you want a woman in there because you feel so bad about doing the drug that having a woman is going to kill the guilt.
- I had a lot of fun but it didn’t produce anything. I thought I’d get emotional satisfaction out of sleeping with them but I was just a smuck. I was in love with love, not the actual individual.
- After putting a lot of work in the programme I realised that the reason that I always wanted to satisfy women was because I was hoping that they would satisfy me not with sex but with their love. I was using sex to get intimacy. In order for me to get that intimacy and that attachment, I had to have sex. You can’t get it from her if you don’t have the sex but it’s really not about the sex itself. So I was a whore just like my mother. But it was different. This whore had money. Hey, if I didn’t make you happy and satisfy you sexually, how about this Mercedes-Benz? This car is really orgasmic, isn’t it? It sounds trite but I was probably looking for someone to mother me. My whole life I was looking for love from my mother. My mother never gave love to a man. She gave them headaches, she scalded them, she stabbed them. I never saw my mother kiss a man. I saw her in bed with them but I never heard “I love you” or saw someone kiss her forehead.
- That’s one thing about happiness. You could be in hell and be happy there. Some people thrive in misery, you can take away their misery and bring them into the light and they die emotionally and spiritually because pain and suffering has been their only comfort. The thought of someone loving them and helping them without wanting anything in return could never enter their minds.
- That’s why I became more humble, more subservient, because that’s what Islam is truly about. Islam is all about love, peace and submission. Because you submit in peace, it doesn’t mean you’re weak, but it’s just being humble to God.
- I couldn’t be humble when they pushed me to the front of the line to kiss the Black Stone. The Stone itself is in the Eastern cornerstone of the Kabah, the ancient stone building in Mecca towards which Muslims around the world pray. On the Hajj you’re supposed to circle the stone seven times and kiss it if you can. There are so many pilgrims though some people who’ve been going to Mecca their whole lives have never kissed the black stone. I kissed it four times in thirty minutes. I’m there and they’re splitting people like the Red Sea and bringing me right up to kiss it. They’re pushing these pious people to the side so I can put my dirty-a**ed, diseased coke-licking mouth on it. It made me feel horrible.
- People often ask me what I regret in my life. I regret sleeping with all those women. I used to brag about that but now I’m so embarrassed by my conquests. I’m so happy to be with one woman.
- We know that all this temporary. I’m going to grow old and die tomorrow or ten years from now or forty years if I’m lucky. But when you’re with your family, it makes you feel like you’ll live forever. You get to this age and you just thank God for letting you live another day. He didn’t owe us that day. So you have to live every day like it’s your last. And you have to take personal responsibility. If you want to be a better person you have to take personal responsibility. You can’t blame things on society. If you want to be a better person you have to look within and overcome that. You are your own worst enemy. I know I am my own worst enemy. The only guy who wants to kill me is me.
If you like what you read check out the book at Amazon.