The former undisputed heavyweight champion was in the headlines last week after being filmed punching Melvin George Townsend III on a JetBlue flight
But additional footage showed Townsend – who allegedly threw a bottle at Tyson – goading the boxing legend before he was given a knuckle sandwich.
And former WBC heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon wasn’t surprised to see Iron Mike lay into Townsend after being goaded for so long.
He said: “Having known him for long time and been travelling with him on different occasions, he was always a gentleman.
“I knew him in the early days too when he was fighting, he was aggressive but he was just being Mike Tyson.
“Personally sitting in front of him and talking to him he’s a very nice person, but if you push him he will push you.”
Although Witherspoon understands Tyson’s reasons for hitting Townsend, he wouldn’t have followed his suit if the roles were reversed.
He said: “Would I have hit somebody? No. I wouldn’t hit somebody unless they put their hands on me.
“I know words can be hurtful, if you keep pushing him.
“Mike now is a better Mike than when he was fighting. He’s more calm now, he’s talking to people he’s enjoying his life.
Townsend initially declined to press charges on Tyson, who hung out with WWE legend Rick Flair at a cannabis event a few hours after the incident.
But the Baddest Man on the Planet could soon face legal action as Townsend has since hired a lawyer.
Townsend’s lawyer – Matt Morgan from Morgan & Morgan – told TMZ: “Our client is a big Mike Tyson fan.
“When Mike Tyson boarded the plane, he became overly excited. At first, their interaction was cordial.
“At a certain point, Mr Tyson clearly became agitated by an overly excited fan and began to strike him in an excessive manner.
“This situation could have been avoided simply by contacting the flight attendant.
“Our client denies throwing a water bottle prior to being struck by Mr Tyson.”
Tyson has yet to comment on the incident, although his spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, Mr Tyson had an incident on a flight with an aggressive passenger who began harassing him and threw a water bottle at him while he was in his seat.”