In 2000, Tyson travelled to the UK to take on then British champion, Julius Francis, and it caused mass hysteria.
Tyson was one of the most famous and controversial people on the planet at the time and an unpredictable man, having been embroiled in a number of incidents over the previous decade. By then he’d already spent time in prison and perhaps most notably, bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear.
Basically, Tyson was not a man to be messed with.
‘Iron Mike’ and his entourage set up camp at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, where Joe Calzaghe was also training, as he was fighting David Starie on the undercard of Tyson vs Francis where he was defending his WBO super-middleweight title.
At the time, Calzaghe was already a formidable force in the sport of boxing having beaten Chris Eubank a few years earlier to claim his 168 lb world title.
With that being said, he had not yet reached the peak of his powers, as he went on to later claim victory over Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr, retiring unbeaten with a record of 46-0, 32 KO’s.
The Welshman had just finished a training session with his dad and legendary trainer, Enzo, who died in 2018 and the age of 69.
Despite coming into boxing with no coaching experience, Enzo was revered in the boxing world and trained many of the best Welsh fighters to ever grace the sport including Enzo Maccarinelli, Gavin Rees and of course his son, Joe.
And Calzaghe Jr’s story about the coming together of his dad and Tyson shows the former had no fear despite the reputation of the former undisputed heavyweight king.
After a training session, he asked Tyson for a picture. “Yeah, whatever,” the reluctant reply came.
Enzo apparently clearly took issue with this attitude and a refusal to smile, asking the knockout artist: “Are you gonna f****** smile, or what?”
“I thought [Tyson] was going to rip his head off.” Calzaghe later joked as he recalled the incident.
“I thought ‘Dad, don’t start man,’ but Mike just said that he’d had a long day, so I thought ‘what a p****,” understandably believing Tyson should have been more respectful to a fellow fighter.
However, Calzaghe Jr and Tyson then shared a more amicable conversation later – away from prying eyes – where they discussed their families but the conversation took a turn when Tyson brought up his relationship with his promoter, Don King.
Calzaghe added: “[Tyson] goes, ‘you know man, I’ve been f***** by Don King about all this money…’ and he says ‘you know it makes you want to f****** kill him man and eat his f****** children man…’ and I’m thinking in my head, ‘you’re f****** nuts,’ and just nodding.”
“So, to be honest, he’s just a very strange and complicated character.”