There are few things worse thank knowing you’ve wronged another person and then realize that it’s too late to make things right.
In the case of Mike Tyson, who marks his 45th birthday on Thursday, and sportscaster Nick Charles, who died at 64 from bladder cancer over the weekend, a past wrong was amended for while the former CNN Sports anchor and boxing lover was still breathing.
Not that Tyson’s bad deed was on the felony level but I’m sure Tyson feels some satisfaction that he went to visit the ailing Charles right before he died, a feel good story covered by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appropriately enough on CNN.
On Saturday, on his Twitter page, Tyson saluted the universally popular Chicago native:
“Mourning the loss of a true warrior. My Friend & Brother, Nick Charles.”
It wasn’t really the Mellow Mike we see in the media today, the suburban Las Vegas father and husband of wife Kiki, who did something wrong to Charles.
No, it was the raging egomaniac named Iron Mike Tyson, back when we were in Los Angeles at the Century Plaza Hotel hyping Tyson’s first out of prison bout, his laugher against windy Hurricane Peter McNeeley.
Someone had assured the always diligent Charles that, if he jetted in from Atlanta, he was sure to land an exclusive, one on one chat with Mercurial Mike.
Tyson seemed to get into a foul mood, a bit of a rage, even at the presser when McNeeley tried to hold up his end of the brutal mismatch bargain by warning Tyson that he would take him “into my cocoon of horror.” (Only, with his thick Boston accent, it came out sounding like “hurrah.”)
Steve Brener, ex-Dodgers PR ace for 17 years, was handling fight pr on behalf of Showtime and he told me to ask if Tyson would carve out a few minutes for Charles and his camera crew.
Tyson answered negatively and Charles was rightfully irritated.
“I flew in from Atlanta just for this and am flying back right away, I can’t believe this,” the atypically furious Charles said to me and to Brener.
So Charles and his crew went back to Georgia with nothing special.
Charles, like I say, was a pro’s pro and not completing his assignment because of Tyson’s mood was something he surely brooded about for a while.
But, when Charles’ days on earth dwindled to a precious few, Tyson went to visit him.
This time, the cameras were rolling.
And, more importantly, Tyson’s 1995 one day, one interview blowoff was surely forgotten.
Tyson may have many regrets about how he treated some people when he boxing’s No. 1 attraction but his minor wrong to Charles was made up in a major way.
Happy birthday, Mellow Mike.
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