“I have a natural fear of not being safe. That’s who I am naturally. So now I got this weird self-confidence and violence and stuff. Now I’m sadistic, I’m afraid I might get hurt. I’m an animal now.”
With that being said, rare footage has emerged on Reddit of Tyson as a 15-year-old, though, you wouldn’t believe it from his size, being consoled by Teddy Atlas.
The relationship between the pair was always complex with Atlas, one of Iron Mike’s trainers, leaving his side after an incident between the boxer and a family member of his.
Back to the video, though, and Atlas is captured trying to help Tyson keep his emotions in check as he gears up for a fight. Anyone that stepped foot in the ring with “The Baddest Man on the Planet” had every right to be afraid, no matter how lethal they were themselves.
The stories always go towards Tyson actually being afraid of his own strength.
“I’m scared because I’m a scary guy because I’ve been picked on all my life, I’ve been abused all my life, people did anything they wanted to me,” is another line from Tyson on the same podcast; he was capable of scary things and so that fear remained in himself as well as with his opponents.
Even at the age of 15 it was well documented, and that can be seen here. He didn’t necessarily want to hurt people, but it was the nature of how effective he was with his fists.
Atlas can be heard saying to a young Mike, “you’re always better than everyone when you get in there” which suggests that the teenager was afraid that he could get hurt or end up losing even.
In his latter years, it has, of course, shown to be the other way around, with Tyson being scared of his own abilities as opposed to being afraid of what others could do to him.