“We’re the most boring people on earth!” Kiki said. “There’s a film crew here from Fox and they’re looking for stuff for us to do, but we don’t do anything!
“Mike’s not interested in that crazy, wild life anymore. I mean, I make him grilled artichokes. We order Indian food twice a week. We have fun with the kids. He rehearses. I handle business calls. We want to go see Boyz II Men for a date night. But basically, Mike doesn’t leave the house.”
Tyson remains devoted to his pigeons. He keeps 200 in mobile coops that he wheels outside each day. He has loved pigeons since he was a shy, fat boy with a lisp in Brownsville, and he won his first fight when a bully ripped the head off of one of his birds.
He has gotten rid of the lions and tigers that used to roam among the statues and swim in the pools at his various estates — which accounted for some of the millions he might as well have tossed into a bonfire.
“No more exotic pets,” Kiki said. “No more girlfriends.”
No more hangers-on. No more champagne, cognac and coke binges.
“I’m domesticated,” said Tyson, who mixes $20 words he learned studying the classics in his cell with coarse double negatives in his choirboy voice.
Reconciling the soft and beastly sides of Tyson is like an unsatisfactory split decision. Has he really vanquished the self-loathing he transferred onto the faces and torsos of opponents with a ferocity that caused 44 knockouts in his 50-6 career record? How can the boxer who said of Lennox Lewis “I want to eat his children” sing nursery rhymes to his own?
The fundamental question raised by his show centers on man’s capacity for metamorphosis.
‘I’m just a survivor’
“I don’t know anything about change because I’m just a survivor,” Tyson said. “When people want to accomplish goals, maybe that’s change. When I was fighting I had to be that guy — number one, feared, invincible. In order to be this guy today, I have to concentrate on different goals.
“I’ve been in love before, but I was never committed to anybody. Now I have a responsibility as a husband, father, community leader.”
Tyson has been clean and sober since the 2009 strangulation death of 4-year-old daughter Exodus in a treadmill accident at her mother’s house.
“Something clicked and he said, ‘I can’t die of an overdose, I have to take care of my kids,’ ” Kiki said.
She used to fear a relapse when he would get antsy every couple of weeks. It’s still possible, she said. But through rehab and routine, Tyson has found stability.
“Without my support system I’d be another black guy from New York in the penal system,” he said, pronouncing penal as “penile” — an understandable Freudian slip given his history.
Tyson and his third wife, Lakiha “Kiki” Spicer, 36, have been friends for 20 years. Her stepfather, a Muslim imam and fight fan, introduced them, “and Mike was a perfect gentleman; I didn’t meet him shaking my butt in a club.” They tried having relationships when she was in her 20s but each time was a disaster because of his philandering and emotional hang-ups.