By: Sean Crose
“I was scared all the way through,” Mike Tyson is quoted by the New York Post as saying, “and was just trying to get through it alive.” Tyson is referring to “Tyson vs. Jaws: Rumble on the Reef,” which will be aired live on Sunday as part of the Discovery Channel’s popular “Shark Week” programming. “I’m a scary guy,” Tyson added, “but not when it comes to adventurous stuff.” The event will show Tyson underwater with a band of less than friendly looking sharks. With him will be Paul de Gelder, a shark expert who – not coincidentally – has lost an arm and a leg thanks to a shark.
“He threw up before or after nearly every dive,” de Gelder told InsideEdition. No surprise, perhaps, since Tyson has long admitted the presence – and even helpfulness – of fear in the ring. “One shark kept bumping me,” the Post quotes the former heavyweight great as saying, “and I’m like, ‘What the hell do you want?’” Tyson even went so far as to admit he’s not crazy about the water to begin with. “I’m scared of anything in the water,” he reportedly proclaims on the telecast. “I won’t even put my foot in the water.”
Thanks to the help of de Gelder, however, Tyson found a way to push his fear aside. Not that the Australian expert put him at ease immediately. “I said, ‘Listen, this is not a good time to make me feel confident in there,’ seeing this guy who’s got an arm and a leg missing.” Tyson learned to trust his future cornerman of sorts and eventually worked his way to the point where he was ready to face some of the most feared creatures on the entire planet. An odd matchup, to be sure, but one Discovery hopes will draw in eyeballs.
Sunday’s broadcast is part of a new stage in Tyson’s life, one where the fifty plus year old fighter will be getting back into the ring. For, in September, the former undisputed heavyweight titlist will be facing former pound for pound great Roy Jones in a highly hyped exhibition match. That event, however, will cost viewers money, while Sunday’s spectacular will only cost the price of basic cable or streaming. It might be one of Tyson’s oddest challenges, but it’s one where safety is guaranteed.
“No sharks were harmed,” de Gleder said of the previously recorded broadcast.