Mike Tyson, in his debut as a promoter Friday night, made amends with ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas, his former trainer, as part of his steps to recover as a "vicious alcoholic," Tyson told ESPN's Todd Grisham on "Friday Night Fights."
"Life is short; I made amends with everybody," Tyson said at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y.
"I'm recovering and I'm gonna die. If I don't follow my steps, I'm useless."
Atlas had helped train Tyson, along with their common mentor, Cus D'Amato, in upstate New York in the early 1980s. But Atlas and Tyson had a falling out following an incident in which Atlas has said Tyson approached a young girl, who was a relative of Atlas' wife, in a crude manner. In his biography, Atlas recalled borrowing a .38 from a friend, tracking down Tyson one night in 1982, telling him to smarten up and firing the gun, deliberately missing.
"Mike has always been looking for an escape, a trap door," Atlas said of Tyson in 2003. "He always lacked one essential ingredient in [situations of] building character: the ability to confront himself."
Tyson said Atlas was extremely important to him back then. "I was wrong," Tyson admitted Friday.
"I have a lot of pain, and I just want to heal it, and that was part of it, right there."
"He behaved like a man, what can I say," Atlas recollected to fellow analyst Joe Tessitore. "He came over, extended his hand and asked me if I'd shake it and said, 'You're not still mad at me, are you? I wish you wouldn't be.' ... I give him credit for showing a gentleman's side."
ESPN New York's Michael Woods contributed to this report.