MIKE TYSON would go through "horrible emotions of fear" on his menacing, terrifying ring walks, his former sparring partner has revealed.
Big Joe Egan, also known as the Abominable Showman, was aware of Iron Mike's ferocity from an early age.
He ventured to the Catskill mountains in New York state, US, where legendary trainer Cus D'Amato was breaking in the future heavyweight champ.
And it was there where Egan first got whacked with a Tyson body shot, a body shot that he says lifted his feet off the ground.
But while everyone else took a beating, Egan never got knocked out, and Tyson called him the "toughest white man on the planet".
SunSport recalled Tyson's most intimidating ring walk recently, which came against South Africa's Francois Botha at the MGM Grand Las Vegas in 1999.
But despite his outward appearance of pent-up aggression and rage, Egan paints a very different picture of what was going on inside the man's head.
Egan told SunSport: "Mike in the dressing room used to go through horrible emotions of fear. And like Cus used to say to us, ‘There’s a very fine line between the coward and the hero.’
"And that walk to the ring and the waiting around before you get into the ring is very daunting for any fighter. I can tell you myself.
"Once the bell goes to fight, the fear leaves you because it’s time to fight. But the build up, the walk to the cage or ring, it’s very, very emotional for a person because you have all sorts of thoughts going in your head.
"You don’t think about losing. You don’t want to let yourself down. You want to give a good performance. If you give your best and you lose, then you’ve given your best.
"And the emotions that go throw your head, Mike was the same. He’d say to me after a fight, ‘Did I do enough? Have I done enough? Has my opponent done more?’"
Tyson – who at 53 has announced his intention to return to the ring – has definitely mellowed out in old age, probably thanks in part to his massive marijuana empire.
But Egan says even then Tyson, despite the beatings and explosive press conferences, had the same fears as everyone else.
He added: "Mike’s a human being, he’s not a machine. He had the same emotions that his opponent had. What Mike had over his opponents is the fact he had a fear factor because he carried all the invincibility into the ring because of his power.
"When you’ve got the concussive power in the punch, this can send fear into your opponents.
"Mike had that aura of invincibility. He will be remembered as an all-time great.
"Climbing into the ring makes you a man amongst men because you’re overcoming your fear. And that’s what separates fighters from any other sportsmen in the world.
"There’s two ways of describing the word 'fear': face everything and rise or forget everything and run."
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