So, here’s an unlikely dynamic duo: Justin Bieber and Mike Tyson?
Besides sharing an interest in tattoos, the 18-year-old prince of pop and the 46-year-old former heavyweight boxing champion don’t immediately seem like they would be fast friends. But it turns out that Tyson is a fan of Bieber’s music -- his latest acoustic album in particular.
"I just think he's pretty awesome," Tyson told MTV this week. "And I think his cut with Big Sean ['As Long As You Love Me'] was pretty awesome too."
We know that Tyson bought Bieber’s latest release in late January, since he tweeted that he was looking forward to listening to it last week. But apparently his fandom has been heavily influenced by the women in his life: Tyson sent a video message of luck to Bieber after he saw “Never Say Never” with his daughter, and he credits his taste in music to his wife Lakiha Spicer.
“If you saw my iPad, I have everything. My wife puts everything on my iPad. You know, 'Justin? Let's put him in there. Let's put Rihanna in there. Let's put Kendrick Lamar in there' … My wife's got everything on there, she's got Shania Twain — I don't know why she put that in there — and I can't remember some of the other stuff,” he said.
But Tyson is more than just an admirer of Bieber’s music; he’s also a supporter of the teen’s interest in the sport of boxing. Last May, TMZ reported that the two hit the heavy bag together in a training session, which just happened to be a few days before Bieber was accused of getting into an altercation with the paparazzi (the charges were eventually dropped). That’s just one of many scandals to hit the young pop star recently, not the least of which are photos of him allegedly smoking pot, allegedly spitting in a radio host’s water bottle, mooning the entire Internet, and groping a fan. But Tyson isn’t worried about Bieber possibly falling into a downward spiral.
"Justin's not having any problems. He should just enjoy his life; nothing's wrong, he's not doing anything bad or anything," Tyson said. "Weed is not necessarily a problem. He hasn't gotten arrested or anything, or in a car wreck. He's a really awesome kid, and he earned everything he has.”
Though Tyson doesn’t seem like the same ear-biting, children-eating-threat-making athlete who spent six years in jail for rape anymore, he’s still an unexpected role model for Bieber. But that hasn’t stopped the “Believe” singer from befriending controversial boxers before.
Around the same time as Bieber trained with Tyson, he also watched his friend Floyd Mayweather beat Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas, along with rappers 50 Cent and Lil Wayne. He even joined Mayweather in the ring and held his championship belt. At the time, Mayweather was about to serve 90 days for domestic abuse, but Bieber defended the athlete as a "hard-working and clean-cut guy" who's "misunderstood."
His friendship with Mayweather might have led to another one of Bieber’s media troubles – a conflict with the Philippines. After Bieber insulted boxer Manny Pacquiao – Mayweather’s biggest rival – on his Instragram account, Pacquiao’s native country threatened to ban the singer if he did not apologize.
In between spins of Bieber, Rihanna, and Shania Twain, Tyson is busy promoting an upcoming appearance on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and a one-man play “Undisputed Truth,” directed by Spike Lee. Since Bieber has appeared on “CSI,” “The Simpsons,” and he might soon be producing a TV sitcom based on his life, maybe he’s got a few tips for Tyson, too.