mike tyson on stage *(Via ESPN) – From mugger to motivational speaker, the life of Mike Tyson has been a long, strange trip indeed.

Saturday, in Brisbane, he launched a five-city tour of Australia called “Mike Tyson’s Day Of The Champions,” subheaded “Unleash The Spirit Of The Champion Within You.” If the concept of Tyson as a motivational speaker strikes you as counterintuitive, you’re not alone. The itinerary originally called for a stop in New Zealand, but Tyson was denied a visa to enter the land of the Kiwi due to his criminal past.

“The last five years, he’s reinvented himself,” argued tour promoter Max Markson, which on the surface appears to be true. But has Tyson really reinvented himself or has the mellow Mike been there all along, subjugated by circumstances both within and outside of his control?

Whatever the case, Tyson has nobody but himself to blame for his public persona. Forget the champion within. For decades he unleashed the spirit of his inner monster and seemingly reveled in his self-declared designation as the “baddest man on the planet.” Nonetheless, anybody who spent time with him away from the flash mob of media that once dogged his every footstep will tell you Mike was always much more than a raging thug-turned-prizefighter. This was just as true during his reign of terror on both sides of the ring ropes as it is today.

Read/learn more at ESPN.

Watch this video package on Tysons one-man show: