Mike Tyson once offered a zookeeper $ 10,000 in the hope he’d let him fight a silverback gorilla.
The legendary former heavyweight champion told the story of how his offer was declined on a day he’d hired out the entire zoo just for him and his wife at the time, Robin Givens.
Tyson said: “I paid a worker at New York’s zoo to re-open it just for me and Robin.
“When we got to the gorilla cage there was one big silverback gorilla there just bullying all the other gorillas.
“They were so powerful but their eyes were like an innocent infant.
“I offered the attendant $ 10,000 to open the cage and let smash that silverback’s snot box. He declined.”
Tyson would get his chance to own powerful animals and wrestle with them in years to come.
The former undisputed king kept multiple white tigers in his home for more than a decade between the 1990s/2000s.
He explained: “I had three of them in my house.
“This is how it happened, I was in prison and I was talking to one of my friends who I bought exotic cars from.
“He was saying a friend he knew owed him money.
“And he said, ‘If he doesn’t pay me any money I’mma take some of these cars and trade them in for some animals.’
“I said, ‘What kind of animals?’ He said, ‘Horses and stuff. Mike they have some nice tigers and lions too. If you got one of those that would be so cool.’
“I said, ‘Yeah that would be true. Why don’t you order me a couple? I’m getting out in a couple of months.’
“So when I got out I came home and I had two cubs.”
Eventually Tyson – the original ‘Tiger King’ – came to the realisation that the animals should not be domesticated and so donated them to a sanctuary after 14 years.
When asked about a rumour suggesting his tiger jumped over a fence and attacked a neighbour, Tyson clarified: “No, not that’s not what happened.
“Somebody jumped over my fence where the tiger was and jumped in their habitat and started playing with the tiger.
“And the tiger didn’t know the lady so it was a bad accident.
“She jumped in the property where the tiger was at.
“They tried to [sue me] until they found out she jumped over the fence and she trespassed the tiger.
“And listen, when I saw what the tiger did to her hand, I had a lot of money back then, so I gave her $ 250,000 or whatever it was.
“Because she was just f***ed up.”