The press conferences never end. One city one day, another city the next. The microphones always are pointed at my face. The sportswriters always ask the same questions. The bar is always open. The meal is always chicken.
I hopscotch my way across America on the way to the great confrontation. Mike Tyson awaits. "How can you even think about fighting Tyson?" the reporters ask in their dull, unimaginative way.
"How can I not?" I reply. "I'm making $1.5 million for one night's work."
"But you've never had a professional fight," they say. "You've never had an amateur fight. As far we can figure, you've never had a fight."
"I've never been knocked down," I say. "I've never been knocked out. I'm unbeaten. I'm a mystery. He's never seen anyone like me. I have an awkward style that might give him trouble—or at least I think I do. Isn't no style an awkward style?"
I'm 46 years old, 5'9", 165 pounds—but I'm hard at work adding bulk. Isn't that what Evander Holyfield is doing, altering his dimensions, in preparation for a shot at Tyson? I'm altering my dimensions. I eat double servings of the chicken at every stop.
The pace is quick, but I'm enjoying it. Talk shows want me. My face is on the cover of national magazines. I'm thinking of getting a tattoo. A butterfly? A scorpion? Perhaps the words LOVE and HATE across my knuckles. "Do you honestly think you have a chance against Tyson?" ask the reporters.
"I have as much chance as anyone in America has," I say.
If opportunity knocks, a man has to respond. That's my feeling—even if opportunity is wearing a 10-ounce Everlast glove. I never thought I would be fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world, but 20 years ago I never thought I would be using a Touch-Tone phone or have Call Waiting. A man has to adapt to changing times.
The promoter—a strange fellow; I didn't catch his name, but he had electro-shock hair that stood straight in the air and he spewed polysyllabic words in a deep voice—apparently picked my name from a long list of nonentities. He appeared on my lawn with a contract in his hand that couldn't be disregarded. I was weeding the garden and wondering where the summer was going. The promoter's message was that I was "The Man, undeniably, irrefutably, indubitably The Man." He mentioned the $1.5 million. I put down my trowel. I told him I was The Man.