|Mike Tyson, right, wishes he had another chance to smoke weed with Tupac.
Boxing great Mike Tyson recalls his friendship with rap icon Tupac Shakur in a new documentary airing on ESPN Tuesday night. The film, One Night In Vegas: Tyson & Tupac, chronicles the pair’s friendship and the night in 1996 when Shakur was shot on the Las Vegas Strip.
Tyson said he turned down the pot because he was a “closet smoker” and “didn’t want it to get out” that he smoked weed.
“That’s my biggest regret,” Tyson says now, when he looks back on the lost opportunity.
Shakur, 25, was shot after a Tyson fight in Vegas on September 7, 1996. He died six days later.
”He didn’t last long, but the time he did last, every minute, every tenth of a moment was explosive,” Tyson said.
Tyson said the relationship bloomed when he was serving prison time for rape in 1992.
“Every day, he would call me or get a chance to call me or send a message,” said Tyson. “He would get word to me in prison.”
By the time Tyson was released in 1995, Shakur would be jailed for sex abuse; he was released on bond later that year.
When he got out of prison, Tyson and Shakur’s friendship deepened. Tyson said that both men had difficulty finding people who truly cared for them.
“Our problem was we always had to worry about someone betraying us, our closest friends,” Tyson said.
Tyson said that Shakur once criticized him for picking a song from rapper Redman as his intro music at a fight.
“He said, ‘Don’t you ever play those [expletive]songs again, they don’t give a [expletive]about you,’ ” Tyson said.
After that talk, Tyson said he decided Shakur’s tunes would be his intro music for life.
And it was partly because of Tyson choosing Shakur’s music as his fight intro that Shakur went to Tyson’s fight in Las Vegas that fateful night in 1996. Pac made a special rap for Tyson’s big night.
After the fight — which Tyson won with a knockout — Shakur planned to join Tyson at a victory party. But he didn’t live long enough.
“I felt extremely guilty because I felt if he didn’t come to this fight, that would have never have happened,” Tyson said. “It’s just so crazy that we had talked every day for a week.”
Tyson, 44, said the world never really “got” the real Tupac.
“He was probably a misguided warrior,” Tyson said. “He had a heart as big as this planet. He had so much love and compassion, and you couldn’t even see it under his rage.”