By Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY
by Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports
In his first interview since declaring himself a "vicious alcoholic" on the "verge of dying," former heavyweight Mike Tyson opened up about his battles staying sober.
"I won't survive if I don't get help," Tyson told Matt Lauer on the TODAY show during a sit-down interview in Las Vegas that Lauer described as "candid, confusing and revealing."
"When I start drinking and I relapse, I think of dying," Tyson said. "I'm in a real dark mood, I think of dying. And I don't know if I want to be around no more."
Tyson surprised the media last week when he used a press conference touting his return as a boxing promoter to confess his battles with addiction.
"I want to change my life, I want to live a different life now," he said at the time. "I want to live my sober life. I don't want to die."
Six days after, Tyson told Lauer he's been sober 12 days.
"It's a real challenge," Tyson said of his fight to stay clean. "I don't know if I like this sober guy. It's hard for me to live normal. Straight is hard."
Tyson, who has an upcoming memoir, HBO special and Fox Sports 1 documentary series, told Lauer he's been fighting demons in his head since he was born.
"Yeah, it is kinda strange and scary,'' Tyson said. "I was born that way."
Though Tyson has been making amends in his life, he still won't apologize for the 1991 incident with Desiree Washington that led to a three-year prison sentence for rape.
"I've done nothing," Tyson said. "I really didn't do anything to to her. I didn't rape her, I didn't beat her, I didn't do anything to her. I'm not going to make amends."
Lauer asked Tyson about whether all his failures will help him succeed in his fight to conquer his addictions.
"100 percent," Tyson said. "No one's failed more than I did. No one's seen more than I've seen. I'm the king of the barbarians. There's no one who can surpass me in the pain I've endured."