Less than two years after hitting rock bottom, Mike Tyson looks and talks like a changed man.
Flat broke and grieving over the loss of his 4-year-old daughter, Exodus, Tyson's biggest comeback started three weeks after her death when he married Lakiha Spicer, a devout Muslim, in a chapel at the Las Vegas Hilton.
At his lowest point, he had given up. Depression sent his weight soaring to 350 pounds.
Once known as the baddest man on the planet, the former heavyweight boxing champion spoke joyfully about the new direction his life has taken. The marriage turned his life around, he says.
Now 140 pounds lighter, "I just wanted to give my family a better life ... take care of my health," he said Saturday, before a meet-and-greet at Memorabilia International at Miracle Mile Shops inside Planet Hollywood Resort.
Incredibly, he lost the weight over six months. "A lot of walking, better diet, being a vegan," he said. "A lot of prayer. And all that stuff gave me more perspective and helped me spiritually."
I mentioned seeing a tweet on his Twitter feed that had him predicting "a big year" in 2011.
"God gave me enough last year," he said, before confessing that the tweet wasn't his. "I don't know anything about tweeting. Maybe someone sent it out. I don't know anything about" social media, he said, other than knowing how to turn on a hand-held computer.
He's more familiar with cooing than tweeting.
He and his wife, who goes by Kiki, had a boy two weeks ago.
And there are his pigeons. He's starring in a reality show, "Taking on Tyson," which comes out March 6 and features his pigeons in competition with others in New York and New Jersey.
"It's a sport that goes back to before Christ," said Tyson, who owns 2,500 pigeons. He raised them while growing up but never raced them until now.
Tyson also is in the sequel to "The Hangover" which comes out May 26, and next month he'll be shooting "Men in Black 3."
"I think I'm going to go full-speed ahead and start participating in acting. I used to act when I was younger in some friends' movies, but I didn't know I wanted to do it. Now I'm interested."
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, watching the Super Bowl at Republic Kitchen and Bar in Henderson. Sanchez was with a young woman and her family. ... At Marquee nightclub (Cosmopolitan) on Saturday: Paris and Nicky Hilton, with parents Kathy and Rick and brother Barron; Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb, Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers and Joseph Haden of the Cleveland Browns and funnyman Jamie Kennedy, enjoying a night out before he and expectant wife Rachel Zoe become parents. ... At UFC 126 at Mandalay Bay: Paris Hilton, Shane Victorino, Aaron Rowand, Howard Lederer, Anthony Kiedis, Sam Worthington, Jaime Pressly, Steven Seagal and Rob Burnquist. ... Colorado Rockies star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and former teammate Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals, among a group at N9NE Steakhouse (Palms) that included Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria and Pete Rose. ... At Vince Neil's 50th birthday party Saturday at Blush (Wynn): Flava Flav, Carrot Top, Criss Angel and other local personalities. ... NFL standouts Jamaal Charles and Earl Thomas, hosting the Bikini Bowl on Saturday at Eva Longoria's Eve nightclub in Crystals at CityCenter. ... UFC star Forrest Griffin and fellow fighter Phil Davis, on the red carpet at Lavo (Palazzo) Saturday after Griffin's win over Rich Franklin. ... Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Randy Couture, co-hosting Affliction's after-fight party at Tao on Saturday.
THE PUNCH LINE
"If Mubarak was smart, he'd have gotten the Black Eyed Peas to empty out Tahrir Square two weeks ago." -- From the Twitter feed from Adam Serwer, on the Super Bowl halftime show.