Famous boxer Mike Tyson is known for his abilities in the ring as well as his love for animal life. He keeps all kinds of exotic pets, including Bengal tigers, animals he spends roughly $220,000 a year on.
There were times, however, when Tyson’s love of exotic animals took a slightly different turn.
In the 1980s, Tyson arranged to have a zoo open privately for himself and his wife Robin Givens to enjoy. But that wasn’t all that Tyson wanted. The highlight of his after-hours zoo viewing was actually supposed to be a brawl with a silverback gorilla.
“I paid a worker at New York’s zoo to re-open it just for me and Robin,” said Tyson. “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.”
Tyson wasn’t happy to see the silverback pushing the others around, so he came up with an unusual request.
“I offered the attendant $10,000 to open the cage and let me smash that silverback’s snotbox!” said Tyson. “He declined.”
Tyson, 52, made history in 1986 when he became the world’s youngest heavyweight boxing champion. But it was his exploits both in and out of the boxing ring that continued to pull him into the spotlight long after he set his record.
After serving a three-year sentence on charges of rape, Tyson returned to the ring, where he continued to make an impression. In 1997, during a match, he bit off the ear of his opponent, Evander Holyfield.
During his heyday, Tyson became known by the nickname “Iron Mike” for his amazing defensive moves.
He often knocked his opponents out in one round. During his career, he participated in 58 fights, 50 of which he won. He only officially lost six, while the other two were ruled as no contest.
His amazing defense was frightening for his opponents, many of whom were openly fearful of him. Tyson’s claim of the world record came when he was only 20 years old. He later became the first heavyweight boxer to lay claim to all of the major boxing belts.
But Tyson, admittedly, never fought a silverback gorilla, for which he can count himself lucky.
The animals are notoriously strong and brutal fighters. They are, on average, roughly six feet tall. The males weigh about 350 pounds.
If you need more proof of their enormous strength, consider that silverback gorillas can topple a banana tree with nothing but their hands. In fact, they are easily among the top 10 strongest animals on the entire planet.
A silverback gorilla’s enormous muscles make it possible to lift roughly 1,800 pounds, making it between four and nine times stronger than the average human male. Humans can only manage to lift about 220 pounds at one time.
Gorillas don’t just walk on their legs — they also use their arms to maneuver on the ground.
This gives their arms even more muscle tone. In fact, they are so strong, they can kill a crocodile with their bare hands.
But it’s not just raw strength that makes gorillas so powerful. It’s also their low center of gravity in addition to their weight, reflexes, and defensive instincts. Without reservation, and with incredible muscle and instinct at their disposal, silverback gorillas can fight with a level of power that human beings could never begin to imagine. They can also bear more physical pain and damage than humans can, and continue fighting fiercely even when injured.
What’s the bottom line? Mike Tyson is lucky that a zookeeper wasn’t swayed by his offer of $10,000.
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