LAS VEGAS — THE GOVERNOR of Massachusetts apparently is not the only Mike who just doesn't get it.
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson Monday remained his surly self, making it clear he thought anyone who believes the real heavyweight championship will be decided tomorrow night at the Mirage, when James "Buster" Douglas, Tyson's conqueror, makes his first defense against Evander Holyfield, is in need of a CAT scan.
"I don't think much of it," Tyson said from Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, N.J., where he is training for his Dec. 8 fight with Alex Stewart. "The fight ----- as far as I'm concerned. People know I lost, but they don't know who I lost to. To this day there are people who think I still own the title."
After listening to the former champion for 45 minutes, it seemed clear one of them is Tyson, a young man whose ability is exceeded only by his rampaging belief that, even after being knocked unconscious eight months ago, it never happened and he's sticking by that story.
"I'm not upset that they're out there fighting for the title," Tyson said. "What can I say? I made the choice to screw up and be in this position. I said he was lucky because I wasn't in the right frame of mind. I hope Buster wins because next time, I'll stop him. I knocked him down with one punch. Whoever fights me is going to get their --- kicked.
"I'm not angry, because regardless of how people talk about me or what you write about me, you can't take away my talent. I'm always going to be on top."
Except, of course, when he's on his hands and knees groping around on the canvas for his mouthpiece while bearing a strong resemblance to Mr. Magoo looking for his glasses.
Mike Tyson that day in Tokyo was not unlike Mike Tyson Monday in Atlantic City. Both men had unseeing eyes, the only difference being that in Tokyo he was semiconscious from a waterfall of Douglas punches, while Monday he seemed semiconscious from waterfall of his own ego.
Nothing has changed for Tyson, it seems. He insists to anyone who will listen that while Douglas has the belts, he's not the champion. He insists Mike Tyson remains The Man, Mike Tyson calls the shots, Mike Tyson dictates the terms. With or without championship belts, Mike Tyson rules the heavyweight division.
If this were not boxing, the word megalomania might come to mind, for, somehow, the longer Tyson talked, the more it sounded like the bleatings of a petulant child, angry and frustrated that he was not getting his way and confused as to why the adults around him couldn't see the obvious.
"Me and Don [King, Tyson's promoter] make the excitement," Tyson insisted. "Those other guys don't sell diddly. Those guys are a bunch of unknown -----. People only go to the fights to see how they'll do against me.
"[Mirage casino owner] Steve Wynn screwed up giving them those purses ($24 million for Douglas, $8 million for Holyfield). If I fought them, he'd have to give me $50 million or $60 million. I don't know if the fighters are going to hit a financial disaster, but Steve Wynn is going to have a financial disaster.
"If you let the fans put up the money with no promoter, they'd be fighting in a little box in Central Park. These guys believe they're somebody they're not."
If they do, they're not alone.
It was suggested that Tyson's close relationship with King has grown out of Tyson's need to find the family he never had. The father he never knew. The brother he never sees. The sister who died last year. The mother long gone, too. The managers, Cus D'Amato and Jimmy Jacobs, also both dead. The wife who left him after humiliating him on national television.
Everyone gone. Even the one thing he could always count on -- the heavyweight title. Gone. Long gone.
But that's not the way Monday's Child saw it. If they were gone, let them go, he wailed. What did it matter when you're heavyweight champion? Even if you're not.
"Don's my friend, but it's none of your business what I like about him," Tyson said. "What do you like about your wife?
"I'm not looking for no ------- family. I'm my own person. I'm no homeless guy starving for a family. I don't need nobody. I don't even need you to write about me. If anything, people should be glad to be part of my family.
"I make the decisions now and my decisions have been right. As always."
Which explains, of course, why he was in Atlantic City Monday while the heavyweight championship was in Las Vegas.