TEDDY ATLAS put a gun to the head of a 15-year-old Mike Tyson in an incident he believes cost him £30million – but he regrets nothing.
Atlas, now an esteemed trainer having worked with 18 world champions, became Tyson's first ever coach while they were both under the tutelage of the late, great, Cus D'Amato.
Together, training at D'Amato's famous Catskill gym in New York, Atlas and Tyson won two junior Olympic gold medals.
But their relationship ended after Atlas alleges Tyson, 15 at the time, made inappropriate advances to his 11-year-old niece.
One night in 1982 the trainer confronted Iron Mike, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger – missing on purpose – but did so to "take care" of his family.
Atlas claims D'Amato – who had just adopted Tyson – offered him five per cent of the boxer's career earnings in a bid to keep the allegations secret.
But feeling betrayed by D'Amato and those around him, Atlas left the gym and kept quiet – and doubts any agreement would have been honoured anyway.
In an exclusive interview with SunSport, Atlas, 63, said: “I did what I did because of what he did and then I was done.
“Cus was worried about losing custody of him (because of allegations). Cus wanted to make sure he had control of him and could be a foster parent, and if word got out that he was doing the things he was doing, which led to me doing what I did then Cus would have lost him.
“Cus didn’t want that to happen, so he sent someone to me and said if I stay quiet – and I wasn't going to talk anyway what the flip was I going to say, I wasn’t made up that way – I did my talking when I did what I had to do with the guy.
“But Cus was worried the word would get out and he wanted me to keep quiet about it and offered me five per cent of Tyson’s earnings for the rest of his career.
“I said no. Maybe because I’m stupid – but I don’t think I’m stupid – but I wanted nothing to do with them, I felt completely betrayed by what happened, from both sides, even from Cus.
“I told them to go shove it up their ass. But at that point my responsibility was my family and to take care of them.
“I never thought they’d keep their word with (the offer) but as time went on I always thought I can only control what I can control and that was how I acted and what was important to me and how I took care of my responsibilities, which was my family."
Tyson has always denied that approached Atlas' niece inappropriately, instead saying in a 2013 interview with Graham Bensinger that Atlas was leaving D'Amato and wanted him to come too – and when he refused, the gun was pulled.
But in the same year, Tyson – promoting his first boxing show – publicly embraced Atlas live on ESPN insisting he wanted to "make amends" with his first trainer.
The legendary heavyweight – who spent three years in prison for a 1992 rape conviction – made an estimated £300m in his career, meaning Atlas, had he remained his trainer, would have pocketed a coach's usual 10 per cent split – equating to £30m.
But Atlas doesn't allow himself to think about what he lost that day he put a gun to Tyson's head – instead focusing on what he achieved afterwards.
He said: “I’m human, look he made $400million in his career, my percentage would have earned me $40m, would I have liked that? Yes, did I dwell on that and think about it? No.
“I went on to become a trainer and I went on to continue training fighters. Once you stick to that commitment there is no thought of ‘Oh jeez, I could have made this much money’.
“There was no thought about that because that wasn’t the reality, they did what they did and I did what I did."
Tyson – still the youngest man to become world heavyweight champion, at 20 – retired in 2005, after losing to Kevin McBride and walked away with a record of 50-6-2.
But the reformed Baddest Man on the Planet has been training for the last three weeks after announcing shock plans to make a comeback and compete in exhibition bouts for charity.
Atlas, meanwhile, puts his time into commentary and analysis for ESPN, his popular podcast while also recently publishing an eBook, documenting his life as a rebellious youth turned world champion trainer.
He has cornered heavyweight champions Michael Moorer, Shannon Briggs and Alexander Povetkin as well as Wilfred Benitez – who at 17 became the youngest boxer to win a title – and Timothy Bradley.
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