Mike Tyson Will Take Your Pigeons, Please

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Photo: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

It would be easy to assume that Mike Tyson's first passion was boxing. The heavyweight boxing champ and convicted rapist has a body and a face tattoo built for the sport. But no, no, you'd be wrong. Mike Tyson loves him some pigeons — and he's got a new Animal Planet show called Taking on Tyson to prove it.

It was growing up on the streets of the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville where Tyson first cultivated his love of racing pigeons. As a kid, Tyson never actually raced — he just watched from afar, and loved it. But later on, Tyson, who fell into deep despair after serving a three-year sentence for rape, began working with the birds as a form of therapy. He found solace in communing with the animals. "This is what we do. Our lives are dedicated to pigeons, even when I have been fighting or getting locked up," he explained.

Why does Tyson love pigeons, some of the most reviled creatures in the city? Their loyalty and skill. And lest you think all street pigeons are created equal, "The pigeons we race are the crème de la crème of pigeons. ... They have the best bloodlines." [NYDN]