There are those who follow boxing like it is a religion. Now Mike Tyson will serve as something of a connection between the boxing and religious worlds.
David Hrvatin of WKYC-TV in Cleveland, via USA Today, noted that Tyson lived in a now abandoned mansion about 50 miles southeast of Cleveland for part of the 1980s and 1990s when he was the biggest name in the sport. He lived there to be closer to boxing promoter Don King.
That mansion, which still has Tyson’s name on the gates at the front entrance, is now set to become a church.
Per Hrvatin, Tyson sold the 13,500-square-foot mansion with nearly 6,000 additional square feet in the basement in 1999 to TV marketer Paul Monea. However, Monea was convicted of conspiracy and money laundering charges and never lived there.
The mansion was sold at a sheriff’s sale in 2010 to health-club entrepreneur Ron Hemelgarn, who then donated it to The Living Word Sanctuary. The Living Word Sanctuary plans to turn it into a church and youth center.
Caters News (via the New York Daily News) went into detail about what is actually in the lavish mansion and passed along a quote from photographer Johnny Joo:
As I wandered the halls and rooms, I imagined the wild parties which must have taken place within these walls.
The pool was probably my favorite — just because of how incredibly large it was and thinking how vibrant it was at one point in time. The room was bigger than three of my houses. It was pretty incredible to look at while standing at one end. Everything was so full of life and now simply collects dust…
My journeys have taken me to some strange places but nothing quite like the abandoned home of a former professional boxer. It felt cold, rather empty and eerie — not so much a creepy eerie but a more interesting one.
Those walls surely have some stories to tell.