ORLANDO, Fla. – It's been said that politics are comparable to boxing. That line is typically followed, however, by the punchline: But there are rules in boxing.
This year in Florida, however, there's a very real connection to the two.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Greene, whose net worth is more than $3.3 billion, recently sat down with News 6 anchor Justin Warmoth to discuss the upcoming race to replace Gov. Rick Scott, who's running for Senate after serving the maximum two terms as the leader of Florida.
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"I met Mike maybe 15 years ago," Greene said. "Honestly, I expected the kind of monstrous guy that we all expected. I think that a lot of people have learned that there's a different Mike Tyson. Everyone thinks about the Holyfield fight, biting ears, his horrible rape conviction. This is tough stuff, and I expected somebody who was really -- when somebody brought him to a barbecue at my house, I thought maybe he'll start a fight. I didn't know what to expect."
But Greene, who made his fortune in the real estate business, said he discovered something entirely different.
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"What I found was a very gentle, soft-spoken guy. A very brilliant guy with a great sense of humor," Greene said. "This is a kid who grew up in the worse circumstances. When I think of Mike, I think of what a lot of Floridians are going through. He had nothing going for him."
Greene said he was hanging out with Tyson late one night when Greene asked him what he learned, other than boxing, from his mentor, Cus D'Amato.
"Mike said Cus told him, 'Kid, you may be the greatest boxer ever, but don't forget, no matter what happens, you've got to get fannies in the seats,'" Greene said. "All of sudden, I said to myself, 'Ah, now I get it.' He was just selling tickets. He made some big mistakes, but I believe everyone deserves a second chance."
Greene said Tyson reminds him of many children in Florida, living with parents who are in trouble or addicted to drugs.
"With all the problems he's had, he's done a lot better than others have had," Greene said.
Greene said the state of Florida needs to take better care of the most vulnerable: children and the elderly. He cited education, health care and Hurricane Irma, which left several nursing home residents dead because a generator could not power the air conditioning, as examples.
"That's what makes me a Democrat," Greene said. "I learn from everyone I meet, and I've learned from Mike Tyson. People talk about the bad, but he's emerged from very, very difficult circumstance to where he is today."
Greene also took a shot at Scott during his interview with Warmoth.
"You can't take this attitude that every man is for himself like Gov. Rick Scott has done for eight years now. We have to find a way for everyone to do as well as they possibly can," Greene said. "I've got the track record, I've got the passion and I've got the skill to be a great governor and really look after the most vulnerable in Florida."
Greene has also had run-ins with another celebrity, someone who is now the president of the United States. As a member of President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in West Palm Beach, Greene explained their relationship, or lack of one.
"I never was his friend. I've never had dinner or lunch with him. I've never had his phone number," Greene said. "Donald Trump has been a disaster for this country."
In total, five Democrats and two Republicans are running to be the Sunshine State's 47th governor.
The primary election will be held Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.
Let's get ready to rumble!