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Educating Mike

Mike Tyson has been in prison for two years. In the latest issue of Esquire, Pete Hamill, who visited the former heavyweight champ, describes a changed man.

Tyson has grown a beard and mustache, his weight is down, and his arms are tattooed _ the left with the face of Arthur Ashe and the name of his book, Days of Grace; the right with the image of Mao Zedong.

The boxer said he has embarked upon a program of self-education, reading Ashe's book (sent to him by Spike Lee), George Jackson's Soledad Brother; F. Scott Fitzgerald, Machiavelli, Ernest Hemingway, Candide, The Count of Monte Cristo and biographies of Mao, Karl Marx and Genghis Khan. "In casual talk," writes Hamill, Tyson "scatters references to Hannibal, Alexander the Great, Oliver Cromwell."

He's worked on other aspects of his education, too. "Like percentages," said Tyson. "I just never learned it, it was one of the holes. I mean, later on I knew what a percentage was, you know, from a $10-million purse, but I didn't know how to do it myself. That was always the job of someone else. One thing now, I can figure out how to leave a tip. There's restaurants out there where I should eat for free for a couple of years."

It's her charm

"(Tonya) Harding and her down-home All-American appeal and charm will knock the winter socks off many Americans. Add to this that she is a young woman and happily married and you have an excellent spokesperson for family oriented products and services."

_ Oct. 1991 news release from the Sports Marketing Group of Dallas, reprinted in Smart Money magazine.