My mother slammed me on the ground, put her knee in my chest, and said, ‘If you don’t get out there and fight that boy, you’re going to have to fight me.’
My mother, Lula Pearl Douglas, was my motivator. At 10 or 11 years old, she made me go out there and face that bully, and when I came into the house crying, she jumped on me bad. It was, like, the next day I went outside, and we were shooting basketball. I called a foul. The bully was like, ‘What?’ And I turned around and said, ‘Foul!’ And I was looking at him, fists all balled up, and he just gave me the ball. Ever since then, he never said anything else to me.
She was my world — my rock. That’s how she was with me and my brothers.
She died three weeks before my fight against Mike Tyson on Feb. 11, 1990, a day that marked my sporting life.