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It's not often when two high-profile celebrities share a genuine friendship once the cameras aren't pointed their way.
But Mike Tyson an Tupac Shakur's bond was one for the ages as during hardships it not only survived, but thrived.
Legendary rapper Tupac was always a mega boxing fan and his love towards the sport brought him close to none other than legendary boxer Mike.
But their first meeting might come as a surprise to many, as Mike actually had no idea who on earth Tupac was.
According to Mike, the pair had met for the first time in a nightclub, however Tupac had not yet achieved as much as he went on to in his career at the time.
Mike Tyson and Tupac Shakur shared a very close friendship up until the rapper's tragic death
(Image: Tupac Shakur/Instagram)
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Mike invited the Changes hitmaker inside the club, but Tupac ended up bringing 50 people in with him.
It was then when Tupac grabbed a mic and began to rap, leaving everyone speechless – including Mike.
After the night passed, Tupac went over to thank the boxer for inviting him in, but what the pair didn't know back then was that their friendship would soon become set in stone.
The pair spent a lot of time together, and soon became very close pals.
With Tupac's music already topping the charts worldwide, it's safe to say Mike finally had a pretty good idea of who he was.
But their friendship was put to the ultimate test in 1992, when Mike was convicted for for rape.
Tupac was killed in a drive-by shooting in September 1996
(Image: The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
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Still, Tupac made sure to visit the troubled boxer behind bars regularly – something Mike still recalls to this day.
Although many famous faces visited the heavyweight champ in prison, Mike admits it was the rapper's visits that always had the biggest impact on his fellow inmates.
Recalling his visits in a 2017 interview, Mike said: "The white prisoners, the guards, everybody went crazy in this redneck prison.
"They went nuts when he came in there. I didn't know he was famous like that."
But although the inmates went wild with excitement when Tupac walked in, the guards had a different reaction.
"The guards didn’t like him, the inmates got rowdy and pumped up when he came which is a safety concern," Mike explained.
Tupac visited pal Mike in prison many times
(Image: Ron Galella Collection via Getty)
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Mike added: "He was a bolt of energy there. When he came in everybody knew him, he had mad respect. That’s how he lived his life, he had mad respect."
And while Mike was caged for rape, Tupac was also arrested at the time on sexual assault charges, and later jailed.
Tupac would serve nine months before being released in October 1995, just 11 months before he was fatally shot.
Mike recalled: "When I came back in 1995 and I was fighting Bruce Seldon, he came to the fight.
"Man, he was very excited because we had both been incarcerated and we both came out and we were very successful, like we both thought we would be."
Tupac's death in a drive-by shooting in September 1996 shocked the globe tremendously.
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The rapper was just 25 when he was shot four times – twice in the chest, once in the arm and once in the thigh – as he pulled up outside a nightclub in Las Vegas with Death Row Records boss Suge Knight.
He was then said to have spent the following six days in a coma – with his entourage maintaining a round-the-clock vigil in case his attackers returned to finish the job, before dying of internal bleeding.
That same evening, Mike has just emerged victorious over Bruce Seldon at legendary boxing venue the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
'Iron Mike' was crowned the WBA heavyweight championship and went on to celebrate with Tupac that night.
Recalling the evening in a 2018 interview, Mike was reminded that Tupac was there to celebrate the win with him – leaving Mike lost for words.
After bursting into tears, Mike struggled for the right words to say.
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“[Tupac] was really happy after the fight,” he recounted through tears. “He came to a press conference with me. We was just talking a bunch of shit. I went home and then he left.
"I was home sleeping [when he was shot]. They wouldn't let me see him."
The former boxer revealed he wasn’t allowed to see the rapper after he was rushed to hospital following the shooting.
Recalling their close bond, Mike said: “It’s very difficult to talk about. He was just a young kid, and he wanted to be great – and then that happened.”
Tyson lost his two next fights after Tupac's death – both to Evander Holyfield – and fought another 10 more times before retiring in 2005.
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Looking back on his life in a recent interview, Mike could easily pick out a number of missteps as his biggest regret.
The former champ, however, has something else in mind: smoking with Tupac.
“He always wanted me to smoke weed with him, and I never did it, and I wish I did,” he told AP in 2010.
After receiving countless offers from Tupac to smoke with him, Mike declined each time.
“That’s my biggest regret,” he says.
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