"Sometimes I feel like a bitch because I don't want that person to come out ... 'cause if he comes out hell is coming with him."
That's Mike Tysongetting extremely emotional talking about the monster he used to be -- and although Mike says he's a changed man, he's deathly afraid of relapsing.
The boxing legend opened up with Sugar Ray Leonard on the "Hotboxin' with Mike Tyson" podcast ... saying he felt "empty" after his boxing career wrapped up.
"I know the art of fighting, I know the art of war. That’s all I’ve ever studied. That’s why I’m so feared, that’s why they feared me when I was in the ring. I was an annihilator, that’s all I was born for," Mike said.
"Now those days are gone. It’s empty, I’m nothing."
"I’m working on being the art of humbleness. That’s the reason I’m crying, 'cause I’m not that person no more, and I miss him."
Tyson continued, "And, it’s not funny at all. It's not cool like I’m a tough guy. It’s just that I hate that guy, I’m scared of him."
53-year-old Tyson says Leonard knew him back in his heyday -- and knows that he's changed his life -- but it's been a challenging process to get to where he is now.
"That guy's kind of dead now," Mike said ... "but that wasn't easy. That guy didn't want to leave. He wasn't leaving easy. He fought, screamed and cried and scratched all the way until he died, you know?"