Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson
Career Snapshot
Born June 30, 1966
Total Fights 57 (2 No Decisions)
Won 50
Lost 6
Drew 0
Knockouts 44
Titles Won Heavyweight


Michael Gerard Tyson (born June 30, 1966, New York City, USA) is a former professional boxer and World Heavyweight Champion and is considered by some to be one of greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. While in his prime, he routinely defeated prominent opponents in devastating fashion and was once one of the most feared boxers. His once immensely promising career was undermined by serious personal problems, lack of preparation and two periods of imprisonment. Upon release, he attempted a comeback but failed to win any bouts against any noteworthy opponents. Finally on June 11, 2005, Tyson fought his last bout suffering a humiliating defeat to journeyman Kevin McBride and decided to retire from boxing permanently.


Early years

Born in New York City, Tyson has a respect and knowledge of his sport's history, and has been called boxing's most vicious practitioner. As a youth, Tyson was passed in and out of juvenile detention centers and was expelled from high school. He was later removed from reform school by Cus D'Amato. D'Amato had trained champions Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres. He saw Tyson's potential and subsequently trained him. D'Amato, who press accounts of the mid-1980's called a father figure to Tyson, died in 1985. It is possible that had D'Amato lived longer, Tyson would not have developed some or many of the personal, legal, and boxing problems he has had since D'Amato's death, but this is unprovable speculation. Teddy Atlas is another trainer who worked with Tyson in the earlier stages of his career when he was with D'Amato. Atlas has called the legend of "Cus and the kid" largely false. He pointed out that although Cus basically cared about the young fighter, after a point it only had to do with him being champion.

Boxing career

The quick rise to superstardom

Mike Tyson made his debut in the professional ring on March 6, 1985 in Albany, New York. He won the fight in a single round. He had a further fifteen fights in 1985 winning them all by knockout, and almost all in the first round. He fought twelve times in 1986, cutting a dangerous path through improving ranks of journeyman fighters and already attracting attention and courting media controversy (v. Jesse Ferguson). On November 22, 1986 Tyson was given his first title shot, fighting Trevor Berbick for the WBC heavyweight title. It took Tyson two rounds to become, at age 20, the youngest heavyweight champion ever. Tyson's ascent up to this point of his career has been compared by many boxing critics to that of a young Joe Louis.

In 1987, Tyson defended his title against James 'Bonecrusher' Smith on March 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He won on a unanimous points decision and added Smith's WBA title to his existing belt. 'Tyson mania' in the media was becoming rampant. He beat Pinklon Thomas in May with a knock-out in the sixth round. On August 1 he took the IBF title from Tony Tucker, winning on points to become "undisputed heavyweight champion of the world". His only other fight in 1987 was in October against the 1984 Olympic champion Tyrell Biggs, a workmanlike performance from Tyson ending with a seventh round TKO.

Tyson had three fights in 1988. He faced an aged and flabby Larry Holmes on January 22 which finished with a fourth round TKO. He fought an even flabbier Tony Tubbs in Tokyo in March, fitting in an easy two round demolition amid promotional and marketing work. His next opponent, Michael Spinks, had been heavyweight champion but was stripped of the title for not fighting the next contender. Many boxing fans considered Tyson's championship "illegitimate" until he faced and defeated Spinks. On June 27 Tyson devastated Spinks, defeating him in a mere 91 seconds.


But Tyson's problems outside boxing were starting to gain prominence too, his marriage to Robin Givens was heading for divorce, and his future contract was being clawed over by Don King and Bill Cayton. In 1989, Tyson had only two fights amid personal turmoil. He faced the popular British boxer Frank Bruno in February in a below-par fight over five rounds and managed a one round knockout of Carl Williams in July.

By 1990 Tyson had lost direction, his personal life was in disarray and he was not training well. In a fight on February 11 with the little regarded James 'Buster' Douglas he lost to a tenth round KO and despite the protests of his manager over a 'slow count' in the eighth round Tyson lost all his belts to Douglas. Tyson's two other fights in 1990 were confidence regaining first round KOs.

In 1991 Tyson fought Donovan "Razor" Ruddock twice, once in March and again in June. These fights were notable because of Tyson's bizarre "jailhouse" talk towards his opponent. He told Ruddock, "Everyone knows you're a transvestite and you love me. I'm gonna make you my girlfriend. I can't wait to get my hands on a pretty thing like you". There was some controversy over the first fight which Tyson won in the seventh round but at the second fight, which Tyson fought while waiting for a match against the new champion Evander Holyfield, Tyson won on points.

Rape, prison and aftermath

In 1992, Tyson went on trial in Indiana after being arrested there in 1991 for the rape of Miss Black Rhode Island, Desiree Washington in an Indianapolis hotel room. Tyson was convicted on the charge of rape on February 10, 1992 and imprisoned for 3 years of his 6 year sentence. (Under Indiana law, a defendant convicted of a felony must begin serving his prison sentence immediately after the sentence is imposed.) As a result, Tyson did not fight again until 1995.

As he won within one round against Peter McNeeley in August and beat Buster Mathis Jr. in three in December, 1995. In March, 1996 Tyson regained one belt, winning the WBC title from a lumbering Frank Bruno in three rounds. In September, 1996 Tyson won back the WBA in 93 seconds from Bruce Seldon, having paid Lennox Lewis $4 million dollars to 'step-aside'. Tyson was criticized by many for fighting such inferior opposition. For example, it was pointed out that McNeeleys "opponents" had lost almost three fourths of their fights. Mathis was a mediocre, light hitting puncher whose only claim to fame was that his father had also been a boxer who fought Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Seldon was subjected to much ridicule for his first round loss to Tyson because he seemed to go down and out from a very light punch. Many accused him of being so scared he just gave up.

The Holyfield fights

On November 9, 1996 however he faced a tougher challenge in Evander Holyfield, fighting over eleven rounds. Holyfield won with a TKO to become a three-time world champion.

Tyson did not fight again until June of 1997 when there was a hugely anticipated rematch with Holyfield on June 28 for the WBA title. Tyson was disqualified in the third round, when, after losing his temper over a head-butt from Holyfield and coming out without his gum-shield, he bit a chunk from Holyfield's ear. When the referee, Mills Lane, warned him, Tyson went for Holyfield's other ear. On July 9 Tyson was banned from boxing for one year and fined $3 million.


In January 1999 Tyson fought the South African Frans Botha and while Botha initially controlled the fight Tyson landed a single good punch in round five that put Botha down. On February 5 Tyson was sentenced to a year's imprisonment, fined $5,000, and ordered to serve 2 years probation and perform 200 hours of community service for the August 31, 1998 assault on two people after a car accident. He served nine months of that sentence. After his release he fought Orlin Norris on 23 October 1999. Norris claimed to have twisted his ankle in the first round and refused to fight on. The bout was ruled a no contest.

In 2000 Tyson had three fights. The first was staged in England and against Julius Francis, although some fans considered the pre-fight arguments about whether Tyson should be allowed into the country more entertaining than the second round KO of Francis. He also fought Lou Savarese in June in Glasgow, winning in the first round, and in October the notoriously dirty Andrew Golota, winning in round three, a result that was changed to no-contest after Tyson failed a fight-related drug test. Tyson fought only once in 2001 beating Brian Nielsen in Copenhagen with a seventh round TKO.

Tyson sought to fight Lennox Lewis in 2002 in Nevada, but the Nevada boxing commission refused him a license to box as he was facing possible sexual assault charges. Tyson's remarks to Lewis were more vicious than anything he had ever said before. "I want to eat your heart and then eat your children" he screamed. A scuffle at a press conference finally removed any chance of a Nevada fight. The fight actually occurred in June in Memphis, Tennessee. Tyson lost in the eighth round by knockout.

On February 22, 2003, Tyson beat fringe contender Clifford Etienne 49 seconds into round one, once again in Memphis. The pre-fight was marred by rumours of Tyson's lack of fitness and that he took time out from training to party in Las Vegas and have a new facial tattoo.

Hitting rock bottom

In August 2003, after years of financial struggles, Tyson finally filed for bankruptcy. His bank account has been said to have a total of only 5,000 dollars. Amid all his economic troubles, he was named by Ring Magazine at number 16 among all time best hitters in boxing history in 2003.

On July 31, 2004 Tyson faced the unregarded Englishman Danny Williams in another 'come-back' fight staged in Louisville, Kentucky. Tyson dominated the opening two rounds. The third round was more even, with Williams getting in some clean blows and also a few illegal ones, for which he was penalized. In the fourth round Tyson was surprisingly knocked out. He was trying to fight on one leg due to a torn ligament in his leg. Williams put in over twenty unanswered punches although Tyson didn't seem to be hurt by any of the punches. He just seemed to be off balance and when he was knocked down, he didn't try to get back up. This was Tyson's fifth career defeat. Tyson tore the ligament in his knee during the first round. He underwent surgery four days after the fight. His manager Shelly Finkel claimed that Tyson was unable to throw meaningful right hands after the knee injury.

On June 11, 2005, Tyson quit before the seventh round in a close bout against so-called "tomato can" Kevin McBride. After losing his third of the last four of his fights, former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson said he would quit boxing because he hasn't "got the fighting guts or the heart anymore." (BBC SPORT) (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/boxing/4084744.stm).

Tyson will continue paying the bills by promoting web sites and companies. In April of 2005, Tyson joined a group of strippers on the roof of strip club Scores West in New York City to promote skill gaming site FortuneFun.com (http://www.fortunefun.com). Tyson has also endorsed online casino Casino Fortune and previously lent his name to a popular Nintendo game, Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!. In June 2004, sportswriter Sam Kellerman suggested that Tyson move out of boxing and into product endorsement, an arena that worked quite well for boxer George Foreman. In the past Tyson had shunned endorsements, accusing other athletes of putting on a false front to obtain them.

This unfortunate quote was on the front page of USA Today in last Friday's (June 3rd) edition. The quote is from Mike Tyson who sums up his life so far: 'My whole life has been a waste - I've been a failure.' The ex-boxing champ has grossed an estimated $400 million in his career, but filed bankruptcy a couple of years ago. His transparent low self-esteem is displayed in typical fashion with addictions, drugs, sex and spending sprees.

Is it possible to break this cycle of self-destruction? Can a person really draw a line in the sand and create a new start? We all deal with degrees of the same self-talk. 'I'm no good.' 'I'm not smart enough to do that.' Are some people predestined to lives of low self-esteem, and the accompanying self-defeating actions - or can we all make the choices each day that set the stage for a positive future? Is it possible to have tremendous disadvantages and still rise to health, wealth and success?

Mike continues, 'I just want to escape. I'm really embarrassed with myself and my life. I want to be a missionary. I think I could do that while keeping my dignity without letting people know they chased me out of the country. I want to get this part of my life over as soon as possible. In this country nothing good is going to come of me. People put me so high; I wanted to tear that image down.'


Cameos and parodies

  • Tyson's high-pitched voice and distinctive lisp have made him one of the most popular targets for comedians and impersonators throughout his career.
  • In The Simpsons, boxer (and convicted felon) "Drederick Tatum" is clearly modeled on Mike Tyson.
  • In 1987, Nintendo released Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, an NES game based on the arcade game "Punch Out!!", although there was later a version released in 1990 that replaced Mike Tyson with a fictional character, "Mr. Dream" after Nintendo's license with Mike Tyson expired. It is considered to be one of the best games released for the NES, and is highly regarded to this day.
  • In the Japanese version of Capcom's Street Fighter II series, Balrog is called Mike Bison, as a parody of Mike Tyson, possibly called with a full name of "Michael Gerard Bison." Capcom USA switched the names of the Shadaloo Grandmasters around for the American versions in order to avoid a potential lawsuit from Mike Tyson. The character originally named Balrog was renamed Vega. The character originally named Vega was renamed M. Bison.

External link


Template:Succession box three to one
Preceded by:
Frank Bruno
Heavyweight boxing champion (WBC)
Succeeded by:
Lennox Lewis
Preceded by:
Bruce Seldon
Heavyweight boxing champion (WBA)
Succeeded by:
Evander Holyfield

Template:End boxbg:Майк Тайсън de:Mike Tyson fr:Mike Tyson id:Mike Tyson ja:マイク・タイソン pt:Mike Tyson sr:Мајк Тајсон sv:Mike Tyson zh:迈克泰森


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