Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson is a former heavyweight boxing champion who’s served jail time and known for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear during a 1997 fight.

Tyson who reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990, is often considered the best heavyweight boxer of all time.

Who Is Mike Tyson?

Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight boxing champion of the world in 1986, at age 20. He lost the title in 1990 and later served three years in prison for rape charges. He subsequently earned further notoriety by biting Evander Holyfield’s ear during a rematch in 1997. Tyson has gone on to appear in several films and a Broadway show on his life, become a best-selling author and launch a successful cannabis business.

Early Life

Michael Gerard Tyson was born on June 30, 1966, in Brooklyn, New York, to parents Jimmy Kirkpatrick and Lorna Tyson. When Michael was two years old his father abandoned the family, leaving Lorna to care for Michael and his two siblings, Rodney and Denise. Struggling financially, the Tyson family moved to Brownsville, Brooklyn, a neighborhood known for its high crime. Small and shy, Tyson was often the target of bullying. To combat this, he began developing his own style of street fighting, which ultimately transitioned into criminal activity. His gang, known as the Jolly Stompers, assigned him to clean out cash registers while older members held victims at gunpoint. He was only 11 years old at the time.

He frequently ran into trouble with police over his petty criminal activities, and by the age of 13, he had been arrested more than 30 times. Tyson’s bad behavior landed him in the Tryon School for Boys, a reform school in upstate New York. At Tryon, Tyson met counselor Bob Stewart, who had been an amateur boxing champion. Tyson wanted Stewart to teach him how to use his fists. Stewart reluctantly agreed, on the condition that Tyson would stay out of trouble and work harder in school. Previously classified as learning disabled, Tyson managed to raise his reading abilities to the seventh-grade level in a matter of months. He also became determined to learn everything he could about boxing, often slipping out of bed after curfew to practice punches in the dark.

Meeting Manager Cus D’Amato

In 1980, Stewart felt he had taught Tyson all he knew. He introduced the aspiring boxer to legendary boxing manager Constantine “Cus” D’Amato, who had a gym in Catskill, New York. D’Amato was known for taking personal interest in promising fighters, even providing them room and board in the home he shared with companion Camille Ewald. He had handled the careers of several successful boxers, including Patterson and Jose Torres, and he immediately recognized Tyson’s promise as a contender, telling him, “If you want to stay here, and if you want to listen, you could be the world heavyweight champion someday.”

The relationship between D’Amato and Tyson was more than that of a professional trainer and a boxer — it was also one of a father and son. D’Amato took Tyson under his wing, and when the 14-year-old was paroled from Tryon in September 1980, he entered into D’Amato’s full-time custody. D’Amato set a rigorous training schedule for the young athlete, sending him to Catskill High School during the day and training in the ring every evening. D’Amato also entered Tyson in amateur boxing matches and “smokers” — non-sanctioned fights — in order to teach the teen how to deal with older opponents.

Tyson’s life seemed to be looking up, but in 1982, he suffered several personal losses. That year, Tyson’s mother died of cancer. “I never saw my mother happy with me and proud of me for doing something,” he later told reporters. “She only knew of me as being a wild kid running the streets, coming home with new clothes that she knew I didn’t pay for. I never got a chance to talk to her or know about her. Professionally, it has no effect, but it’s crushing emotionally and personally.” Around this same time, Tyson was expelled from Catskill High for his erratic, often violent behavior. Tyson continued his schooling through private tutors while he trained for the 1984 Olympic trials. 

Tyson’s showing in the trials did not promise great success, as he lost to Tillman, the eventual gold medalist. After failing to make the Olympic team, D’Amato decided that it was time for his fighter to turn professional. The trainer conceived a game plan that would result in breaking the heavyweight championship for Tyson before the young man’s 21st birthday.

Professional Debut

On March 6, 1985, Tyson made his professional debut in Albany, New York, against Hector Mercedes. The 18-year-old knocked Mercedes out in one round. Tyson’s strength, quick fists and notable defensive abilities intimidated his opponents, who were often afraid to hit the fighter. This gave Tyson the uncanny ability to level his opponents in only one round, and earned him the nickname “Iron Mike.”

The year was a successful one for Tyson, but it was not without its tragedies: On November 4, 1985, his trainer and surrogate father, Cus D’Amato, died of pneumonia. Kevin Rooney took over for D’Amato and, less than two weeks later, Tyson continued his climb up the heavyweight rankings. He recorded his thirteenth knockout in Houston, Texas, and dedicated the fight to the man who had molded him into a professional. Those close to Tyson say he never fully recovered from D’Amato’s passing, attributing the boxer’s future behavior to the loss of the man who had previously grounded and supported him.

Heavyweight Champion

By 1986, Tyson had garnered a 22-0 record — 21 of the fights won by knockout. On November 22, 1986, Tyson finally reached his goal: He was given his first title fight against Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship. Tyson won the title by a knockout in the second round. At the age of 20 years and four months, he surpassed Floyd Patterson’s record to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history.

Tyson’s success in the ring didn’t stop there. He defended his title against James Smith on March 7, 1987, adding the World Boxing Association championship to his list of victories. On August 1, he became the first heavyweight to own all three major boxing belts when he seized the International Boxing Federation title from Tony Tucker.

Tyson stepped back into the ring with British boxer Frank Bruno on February 25, 1989, in an effort to retain his world heavyweight title. Tyson went on to knock out Bruno in the fifth round. On July 21, 1989, Tyson defended his title again, knocking out Carl “The Truth” Williams in one round.

Mike Tyson Networth 2021

According to Celebritynetworth.com, Mike Tyson’s net worth is $10 million as of 2021.

For someone who’s had such an illustrious career as Tyson’s had, money shouldn’t be a problem.

However, he lost most of that money due to lawsuits and being a lucrative spender, which included buying expensive mansions, cars and we all know the story of the big cats he owned. In 2003, Tyson filed for bankruptcy, as it was reported he was $23 million in debt.  

Podcasting and his recent bout with Roy Jones Jr. have contributed to the recent hike in his net worth.

Loss to Buster Douglas

Tyson’s winning streak came to an end on February 11, 1990, when he lost his championship belt to boxer Buster Douglas in Tokyo, Japan. Tyson, the clear favorite, sent Douglas to the mat in the eighth round, but Douglas came back in the tenth, knocking Tyson out for the first time in his career.

Discouraged but not ready to give up, Tyson recovered by knocking out Olympic gold medalist — and former amateur boxing adversary — Henry Tillman later that year. In another bout, he defeated Alex Stewart by a knockout in the first round.

Imprisonment and Return to Boxing

In July 1991, Tyson was accused of raping Desiree Washington, a Miss Black American contestant. On March 26, 1992, after nearly a year of trial proceedings, Tyson was found guilty on one count of rape and two counts of deviant sexual conduct. Because of Indiana state laws, Tyson was ordered to serve six years in prison, effective immediately.

Tyson initially handled his stint in prison poorly; he was found guilty of threatening a guard, adding 15 days to his sentence. That same year, Tyson’s father died. The boxer didn’t request leave to attend the funeral. While imprisoned, Tyson converted to Islam and adopted the name Malik Abdul Aziz.

On March 25, 1995, after serving three years of his sentence, Tyson was released from the Indiana Youth Center near Plainfield, Indiana. Already planning his comeback, Tyson arranged his next fight with Peter McNeeley in Las Vegas, Nevada. On August 19, 1995, Tyson won the fight, knocking out McNeeley in just 89 seconds. Tyson also won his next match in December 1995, knocking out Buster Mathis Jr. in the third round.

Holyfield Fights

After several successful fights, Tyson came head-to-head with his next big challenger: Evander Holyfield. Holyfield had been promised a title shot against Tyson in 1990 before Douglas defeated Tyson. Instead of fighting Tyson, Holyfield fought Douglas for the heavyweight title. Douglas lost by knockout on October 25, 1990, making Holyfield the new undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

On November 9, 1996, Tyson faced Holyfield for the heavyweight title. The evening would not end successfully for Tyson, who lost to Holyfield by a knockout in the 11th round. Instead of Tyson’s anticipated victory, Holyfield made history by becoming the second person to win a heavyweight championship belt three times. Tyson claimed he was the victim of multiple illegal head butts by Holyfield, and vowed to avenge his loss.

Tyson trained heavily for a rematch with Holyfield, and on June 28, 1997, the two boxers faced off yet again. The fight was televised on pay-per-view and entered nearly 2 million households, setting a record at the time for the highest number of paid television viewers. Both boxers also received record purses for the match, making them the highest-paid professional boxers in history until 2007.

The first and second rounds provided the typical crowd-pleasing action expected from the two champions. But the fight took an unexpected turn in the third round of the match. Tyson shocked fans and boxing officials when he grabbed Holyfield and bit both of the boxer’s ears, completely severing a piece of Holyfield’s right ear. Tyson claimed that the action was retaliation for Holyfield’s illegal head butts from their previous match. Judges didn’t agree with Tyson’s reasoning, however, and disqualified the boxer from the match.

On July 9, 1997, the Nevada State Athletic Commission revoked Tyson’s boxing license in a unanimous voice vote and fined the boxer $3 million for biting Holyfield. No longer able to fight, Tyson was aimless and unmoored. Several months later, Tyson was dealt another blow when he was ordered to pay boxer Mitch Green $45,000 for a 1988 street-fighting incident. Shortly after the court ruling, Tyson landed in the hospital with a broken rib and a punctured lung after his motorcycle skidded out of control on a ride through Connecticut.

Lewis Fight and Retirement

His next highly publicized fight would be in 2002 with WBC, IBF and IBO champion Lennox Lewis. Tyson was once again fighting for the heavyweight championship, and the match was a very personal one. Tyson made several ugly remarks to Lewis before the fight, including a threat to “eat his children.” At a January press conference, the two boxers began a brawl that threatened to cancel the match, but the fight was eventually scheduled for June of that year. Tyson lost the fight by a knockout, a defeat that signaled the decline of the former champion’s career.

After losing to Danny Williams in July 2004 and to Kevin McBride in June 2005, Tyson announced his retirement. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June 2011.

Boxing Record

Tyson took part in a total of 58 fights in his professional career. Fifty of those he won, 44 of them being by knockout. Among the fights he did not win, he officially lost six, while two fell into the category of no contest.

Marriage to Robin Givens, Arrests

Tyson’s rise from childhood delinquent to boxing champ put him at the center of the media’s attention. Met with sudden fame, Tyson began partying hard and stepping out with various Hollywood stars. In the ’80s, Tyson set his sights on actress Robin Givens. The couple began dating, and on February 7, 1988, he and Givens married in New York.

But Tyson’s game seemed to be on the decline, and after several close calls in the ring, it became clear that the boxer’s edge was slipping. Once known for his complicated offensive and defensive moves, Tyson seemed to continually rely on his one-punch knockout move to finish his bouts. The boxer blamed his long-time trainer, Rooney, for his struggles in the ring and fired him in mid-1988.

As his game was falling apart, so was Tyson’s marriage to Givens. Allegations of spousal abuse began to surface in the media in June of 1988, and Givens and her mother demanded access to Tyson’s money for a down payment on a $3 million home in New Jersey. That same year, police were called to Tyson’s home after he began throwing furniture out of the window and forced Givens and her mother to leave the home.

That summer, Tyson also found himself in court with manager Bill Cayton, in an effort to break their contract. By July 1988, Cayton had settled out of court, agreeing to reduce his share from one-third to 20 percent of Tyson’s purses. Soon after, Tyson struck up a partnership with boxing promoter Don King. The move seemed like a step in the right direction for the boxer, but his life was spiraling out of control both in and out of the ring.

Tyson’s behavior during this time became increasingly violent and erratic. In August 1988, he broke a bone in his right hand after a 4 a.m. street brawl with Green. The next month, Tyson was knocked unconscious after driving his BMW into a tree at D’Amato’s home. Tabloids later claimed the accident was a suicide attempt brought on from excessive drug use. He was fined $200 and sentenced to community service for speeding.

Later that September, Givens and Tyson appeared in an interview with Barbara Walters in which Givens described her marriage as “pure hell.” Shortly thereafter, she announced that she was filing for divorce. Tyson countersued for a divorce and an annulment, beginning an ugly months-long court process.

This was just the beginning of Tyson’s struggles with women. In late 1988, Tyson was sued for his inappropriate attentions toward two nightclub patrons, Sandra Miller and Lori Davis. The women sued Tyson for allegedly forcefully grabbing, propositioning and insulting them while out dancing. On February 14, 1989, Tyson’s split with Givens became official.

Drop your Comments Below