Mike Tyson: Boxing’s bad boy

BY: Abigail Bonsu

At the age 20 and four months “Iron” Mike Tyson, became the youngest heavyweight champion in history and perhaps the most sought after in the boxing industry.

Indeed, at a point in time, the stocky American ex-convict was tagged by many in the industry as a money-making machine for boxing’s mafia, but moments of recklessness sent the promising young man back to the gutters.

During this period, Tyson's problems outside boxing were also starting to emerge. His marriage to Robin Givens was heading for divorce and his future contract was being fought over by Don King and Bill Cayton.

In late 1988, Tyson parted with manager Bill Cayton and fired longtime trainer Kevin Rooney, the man many credit for honing Tyson's craft after the death of D'Amato.

Tyson was arrested in July 1991 for the rape of 18-year-old Desiree Washington, Miss Black Rhode Island, in an Indianapolis hotel room. Tyson's rape trial took place in the Indianapolis courthouse from January 26 to February 10, 1992.

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As part of its case, the prosecution documented Tyson's history of problems with attractive young women. He was released on parole.

Tyson's first comeback fight grossed more than US$96 million worldwide, including a United States record $63 million for PPV television. The fight was purchased by 1.52 million homes, setting both PPV viewership and revenue records.

In August 2003, after years of financial struggles, Tyson finally filed for bankruptcy. Amid all his economic troubles, he was named by Ring Magazine at number 16, right behind Sonny Liston, among the 100 greatest punchers of all time in 2003.

Like his boxing life, Tyson has endured an eventful romantic life. His first marriage was to actress Robin Givens which lasted from February 7, 1988 to February 14, 1989. His second marriage was to Monica Turner from April 19, 1997 to January 14, 2003, and Tyson wed for the third time, to long-time girlfriend Lakiha "Kiki" Spicer, then aged 32.

Mike Tyson dropped out of high school as a junior and never graduated, but along with Don King, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Central State University, in Wilberforce, Ohio, by university president, Arthur E. Thomas, in 1989.

A gold medalist at the 1981 and 1982 Junior Olympic Games, Tyson holds the Junior Olympic record for quickest knockout (eight seconds). He won every bout at the Junior Olympic Games by knockout.

He made his professional debut as an 18-year-old on March 6, 1985, in Albany, New York, defeating Hector Mercedes via a first round knockout.  He had 15 bouts in his first year as a professional.
On November 22, 1986, Tyson was given his first title fight against Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight championship, and he won the title by a second round TKO.