Michael Gerard "Iron Mike" Tyson (born June 30, 1966) is a retired American boxer. He was the undisputed heavyweight champion and remains the youngest man ever to win a world heavyweight title at just 20 years old. Throughout his career, Tyson became well-known for his controversial behavior both inside and outside the ring.
Nicknamed "Kid Dynamite", "Iron Mike," and "The Baddest Man on the Planet," Tyson won his first 19 professional bouts by knockout, 12 in the first round. He unified the belts in the splintered heavyweight division in the late 1980s. Tyson was the undisputed heavyweight champion for over two years, before losing to 42-to-1 underdog Buster Douglas in 1990.
In 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping Desiree Washington, for which he served three years in prison. After being released from prison in 1995, he engaged in a series of comeback fights. He regained a portion of the heavyweight title, before losing it to Evander Holyfield in 1996 by an 11th round TKO. Their 1997 rematch ended in disqualification for Tyson after he bit off a piece of Holyfield's ear and an attempt to repeat the same a second time a few minutes later during the same match. He fought for a championship again at 35, losing by knockout to Lennox Lewis in 2002. Tyson retired from competitive boxing in 2005 after two consecutive knockout losses to Danny Williams and journeyman Kevin McBride.
Tyson declared bankruptcy in 2003, despite receiving over US$30 million for several of his fights and $300 million during his career.
Tyson was later removed from reform school by D'Amato. Kevin Rooney also trained Tyson under D'Amato, and they were occasionally assisted by Teddy Atlas, who was dismissed by D'Amato when Tyson was 15. Rooney eventually took over all training duties for the young boxer.
Tyson's brother Rodney, older by five years, is a physician's assistant in the trauma center of the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. He has always been very supportive of his brother's career and was often seen at Tyson's boxing matches in Las Vegas, Nevada. When asked about their relationship, Tyson has been quoted saying, "My brother and I see each other occasionally and we love each other," and "My brother was always something and I was nothing."
Tyson's first nationally televised bout took place on February 16, 1986, at Houston Field House in Troy, NY against journeyman heavyweight Jesse Ferguson. Tyson knocked down Ferguson with an uppercut in the fifth round that broke Ferguson's nose. During the sixth round, Ferguson began to hold and clinch Tyson in an apparent attempt to avoid further punishment. After admonishing Ferguson several times to obey his commands to box, the referee finally stopped the fight near the middle of the sixth round. Initially ruled a win for Tyson by disqualification (DQ) of his opponent, the ruling was subsequently "adjusted" as a win by technical knockout (TKO) after Tyson's corner protested that a DQ win would end Tyson's string of knockout victories, and that a knockout would have been the inevitable result. The rationale offered for the revised outcome was that the fight was actually stopped because Ferguson could not (rather than would not) continue boxing.
On November 22, 1986, Tyson was given his first title fight against Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight championship. Tyson won the title by second round TKO, and at the age of 20 years and 4 months became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.
Because of Tyson's strength, many fighters were said to be too intimidated to hit him and this was backed up by his outstanding hand speed, accuracy, coordination, power, and timing. Tyson was also noted for his defensive abilities. Holding his hands high in the Peek-a-Boo style taught by his mentor Cus D'Amato, he slipped and weaved out of the way of the opponent's punches while closing the distance to deliver his own punches. One of Tyson's trademark combinations was to throw a right hook to his opponent's body, then follow it up with a right uppercut to his opponent's chin.
Tyson had three fights in 1988. He faced Larry Holmes on January 22, 1988, and defeated the legendary former champion by fourth round knockout. This was the only knockout loss Holmes suffered in 75 professional bouts. In March, Tyson then fought contender Tony Tubbs in Tokyo, Japan, fitting in an easy two-round victory amid promotional and marketing work.
On June 27, 1988, Tyson faced Michael Spinks. Spinks, who had taken the heavyweight championship from Larry Holmes via a 15-round decision in 1985, had not lost his title in the ring but was not recognized as champion by the major boxing organizations. Holmes had previously given up all but the IBF title, and that was eventually stripped from Spinks. However, Spinks did become the lineal champion by beating Holmes and many (including Ring magazine) considered him to have a legitimate claim to being the true heavyweight champion. Tyson knocked out Spinks in 91 seconds of the first round.
By 1990, Tyson seemed to have lost direction, and his personal life and training habits were in disarray. In a fight on February 11, 1990, he lost the undisputed championship to James "Buster" Douglas in Tokyo. Tyson was a 1/42 favorite, but Douglas was at an emotional peak after losing his mother to a stroke 23 days prior to the fight, and fought the fight of his life. Tyson failed to find a way past Douglas's quick jab that had a reach advantage over his own. Tyson did send Douglas to the floor in the eighth round, catching him with an uppercut, but Douglas recovered sufficiently to hand Tyson a heavy beating in the subsequent two rounds (after the fight, the Tyson camp would complain that the count was slow and that Douglas had taken longer than ten seconds to get to his feet). Just 35 seconds into the 10th round, Douglas unleashed a brutal combination of blows that sent Tyson to the canvas for the first time in his career. He was counted out by referee Octavio Meyran.
The knockout victory by Douglas over Tyson, the previously undefeated "baddest man on the planet" and arguably the most feared boxer in professional boxing at that time, has been described as one of the most shocking upsets in modern sports history.
Tyson, who was the #1 contender, faced #2 contender Donovan 'Razor' Ruddock on March 18, 1991, in Las Vegas. Ruddock at the time was seen as the most dangerous heavyweight around and was thought of as one of the hardest punching heavyweights. Tyson and Ruddock went back and forth for most of the fight, until referee Richard Steele controversially stopped the fight during the seventh round in favor of Tyson. This decision infuriated the fans in attendance, sparking a post-fight melee in the audience and the referee had to be escorted from the ring.
Tyson and Ruddock met again on June 28 that year, with Tyson knocking down Ruddock twice and winning a 12 round unanimous decision. A fight between Tyson and Holyfield for the undisputed championship was arranged for the fall of 1991.
Under Indiana law, a defendant convicted of a felony must begin serving his prison sentence immediately after the sentence is imposed. He was given a sentence of six years and was released in March 1995 after serving three years. During his incarceration, Tyson converted to Islam.
Tyson did not fight again until later in 1995. He had two comeback bouts against Peter McNeeley and Buster Mathis Jr., which he won easily. Interest in Tyson's first comeback fight since his incarceration was high enough that it 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 for that time. The brief 89 second fight wherein McNeeley swiftly crumpled on facing Tyson, elicited criticism that Tyson's management lined up "Tomato Cans," easily defeatable and unworthy boxers for his return.
He regained one belt by easily winning the WBC title from Frank Bruno (their second fight) in March 1996 by knocking him out in the third round. Tyson added the WBA belt by defeating champion Bruce Seldon in one round in September that year. Seldon was severely criticized and mocked in the popular press for seemingly collapsing to innocuous punches from Tyson in the fight.
On November 9, 1996, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tyson faced Holyfield in a title bout dubbed 'Finally' . In a surprising turn of events, the supposedly "washed-up" Holyfield, who was given virtually no chance to win by numerous commentators, defeated Tyson by TKO when referee Mitch Halpern stopped the bout in round 11. Holyfield made history with the upset win by being the second person ever to win a heavyweight championship belt three times. However Holyfield's victory was marred by allegations from Tyson's camp of Holyfield's frequent headbutts during the bout. Although the headbutts were ruled accidental by the referee, they would become a point of contention in the subsequent rematch.
Tyson and Holyfield fought again on June 28, 1997. Originally, Halpern was supposed to be the referee, but after Tyson's camp protested, Halpern stepped aside in favor of Mills Lane. The highly anticipated rematch was dubbed "The Sound and the Fury," and was held at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena, site of the first bout. It was a lucrative event, drawing even more attention than the first bout and grossing $100-million. Tyson received $30 million and Holyfield $35 million — the highest paid professional boxing purses ever until 2007. The fight was purchased by 1.99 million households, setting a pay-per-view buy rate record that stood until the May 5, 2007, De La Hoya-Mayweather boxing match.
Soon to become one of the most controversial events in modern sports, the fight was stopped at the end of the third round, with Tyson disqualified for biting Holyfield on both ears. The first time he bit him they stopped the match but later resumed. However after the match resumed Tyson did it again except this time he got disqualified and Holyfield won the match. One bite was severe enough to remove a piece of Holyfield's right ear, which was found on the ring floor after the fight. Tyson later stated that it was retaliation for Holyfield repeatedly head butting him without penalty. In the confusion that followed the ending of the bout and announcement of the decision, a near riot erupted in the arena and several people were injured in the ensuing melee.
As a subsequent fallout from the incident, US$3 million was immediately withheld from Tyson's $30-million purse by the Nevada state boxing commission (the most it could legally hold back at the time). Two days after the fight, Tyson issued a statement, apologizing directly to Holyfield for his actions and asked not to be banned for life over the incident. Tyson was roundly condemned in the news media but was not without defenders. Novelist and commentator Katherine Dunn wrote a column that criticized Holyfield's sportsmanship in the controversial bout and charged the news media with being biased against Tyson.
On July 9, 1997, Tyson's boxing license was revoked by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in a unanimous voice vote; he was also fined US$3 million and ordered to pay the legal costs of the hearing. As most state athletic commissions honor sanctions imposed by other states, this effectively made Tyson unable to box in the United States. The revocation was not permanent, as a little more than a year later on October 18, 1998, the commission voted 4-1 to restore Tyson's boxing license.
Legal problems caught up with Tyson once again. On February 6, 1999, Tyson was sentenced to a year's imprisonment, fined $5,000, and ordered to serve two years probation and perform 200 hours of community service for assaulting two motorists after a traffic accident on August 31, 1998. He served nine months of that sentence. After his release, he fought Orlin Norris on October 23, 1999. Tyson knocked down Norris with a left hook thrown after the bell sounded to end the first round. Norris injured his knee from the off-the-clinch-punch when he went down and said he was unable to continue the fight. Consequently, the bout was ruled a no contest.
In 2000, Tyson had three fights. The first was staged at the MEN Arena, Manchester, England against Julius Francis. Following controversy as to whether Tyson should be allowed into the country, he took four minutes to knock out Francis, ending the bout in the second round. He also fought Lou Savarese in June 2000 in Glasgow, winning in the first round (the fight lasted only 38 seconds). Tyson continued punching after the referee had stopped the fight, knocking him to the floor as he tried to separate the boxers. In October, Tyson fought the similarly controversial Andrzej Gołota, winning in round three after Gołota refused to fight. The result was later changed to no contest after Tyson refused to take a pre-fight drug test and then tested positive for marijuana in a post-fight urine test. Tyson fought only once in 2001, beating Brian Nielsen in Copenhagen with a seventh round TKO.
Tyson once again had the opportunity to fight for a heavyweight championship in 2002, against Lennox Lewis, who held the WBC, IBF and IBO titles at the time. As promising amateurs, Tyson and Lewis had sparred together at a training camp, in a meeting arranged by Cus D'Amato in 1984. Tyson sought to fight Lewis in Nevada for a more lucrative box-office venue, but the Nevada boxing commission refused him a license to box as he was facing possible sexual assault charges at the time.
Two years prior to the bout, in a post-fight interview following the Savarese fight, Tyson had made several inflammatory remarks to Lewis, "I want your heart, I want to eat your children. On January 22, 2002, a brawl involving the two boxers and their entourages occurred at a press conference held in New York to publicize the planned event. The melee put to rest any chance of a Nevada fight and alternative arrangements had to be made, with the fight eventually occurring on June 8 at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tennessee. Lewis dominated the fight and knocked out Tyson in the eighth round. Tyson was magnanimous after the fight and praised Lewis on his victory. This fight was the highest-grossing event in pay-per-view history at that time, generating $106.9 million from 1.95 million buys in the USA.
In August 2003, after years of financial struggles, Tyson finally filed for bankruptcy. Tyson is said to have squandered nearly $300 million in ring earnings through lavish spending and bad advice. In 2003, 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.
On July 30, 2004, Tyson faced the British boxer Danny Williams in another comeback fight, this time staged in Louisville, Kentucky. Tyson dominated the opening two rounds. The third round was 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 unexpectedly knocked out. After the fight, it was revealed that Tyson was trying to fight on one leg, having torn a ligament in his other knee in the first round. This was Tyson's fifth career defeat. He underwent surgery for the ligament four days after the fight. His manager, Shelly Finkel, claimed that Tyson was unable to throw meaningful right-hand punches after the knee injury.
On June 11, 2005, Tyson stunned the boxing world by quitting before the start of the seventh round in a close bout against journeyman Kevin McBride. After losing the third of his last four fights, Tyson said he would quit boxing because he no longer had "the fighting guts or the heart anymore."
A computer program, cited by British boxing commentator and journalist Reg Gutteridge in his 1995 book 'Mike Tyson - The Release Of Power', took into account the skill, speed, power, strength, title defences, weight, career records and calibre of opponents. The careers of all heavyweight champions from the last 100 years were evaluated and Tyson ranked as the 4th greatest heavyweight from the last 50 years and 7th greatest of all-time.
In Ring Magazine's list of the 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years, released in 2002, Tyson was ranked at #72.
On the front page of USA Today on June 3, 2005, Tyson was quoted as saying: "My whole life has been a waste - I've been a failure." He continued: "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." Tyson began to spend much of his time tending to his 350 pigeons in Paradise Valley, an upscale enclave near Phoenix, Arizona.
Tyson has stayed in the limelight by promoting various websites and companies. In the past Tyson had shunned endorsements, accusing other athletes of putting on a false front to obtain them. He has also done entertainment boxing shows at a casino in Las Vegas and started a tour of exhibition bouts to pay off his numerous debts.
On December 29, 2006, Tyson was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona, on suspicion of DUI and felony drug possession after he nearly crashed into a police SUV shortly after leaving a night club. According to a police probable-cause statement, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, "[Tyson] admitted to using [drugs] today and stated he is an addict and has a problem. Tyson pleaded not guilty on January 22, 2007, in Maricopa County Superior Court to felony drug possession and paraphernalia possession counts and two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of drugs. On February 8 he checked himself into an in-patient treatment program for "various addictions" while awaiting trial on the drug charges.
On September 24, 2007, Mike Tyson pleaded guilty to possession of narcotics and driving under the influence. He was convicted of these charges in November 2007 and sentenced to 24 hours in jail, 360 hours community service and 3 years probation. Prosecutors had requested a year long jail sentence, but the judge praised Tyson for seeking help with his drug problems.
His second marriage was to Monica Turner from April 19, 1997 – January 14, 2003. At the time of the divorce filing, Turner worked as a pediatric resident at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC. She is also the sister of Michael Steele, the former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. Turner filed for divorce from Tyson in January 2002, claiming that he committed adultery during their five-year marriage, an act that "has neither been forgiven nor condoned." The couple had two children: Rayna (born February 14, 1996) and Amir (August 5, 1997). Tyson has four other children: Gena, Mikey, Miguel, and Exodus.
|50 Wins (44 knockouts, 5 decisions, 1 disqualification), 6 Losses (5 knockouts, 1 disqualification), 0 Draws, 2 No Contests|
|Loss||50-6||Kevin McBride||TKO||6 , 3:00||2005-06-11||Washington, DC|
|Loss||50-5||Danny Williams||KO||4 , 2:51||2004-07-30||Louisville, KY|
|Win||50-4||Clifford Etienne||KO||1 , 0:49||2003-02-22||Memphis, TN|
|Loss||49-4||Lennox Lewis||KO||8 , 2:25||2002-06-08||Memphis, TN|
|Win||49-3||Brian Nielsen||TKO||7 , 3:00||2001-10-13|
|NC||48-3||Andrzej Gołota||No contest||3||2000-10-20||Auburn Hills, MI|
|Win||48-3||Lou Savarese||TKO||1 , 0:38||2000-06-24||Glasgow, Scotland|
|Win||47-3||Julius Francis||TKO||2 , 1:03||2000-01-29|
|NC||46-3||Orlin Norris||No contest||1 , 3:00||1999-10-23||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||46-3||Francois Botha||KO||5 , 2:59||1999-01-16||Las Vegas, NV|
|Loss||45-3||Evander Holyfield||Disqualification||3||1997-06-28||Las Vegas, NV|
|Loss||45-2||Evander Holyfield||TKO||11 , 0:37||1996-11-09||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||45-1||Bruce Seldon||TKO||1 , 1:49||1996-09-07||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||44-1||Frank Bruno||TKO||3 , 0:50||1996-03-16||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||43-1||Buster Mathis, Jr.||KO||3 , 2:32||1995-12-16||Philadelphia, PA|
|Win||42-1||Peter McNeeley||Disqualification||1||1995-08-19||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||41-1||Donovan Ruddock||Decision||12||1991-06-28||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||40-1||Donovan Ruddock||TKO||7 , 2:22||1991-03-18||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||39-1||Alex Stewart||TKO||1 , 2:27||1990-12-08||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||38-1||Henry Tillman||KO||1 , 2:47||1990-06-16||Las Vegas, NV|
|Loss||37-1||James Douglas||KO||10||1990-02-11||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||37-0||Carl Williams||TKO||1 , 1:33||1989-07-21||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||36-0||Frank Bruno||TKO||5 , 2:55||1989-02-25||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||35-0||Michael Spinks||KO||1 , 1:31||1988-06-27||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||34-0||Tony Tubbs||TKO||2 , 2:54||1988-03-21||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||33-0||Larry Holmes||TKO||4 , 2:55||1988-01-22||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||32-0||Tyrell Biggs||TKO||7 , 2:59||1987-10-16||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||31-0||Tony Tucker||Decision||12||1987-08-01||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||30-0||Pinklon Thomas||TKO||6 , 2:00||1987-05-30||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||29-0||James Smith||Decision||12||1987-03-07||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||28-0||Trevor Berbick||TKO||2 , 2:35||1986-11-22||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||27-0||Alfonso Ratcliff||TKO||2 , 1:41||1986-09-06||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||26-0||José Ribalta||TKO||10||1986-08-17||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||25-0||Marvis Frazier||KO||1 , 0:30||1986-07-26||Glens Falls, NY|
|Win||24-0||Lorenzo Boyd||KO||2 , 1:43||1986-07-11||Swan Lake, NY|
|Win||23-0||William Hosea||KO||1 , 2:03||1986-06-28||Troy, NY|
|Win||22-0||Reggie Gross||TKO||1 , 2:36||1986-06-13||New York City, NY|
|Win||21-0||Mitch Green||Decision||10||1986-05-20||New York City, NY|
|Win||20-0||James Tillis||Decision||10||1986-05-09||Glens Falls, NY|
|Win||19-0||Steve Zouski||KO||3 , 2:39||1986-03-10||Uniondale, NY|
|Win||18-0||Jesse Ferguson||TKO||6 , 1:19||1986-02-16||Troy, NY|
|Win||17-0||Mike Jameson||TKO||5 , 0:46||1986-01-24||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||16-0||David Jaco||TKO||1 , 2:16||1986-01-11||Albany, NY|
|Win||15-0||Mark Young||TKO||1, 0:50||1985-12-27||Latham, NY|
|Win||14-0||Sammy Scaff||TKO||1 , 1:19||1985-12-06||New York City, NY|
|Win||13-0||Conroy Nelson||TKO||2||1985-11-22||Latham, NY|
|Win||12-0||Eddie Richardson||KO||1, 1:17||1985-11-13||Houston, TX|
|Win||11-0||Sterling Benjamin||TKO||1, 0:54||1985-11-01||Latham, NY|
|Win||10-0||Robert Colay||KO||1 , 0:37||1985-10-25||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||9-0||Donnie Long||TKO||1 , 1:28||1985-10-09||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||8-0||Michael Johnson||KO||1 , 0:39||1985-09-05||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||7-0||Lorenzo Canady||KO||1 , 1:05||1985-08-15||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||6-0||Larry Sims||KO||3 , 2:04||1985-07-19||Poughkeepsie, NY|
|Win||5-0||John Alderson||TKO||2||1985-07-11||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||4-0||Ricardo Spain||KO||1 , 0:39||1985-06-20||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||3-0||Don Halpin||KO||4||1985-05-23||Albany, NY|
|Win||2-0||Trent Singleton||TKO||1||1985-04-10||Albany, NY|
|Win||1-0||Hector Mercedes||TKO||1 , 1:47||1985-03-06||Albany, NY|