Mike Tyson has traveled a long and bumpy road, en route to his upcoming “charity bout” with Roy Jones Jr. There’s no doubt that online sports betting is more exciting with “The Baddest Man On the Planet” back in action. The 54-year-old celebrity boxing legend transformed from a Brooklyn gang member into the youngest heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Then Tyson traded in his boxing shorts for penitentiary gear, converting to Islam along the way, becoming Malik Abdul Aziz.
“Iron Mike” served three years of his six-year sentence for rape, eager to put Indiana in the rearview mirror. Tyson made a boxing comeback almost immediately after being released from prison, emerging even more savage than he was before. “Iron Mike” won his first four fights out of the slammer, before running into Evander Holyfield for back-to-back humiliations. Tyson bit off more than he could chew with Holyfield, and I’m not just talking about Evander’s ear.
The losses to Holyfield, coupled with Tyson’s apparent inability to reacclimate to society, initiated another downward spiral. “Kid Dynamite” was perhaps too explosive, winning a handful of fights after Holyfield prior to imploding against Lennox Lewis. Tyson rebounded by knocking out Clifford Etienne, before losing to Danny Williams and then Kevin McBride, who ultimately retired Mike.
Tyson’s professional record of 50-6 (44 KOs) is marred with severed organs and psychological struggles, but his talent is undisputed. The current Tyson vs Jones Jr odds on our sportsbook list Tyson (-210) as a heavy-handed favorite against Jones Jr. (+170) on Nov 28. Check out my expert betting predictions for this epic fight. You can also bet on props for this Mike Tyson fight.
Brooklyn Born, Raised by the Jolly Stompers
On June 30, 1966, Michael Gerard Tyson climbed out of his mother’s womb ready to fight. Born in Brooklyn, NY to Jimmy Kirkpatrick and Lorna Tyson, Michael was thrust into chaos at a young age. Tyson’s father abandoned his family when Mike was two years old, leaving Lorna to care for three kids by herself. Buckling to financial troubles, Mike’s mom moved the family to the crime-riddled Brownsville neighborhood.
Tyson was chubby and shy, bullied on the block, so he developed his own street fighting style. The Jolly Stompers gang eventually recruited Tyson, and his life of crime took off. It’s estimated that Tyson had been arrested on more than 30 occasions by the time he was 13 years old. This behavior landed Michael in the Tryon School for Boys in upstate NY.
Mentors, Managers, and Hector Mercedes
The silver-lining to Tyson’s reform school years is the connection he made with counselor Bob Stewart. Stewart was a former amateur boxing champ, and he took the young Tyson under his wing, making education his mandate. After Stewart believed he had taught Tyson all that he knew, an introduction was made to manager Cus D’Amato.
D’Amato immediately saw the raw potential in Tyson, and they got to work right away. When Tyson was paroled from Tryon in September 1980, D’Amato took full-time custody of the troubled 14-year-old. D’Amato trained Tyson hard in the old-school, but was more of a father to the young man than a manager.
“Kid Dynamite” began his professional boxing career on March 6, 1985 against Hector Mercedes, and earned a first-round knockout. Tyson went on to compile an 11-0 record that year, all by knockout, before surrogate father D’Amato died from pneumonia. Many believe that this tragic moment ultimately altered the trajectory of Tyson’s future. “Iron Mike” had lost the grounding force, the love, that had tempered his white-hot steel.
The Youngest Heavyweight Champion In History
Kevin Rooney took over as manager for Tyson, and the duo got back to boxing quickly. Fighting provided a welcome distraction for the distraught Tyson, who could simplify his existence within the ring. A little more than a year after D’Amato’s passing, Tyson earned his first title shot, a bout vs Trevor Berbick.
Tyson came in at 27-0 with 25 KOs, and knocked out Berbick in the second round. On November 22, 1986, Iron Mike passed Floyd Patterson to become the youngest heavyweight champion of all-time. By August 1, 1987, Tyson had collected three major heavyweight boxing belts, becoming the first boxer to own all three.
The Baffling Bout with Buster Douglas, Tyson Convicted of Rape
Spousal abuse claims by Robin Givens, bursts of public violence, and a possible suicide attempt swirled around Tyson in 1988. Tyson also fired his long-time trainer Rooney, battled manager Bill Cayton in court, and aligned with Don King during this dubious year. Iron Mike’s personal life was getting out of control again, and it was bound to bleed into the ring.
Tyson won nine more fights before his undefeated streak was finally broken in Tokyo on February 11, 1990. Buster Douglas shocked the world by KOing Tyson with a punch that some believe never landed on Iron Mike’s face. Sports betting enthusiasts everywhere likely lost piles of money on that mess, but perhaps Tyson got the last laugh. Tyson taking a calculated fall is the only logical way that he loses to Douglas.
Mike was well on his way to becoming “The Baddest Man In the World” at this point. Tyson won four consecutive fights after the loss to Douglas, three by knockout, before heading to jail in Indiana. A Miss America contestant named Desiree Washington accused Tyson of rape in July 1991, and after a lenghty trial process he was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.
Tyson had a tough time adjusting to life behind bars, but found some stability in Islam. After serving three years “inside”, Tyson was released from Indiana Youth Center on March 25, 1995. By August 19th, Iron Mike had already knocked out Peter McNeely in Las Vegas, the first comeback complete. The fight lasted all of 89 seconds.
I Don’t Mean to Chew Your Ear Off, Mr. Holyfield…
Three more knockouts and a 45-1 record brought Tyson to a November 9, 1996 date with Evander Holyfield. Tyson agreed to defend his WBA Heavyweight Championship title against Holyfield, and he lost it by an eleventh-round TKO. Mike and his people claimed that Holyfield fought dirty, head-butting Tyson throughout the fight.
Tyson vowed vengeance, and apparently couldn’t resist unleashing his inner pitbull in the rematch on June 28, 1997. In the third round, Tyson clenched down on the bite heard round the world, ripping off a piece of Holyfield’s ear. Tyson EARned a disqualification, and was subsequently suspended from boxing for the foreseeable future.
The despondent boxer was fined $3 million by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for biting Holyfield, and his boxing license was revoked on July 9, 1987. Later in 1987, Tyson was ordered to pay $45,000 to boxer Mitch Green for damages incurred during a 1988 altercation. Soon after the ruling, Tyson punctured a lung and broke a rib in a motorcycle accident suffered in Connecticut.
Tyson Threatens to Eat Lennox Lewis’s Children
Tyson wouldn’t earn another title fight until June 2002 vs Lennox Lewis, who held the WBC, IBF, and IBO titles. Lewis was verbally abused by Tyson, who at one point even threatened to eat Lennox’s children. It was Lewis who got the last laugh, knocking out Tyson in the eighth round.
Iron Mike only managed one more win in his career after this devastating loss to Lewis. After losing to Kevin McBride on June 11, 2005, Tyson never boxed professionally again.
That will change on Nov 28 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, when Tyson comes out of retirement to fight Roy Jones Jr. in what has been deemed an “exhibition”.