Mike Tyson was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 30th 1966, weighing 8 1/2 pounds.
Mikes parents, Lorna Tyson and Kirkpatrick never married and Mike grew up with just is mother after his dad left when he was just two years old.
Mike grew up in a hard environment but was by no means a bully. Mike collected pigeons- something he still does today – he has his own flock of 2000 which he has reared. Mike spoke with a soft voice and a lisp and although a difficult child to control was an angel in comparison with many of his pears on the streets of Brownsville. Mike was picked on by some of the other kids who would call him “fairy boy” due to the way he spoke, little did they know that he would become one of the greatest boxers of all time.
When Mike Tyson was about 11/12 years old, an older and much bigger boy pulled the head of one of his beloved pigeons. Mike, who had never really gotten violent until then exploded with rage and beat the boy to a pulp. He surprised himself with his strength at beating up an older, bigger kid. Mike Tyson would go on to make a career out of hitting bigger guys, and beating them.
After this Mikes childhood began to revolve around a life of crime and was sent to a correction unit where discipline was to be enforced upon him , creating an awkward rebel of a young man. However Tyson struck a deal with the schools sports coach, an ex boxer by the name of Bobby Stewart. If Tyson agreed to co operate in his lessons Bobby had to return the favour and teach him boxing. Bobby soon saw Tyson’s huge potential and put him in contact with trainer, Cus d’Amato who had trained 2 heavyweight champions already.
When Cus saw the young Mike he immediately prophesised that he was, “the future heavyweight champion of the world.” Cus took Mike Tyson under his wing and made sure that as well as getting training in the gym, Mike also got an education.
Under the guidance of Cus d’Amato Mike racked p an impressive armature record. Then in 1985 Cus decided it was time for Tyson to turn professional. Mike made his professional debut on march the 6th in Albany, New York and won impressive by way of knock out in just 107 seconds, defeating Hector Mercedes with power and ease. Mike went into the fight, not dressed in fancy clothing with a big entrance as most boxers of the day now did, but with a simple garb and black shorts. The ball was rolling and Tyson’s career began to go from strength to strength, by the time he challenged for the WBC Heavyweight title against Trevor Berbick, Tyson went into the fight as favourite with the bookies – they had already seen the mans power and few doubted Berbick was in for a beating. They where not wrong. He was annihilated in 2 rounds. Tyson had only been professional for 20 months, when he became the youngest champion of all-time at just 20 years old.
Four months later Tyson took the WBA championship belt from James bonecrusher Smith, who later admitted he only fought to survive, not win – he was too scared to go near Tyson whose power was unbelievable. Frank Bruno has described Mike as having “Nuclear powered fists.” This is probably accurate.
In August 1987 Tyson became the first heavyweight since Ali to unify the boxing titles as he defeated IBF champion Tony Tucker. By now Mike Tyson was the most feared man in boxing. By the time opponents had stepped into the ring with him, most where crippled by fear when presented with the prospect of having to fight a man whose power and speed was already legendary.
Tyson married actress Robin Givens in 1988. Also in this year, one half of the Tyson’s management, Jim Jacobs died At his funeral the ever Greedy DON KING, a man who is never happy unless he controls as many of the heavyweight stars as he possibly can began to lure Tyson claiming he wanted to use Tyson for everybody’s benefit, in reality this meant he wanted to use Tyson for his own ends as he has in his entire career, greedily gobbling up as much of the money in boxing as he can get his filthy hands on.
All this happened as Tyson prepared for what would be one of his most impressive performances to date against the unbeaten Michael Spinks, one of the greatest fighters in the recent years who was unbeaten…..until Tyson got to him. The bout took place on June the 27th 1988 in Atlantic city.
Spinks was clearly nervous, while Tyson clearly was not. Spinks took a count of 8 after being beaten to his knees by several lightening blows. When Spinks got back up and tried to attack he wished he hadn’t, he was caught by a huge right uppercut which knocked him onto his back. Spinks tried to get back up to his feet but had no chance, and was counted out. The great boxer Michael Spinks had been beaten in just 91 seconds. Tyson was a now a living legend and nobody could doubt he was a true champion.
Meanwhile coming up to Tyson’s next bout against Frank Bruno, Tyson’s private life was in turmoil. He filed for divorce from his wife after less then 2 years of marriage, sacked his trainer Kevin Ronny who had been with him from the start and signed a contract with the shit head that is Don King, and broke his wrist whilst beating up a former opponent, Mitch Green in a street brawl, Green was hurt badly. He had even drove his wife’s car into a tree while married in what is widely presumed to of been a suicide attempt.
When Tyson did meet Bruno in 88 his performance was not great although he disposed of his opponent in 5 rounds. Something was clearly wrong but nobody expected what would come next. Tyson was to fight James Buster Douglas. everyone expected Tyson to cripple him. But Tyson did not. He was beaten for the first time in his career. It was the biggest upset in boxing history. Tyson had not been training and was drugged up as a result of being treated for depression, what part this played in Mikes defeat is questionable, and the fact is that at the end of the day he lost the fight against a man who fought a great fight. Had Tyson been on form nobody seems to believe Buster Douglas would of beaten him. But the point is he did.
Douglas was able to break down Tyson who was Cleary in trouble and knocked out in round 10. An interesting point is that Douglas had been floored by an uppercut in round 8. However the ref gave him a slow count, in reality Douglas had been down for 12 seconds! But the referees decision was and always is final, he still won and Tyson had still put on a poor performance.
Tyson shocked by what happened responded in the best way he could. He got himself into to awesome shape and trained hard. He came back and disposed of Henry Tillman and Razor Ruddock twice. But Tyson’s private life soon intervened to ruin things. It was alleged that on the 19th of July 1991 he had raped Desiree Washington a miss black America contestant. She had voluntarily accompanied Mike to his hotel room. In 1992 he was found guilty and sent to prison, sentenced to 6 years. Tyson became extremely well read. In March 1995 he was released after 3 years of his sentence for good behaviour. Whatever you may personally feel about Mike Tyson, whether you think he is a god, or a monster, I feel it should be said that Tyson’s imprisonment is HIGHLY questionable. I am not saying this because this is a site dedicated to Mike, but because the facts are this case appears to be very much flawed.
If you doubt me, please do some research and see for you self. Justice was not done when Mike Tyson went to jail.
Desiree Washington went to Mikes hotel room at 2am, and surely can of been in no doubt that sex was going to be on the menu. She had no bruising. Had a man like Mike Tyson tried raping you, you would be bruised. Evidence presented at the trial was shaky and vital witnesses where not allowed to speak at the trial. mike Tyson has always proclaimed his innocence and many people agree with him that it was a set up.
To begin with, Mike reacted badly to being in Prison. When one of the gang leaders of the prison, a huge man confronted him, Tyson knocked him to the floor unconscious in one punch. However Mike soon settled down and began studying hard. in prison Mike became a Muslim, under the guidance of Muhammad Siddeeq.
Siddeeq, a high school Biology teacher who also acting as an lmam in the prison, came to visit. While the holding a religious gathering Mike Tyson walked in and sat down to listen. He became extremely interested in Islam and started to hold regular discussions with the Imam, As Muhammad Siddeeq recalls, it was always Mike who lead the discussion, always hungry to learn more:
“I discovered that Tyson has an overwhelming desire to educate himself. His interest is really phenomenal. He has an incredibly quick, retentive mind. He absorbs everything I give him. ”
Tyson kept his mind focused and continued his education. This involved reading countless books by the likes of Voltaire, Alexander Dumas, Machiavelli and Maya Angelou. With the help of Muhammad Siddeeq, he also continued his keen study of Islam. Despite what many people in the media like to think, Mike is not an idiot. He is not mad, He is in fact a highly intelligent human being, with a huge depth of knowledge on a huge variety of subjects.
Outside of prison, Tyson continues to be enthusiastic about Islam. He has kept his link and relationship with Muhammad Siddeeq and is still learning about the faith. Many have questioned Tyson’s commitment to his faith now that he is out of prison, to which be replies:
I may be in the back of the line,
but at least I’m in the line. I know I have made a lot of mistakes, but I also know I have to improve. I’m not in the front but I’m there.”
Mikes Muslim character is very much reflected in his continuous support for many charities to which he donates millions of dollars. He recently gave millions of dollars to buy wheelchairs for people who needed them. He has also donated $250,000 to build a new mosque.
Because of his unique position Tyson is visited by many prominent people.
Whenever he gets up to speak in a gathering he often recites Surah al-Fatihah. On a recent visit, Malcolm X’s wife heard him recite the Surah and she began to cry. When Spike Lee, the producer and director of the film Malcolm X came to visit Tyson, Tyson took Lee to the mosque. Tyson also keeps up his prayers, and has said that this is one aspect he likes a lot
Anyway. Mike Tyson was eventually released early from prison as a result of his good behaviour. At 6 am on 25 March 1995 Tyson left the prison. Outside a crowd of journalists waited in anxious anticipation. A man dressed in black with a white prayer cap stepped out into freedom. His face was calm and looked relaxed. This young man, still in his 20’s had already walked a great distance along the road of life’s trials and tribulations. When Tyson came out of prison he was still the biggest thing in boxing. his comeback fight on the 19th August 1995 was against Peter McNeely. He was destroyed completely in just 85 seconds. Tyson Steamrolled over him. However McNeely was not the most creditable of opponents. Mike needed to beet somebody with more credibility, this person came in the form of Buster Mathis junior. The fight which was originally supposed to take place in Atlantic City had to be switched to Philadelphia because Dong King was not allowed to promote there as he had a fraud charge hanging over him. Tyson disposed of Mathis at the end of the 3rd round. Although it was a win over a more credible opponent, Tyson was still a far cry from the fighter he had been 10 years ago.
Next Tyson decided he wanted a belt around his waist. Frank Bruno was the WBC title holder. Tyson and Bruno squared up on 16th March 1996 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. Tyson took the title from Bruno in 3 rounds, Bruno couldn’t cope with Tyson’s relentless assault and the referee stopped the fight with Bruno on the ropes. Next Tyson Beat Bruce Seldon WBA title. Seldon was a coward and gave up after 109 seconds not daring to come back at Tyson. The fans where not impressed. Faced with the prospect of receiving a sound kicking from Tyson, Seldon took the easy way out and collected his biggest purse in his career of five million dollars.
Next up on the list for Tyson was Evander Holyfield. . The pair met for the fight on November 9th 1996. Tyson was outboxed by an older man. It was not a great performance on his part but Evander Holyfield showed he would not be intimidated by Tyson as where many fighters and beat Tyson in the 11th round. It was Tyson’s second defeat, only this time he had no excuses.
The rematch would prove to be one of the most controversial and infamous boxing matches in history, but for all the wrong reasons. The date was the 28th June 1997. The place the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Tyson despite the earlier loss was still favourite by the bookies to win the fight. Holyfield was winning the first 2 rounds although it was clear he had been head butting Tyson, something he had done in the first fight. Tyson’s eye was cut and when the referee refused to deduct points from Holyfield Tyson was clearly angered and frustrated. Tyson came out for round three without a gum shield but was ordered back for it, however when in a clench with Holyfield, removed it and bit into Holyfield’s ear. Tyson had points deducted although the fight should of been stopped there and then. When the round continued Tyson again bit Holyfield. After the end of the round Tyson was disqualified. Tyson was fined 3 million dollars and banned from boxing for one year.
Tyson came back and ditched Don King as his promoter. Tyson beat 6 opponents and faced Lennox Lewis, on June 8th 2002 and lost. Mike didn’t seem to want to be there. A Tyson of the 80s would of destroyed a man like Lennox, however Mike is past his best and seems to care little for the fight. Despite this loss Tyson remains the greatest heavyweight of his era.
Tyson has remained true to his roots, and maintains a strong bond with his community, his charitable efforts have been recognized globally. Not one to seek out publicity for his good deeds, Mike contributes to under privileged causes through his various businesses. These act of kindness of course go unnoticed in the media who prefer to portray him as a monster. This is not fair and Tyson, though he has many faults is no monster. He is however one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.
Information collected and donated by M. Ions