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Mike Tyson (1966)

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  Summary  

Michael Gerard "Mike" Tyson is a retired American boxer. Tyson is a former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles, he was 20 years, 4 months and 22 days old. Tyson won his first 19 professional bouts by knockout, with 12 of them occurring in the first round. He won the WBC title in 1986 after defeating Trevor Berbick by a TKO in the second round. In 1987, Tyson added the WBA and IBF titles after defeating James Smith and Tony Tucker. He was the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold and only Heavyweight to individually unify the WBA, WBC and IBF titles.

In 1988, Tyson became the lineal champion when he knocked out Michael Spinks in the first 91 seconds of the fight. Tyson successfully defended the world heavyweight championship nine times, including victories over Larry Holmes and Frank Bruno. Tyson lost his titles to 42-to-1 underdog James "Buster" Douglas on February 11, 1990, in Tokyo, Japan, by a knockout in round 10. Tyson continued in his quest to regain the titles, defeating Donovan Ruddock twice in 1991. Tyson was then scheduled to take on the undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield but pulled out due to injury.

In 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping Desiree Washington, for which he was sentenced to six years in prison but was released after serving three years. After being released from prison in 1995, he engaged in a series of comeback fights. In 1996, Tyson won the WBC and WBA titles after defeating Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon by knockout. After being stripped of the WBC title, Tyson lost his WBA crown to Evander Holyfield in November, 1996 by an 11th round TKO. Their 1997 rematch ended when Tyson was disqualified for biting off part of Holyfield's ear.

In 2002, he fought for the world heavyweight title at the age of 35, losing by knockout to Lennox Lewis. Tyson retired from professional boxing in 2006 after he was knocked out in consecutive matches against Danny Williams and Kevin McBride. Tyson declared bankruptcy in 2003, despite receiving over US$30 million for several of his fights and $300 million during his career.

Throughout his career, Tyson became well known for his ferocious and intimidating boxing style as well as his controversial behavior both inside and outside the ring. Tyson is considered to have been one of the best heavyweight boxers of all time.
He is ranked No. 16 on The Ring's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.

  Biography  

 early years
Tyson was born in Brooklyn, New York City. He has a brother, Rodney, who is five years older than he. His sister, Denise, died of a heart attack at age 25 in 1991. Tyson's father, Jimmy Kirkpatrick, abandoned his family when Tyson was 2, leaving his mother, Lorna Smith Tyson, to care for them on her own. The family lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant until their financial burdens necessitated a move to Brownsville when Tyson was 10 years old. Tyson's mother died six years later, leaving 16-year-old Tyson in the care of boxing manager and trainer Cus D'Amato, who would become his legal guardian. Tyson has been quoted saying, "I never saw my mother happy with me and proud of me for doing something: She only knew 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."

Throughout his childhood, Tyson lived in and around high-crime neighborhoods. According to an interview in Details his first fight was with a bigger youth who had pulled the head off one of Tyson's pigeons. He was repeatedly caught committing petty crimes and fighting those who ridiculed his high-pitched voice and lisp. By the age of 13, he had been arrested 38 times. He ended up at the Tryon School for Boys in Johnstown, New York. It was at the school that Tyson's emerging boxing ability was discovered by Bobby Stewart, a juvenile detention center counselor and former boxer. Stewart considered Tyson to be an outstanding fighter and trained him for a few months before introducing him to Cus D'Amato.

Tyson was later removed from the reform school by Cus D'Amato. Kevin Rooney also trained Tyson, and he was occasionally assisted by Teddy Atlas, although he was dismissed by D'Amato when Tyson was 15. Rooney eventually took over all training duties for the young fighter.

Tyson's brother is a physician 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, Mike 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."

 career
 Amateur career
Tyson competed at the 1981 and 1982 Junior Olympic Games, and won the gold medal twice: in 1981 against Joe Cortez and in 1982 against Kelton Brown, whose corner threw in the towel within the first round. He holds the Junior Olympic quickest knockout record with 8 seconds. In addition he won every bout at the Junior Olympic Games by knockout.

He fought Henry Tillman twice as an amateur losing both bouts by close decision. Tillman went on to win heavyweight Gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

 Rise to stardom
Tyson made his professional debut as an 18 year old on March 6, 1985, in Albany, New York. He defeated Hector Mercedes via a first round knockout. He had 15 bouts in his first year as a professional. Fighting frequently, Tyson won 26 of his first 28 fights by KO/TKO – 16 in the first round. The quality of his opponents gradually increased to journeyman fighters and borderline contenders, like James Tillis, David Jaco, Jesse Ferguson, Mitch Green and Marvis Frazier. His win streak attracted media attention, leading to his being billed as the next great heavyweight champion. D'Amato died in November 1985, relatively early into Tyson's professional career; some speculate that his death was the genesis of many of the troubles Tyson was to experience later as his life and career progressed.

Tyson's first nationally televised bout took place on February 16, 1986, at Houston Field House in Troy, New York 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 of his opponent, the ruling was subsequently "adjusted" as a win by technical knockout 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 continue boxing.

On November 22, 1986, Tyson was given his first title fight against Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council 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. Tyson's dominant performance brought many accolades. Donald Saunders wrote: "The noble and manly art of boxing can at least cease worrying about its immediate future, now it has discovered a heavyweight champion fit to stand alongside Dempsey, Tunney, Louis, Marciano and Ali."

Because of Tyson's strength, many fighters were intimidated by him. 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; very few boxers would remain standing if caught by this combination. Boxers knocked down with this combination include Jesse Ferguson and Jose Ribalta.

 Undisputed champion

See also: Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks
Expectations for Tyson were extremely high, and he embarked on an ambitious campaign to fight all the top heavyweights in the world. Tyson defended his title against James Smith on March 7, 1987, in Las Vegas, Nevada. He won by unanimous decision and added Smith's World Boxing Association title to his existing belt. 'Tyson mania' in the media was becoming rampant. He beat Pinklon Thomas in May with a knockout in the sixth round. On August 1 he took the International Boxing Federation title from Tony Tucker in a twelve round unanimous decision. He became the first heavyweight to own all three major belts – WBA, WBC, and IBF – at the same time. Another fight, in October of that year, ended with a victory for Tyson over 1984 Olympics Super Heavyweight gold medalist Tyrell Biggs by knockout in the seventh round.

During this time, Tyson came to the attention of gaming company Nintendo: after witnessing one of Tyson's fights, Nintendo of America president Minoru Arakawa was impressed by the fighter's "power and skill", prompting him to suggest Tyson be included in the upcoming Nintendo Entertainment System port of the Punch Out!! arcade game. The idea was implemented, and in 1987 Nintendo released Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, which was well-received and sold more than a million copies.

Tyson had three fights in 1988. He faced Larry Holmes on January 22, 1988, and defeated the legendary former champion by a fourth round KO. 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 after he elected to fight Gerry Cooney (winning by a 5th-round TKO) rather than IBF Number 1 Contender Tony Tucker, as the Cooney fight provided him a larger purse. However, Spinks did become the lineal champion by beating Holmes and many considered him to have a legitimate claim to being the true heavyweight champion. The bout was, at the time, the richest fight in history and expectations were very high. Boxing pundits were predicting a titanic battle of styles, with Tyson's aggressive infighting conflicting with Spinks' skillful outfighting and footwork. The fight ended after 91 seconds when Tyson knocked Spinks out in the first round; many consider this to be the pinnacle of Tyson's fame and boxing ability. Spinks, previously unbeaten, would never fight professionally again.

 Controversy and upset

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. Without Rooney, Tyson's personal discipline declined. In 1989, Tyson had only two fights amid personal turmoil. He faced the popular British boxer Frank Bruno in February in a fight where Bruno managed to stun Tyson at the end of the 1st round, although Tyson went on to knock out Bruno in the fifth round. Tyson then knocked out Carl "The Truth" Williams in one round in July.
In 1989, Tyson was granted an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Central State University in Ohio.

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 Buster Douglas in Tokyo. Tyson was a huge betting 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 . Just 35 seconds into the 10th round, Douglas unleashed a brutal combination of hooks that sent Tyson to the canvas for the first time in his career. He was counted out by referee Octavio Meyran. Though Tyson has been reputed to have been out of shape for this fight, in fact he weighed in at 220 and 1/2 pounds, only 2 pounds more than he had weighed when he beat Michael Spinks 20 months earlier. Mentally, however, he was not prepared for the inspired Douglas.

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.

 After Douglas
After the loss, Tyson recovered by knocking out Henry Tillman and Alex Stewart in the first round in his next two fights. Tyson's victory over the 1984 Olympics Boxing Heavyweight gold medalist Tillman enabled Tyson to avenge his early career amateur losses at Tillman's hands. These bouts set up an elimination match for another shot at the undisputed world heavyweight championship, which Evander Holyfield had taken from Douglas in his first defense of the title.

Tyson, who was the No.1 contender, faced No.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 autumn of 1991.

The match between Tyson and reigning champion Holyfield did not occur, with Tyson pulling out of the scheduled November 8, 1991 title fight at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, with a rib cartilage injury sustained during training.

 legacy
A 1998 ranking of "The Greatest Heavyweights of All-Time" by Ring magazine placed Tyson at No.14 on the list.

In Ring Magazine's , released in 2002, Tyson was ranked at No. 72. He is ranked No. 16 on Ring Magazine's 2003 .

 personal life
Tyson has been legally married three times and he had eight children with several different women.

His first marriage was to actress Robin Givens from February 7, 1988 to February 14, 1989. Givens was known for her work on the sitcom Head of the Class. Tyson's marriage to Givens was especially tumultuous with allegations of violence, spousal abuse and mental instability on Tyson's part. Matters came to a head when Tyson and Givens gave a joint interview with Barbara Walters on the ABC TV newsmagazine show 20/20 in September 1988, in which Givens described life with Tyson as "torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine." Givens also described Tyson as "manic depressive" on national television while Tyson looked on with an intent and calm expression. A month later, Givens announced that she was seeking a divorce from the allegedly abusive Tyson. They had no children but she claims to have had a miscarriage while Tyson claims she was never pregnant and only used that to get him to marry her. During their marriage, the couple lived in a mansion in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

His second marriage was to Monica Turner from April 19, 1997 to 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 and former Republican National Committee Chairman. 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 and Amir.

On May 25, 2009, Tyson's 4-year-old daughter, Exodus, was found by her 7-year-old brother, Miguel, unconscious and tangled in a cord, dangling from an exercise treadmill. The child's mother untangled her, administered CPR and called for medical attention. Exodus was listed in "extremely critical condition" and was on life support at Phoenix's St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. She subsequently died of her injuries on May 26, 2009. Ten days later, Tyson wed for the third time, to girlfriend Lakiha Spicer, age 32, exchanging vows on Saturday, June 6, 2009, in a short, private ceremony, at the La Bella Wedding Chapel at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel-casino. Spicer was a resident of nearby suburban Henderson, Nevada. County marriage records in Las Vegas show the couple got a marriage license 30 minutes before their ceremony. Spicer is the mother of Tyson's daughter, Milan and son, Morocco. His other children include Mikey , Miguel and D'Amato . He has a total of eight children including the deceased Exodus.

While on the American talk show The View in early May 2010, Tyson revealed that he is now forced to live paycheck to paycheck. He went on to say: "I'm totally destitute and broke. But I have an awesome life, I have an awesome wife who cares about me. I'm totally broke. I had a lot of fun. It just happened. I'm very grateful. I don't deserve to have the wife that I have; I don't deserve the kids that I have, but I do, and I'm very grateful."

In March 2011, Tyson appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to discuss his new Animal Planet reality series Taking on Tyson. In the interview with DeGeneres, Tyson discussed some of the ways he had improved his life in the past two years, including sober living and a vegan diet.

Also, in March 2011, Mike Tyson appeared at the SXSW Screenburn Arcade for the launch of his new iPhone app Mike Tyson: Main Event.

In May 2011, Tyson sent an autographed boxing gloves to soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. 'To Cristiano' is what written on the gloves, along with Tyson's signature.

Also, in May 2011, Tyson was a contestant in the Argentinian dance contest Bailando 2011, and he was paired with his wife, Lahika Spicer. The couple withdrew from the competition after the second round.

In September 2011, Tyson gave an interview in which he made comments about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin that included crude and violent descriptions of interracial sex. These comments were then reprinted on the Daily Caller website. Journalist Greta van Susteren criticized Tyson and the Daily Caller over the comments, which she described as "smut" and "violence against women".

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Mike Tyson", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.