Profile: Mike Tyson

06.06.05 - Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 30, 1966, Michael Gerard Tyson has experienced more in his 36 years than most people experience in a lifetime. At an early age, Bobby Stewart, a local social worker and boxing fan, discovered Tyson’s raw boxing ability. Stewart's guidance paved a direct path to the late, beloved trainer of champions, Constantine “Cus” D'Amato..

Bringing Tyson to the Catskill Mountains in New York, D'Amato nurtured Tyson in and out of the ring. Eventually, D’Amato became Tyson’s legal guardian and inspirational leader. During the early stages of Tyson’s amateur and pro career, D'Amato was the driving force, teaching the young Tyson all the nuances about the sport which he loved and to which he devoted his life.

Tyson compiled an impressive 24-3 amateur record. Two controversial losses to Henry Tillman spoiled Tyson's chance to represent the United States at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Tillman went on to win the gold medal in the heavyweight division.

Following the disappointment of not being able to represent his country at the Olympics, Tyson turned his sights on the professional ranks.

On March 6, 1985, Tyson, then just 18 years old, made his pro debut with a first-round knockout over Hector Mercedes. From that point on, Tyson’s goal was to capture the heavyweight championship. Finishing his first year with a record of 15-0, all by knockout, Tyson's place at the top seemed closer with each victory.

Less than two years later, and, after racking up 27 consecutive wins, Tyson signed to fight Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight title. On Nov. 22, 1986, after less than six minutes in the ring, Tyson, at age 20, cemented his place in history as the youngest man ever crowned heavyweight champion.

Not content with stopping at one title, Tyson’s mission was to unify the heavyweight division and provide the world with its first undisputed heavyweight champion since Muhammad Ali a decade before.

Tyson accomplished the second leg of his mission on March 7, 1987, with a 12-round decision over James “Bonecrusher” Smith to add the World Boxing Association (WBA) belt to his growing collection.

Finally, less than five months later, his dream was complete. On Aug. 1, 1987, Tyson became the undisputed world heavyweight champion by outpointing Tony Tucker to add the International Boxing Federation (IBF) belt to his resume.

During the six successful defenses of his unified heavyweight titles, Tyson defeated everyone in his path, including former champion Larry Holmes and then-undefeated former champion Michael Spinks.

For his 91-second destruction of Spinks, Tyson earned more than $20 million, which, at the time, was the largest sum ever paid to an athlete. Tyson went on to post wins over mandatory challenger Frank Bruno, followed by a 93-second rout of Carl “The Truth” Williams.

During this time, Tyson became one of the most recognizable athletes in the world and the most dominant figure in boxing.

A pro for five years, Tyson entered 1990 with a 37-0 record and 33 knockouts. His first fight of the new decade was in Tokyo, Japan, on Feb. 11, 1990, against James “Buster” Douglas, a 42-1 underdog.

On this night, the undefeated champion learned that not even the greatest of champions manage to go through their entire careers without suffering a setback. Tyson lost his first professional fight in what many consider to be the biggest upset in sports history.

Tyson rebounded from the devastating setback in Tokyo with two opening-round knockouts to close out 1990. Tillman, Tyson's amateur nemesis, was one victim, while Alex Stewart became Tyson's 35th career knockout.

Attempting to regain his titles, Tyson's initial 1991 fight came against the hard-hitting Canadian, Donovan “Razor” Ruddock. Many believed Tyson should not have fought the dangerous challenger, but the former undisputed heavyweight champion was never one to back down.

On March 18, 1991, Tyson and Ruddock finally squared off after a prior bout between them was canceled. Tyson won the first five rounds, and scored knockdowns in the second and third.

Displaying great determination, Ruddock stunned Tyson in the sixth round. When the seventh-round bell sounded, Tyson mounted a punishing attack and rattled Ruddock by landing four consecutive power shots. With his back to Ruddock, referee Richard Steele stepped in and stopped the contest with 38 seconds left in the round.

Three months after their first meeting, Tyson and Ruddock squared off in a rematch on June 28, 1991. Ending speculation over what would have happened had their first fight not been stopped, Tyson knocked Ruddock to the canvas twice and broke his jaw en route to a unanimous 12-round decision.

Following four consecutive wins after the stunning loss to Douglas, Tyson was back in position to challenge for the title. After talks heated up with then-champion Evander Holyfield, “Iron Mike” signed to fight the “Real Deal” on Nov. 8, 1991, in Las Vegas. Shortly before the fight was to take place, however, Tyson had to pull out with a rib injury.

After more than a four-year absence, Tyson announced his return to the ring in 1995 with two exclusive deals, one to fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the other with SHOWTIME Networks Inc.

Tyson’s long-awaited comeback finally took place on Aug. 19, 1995, at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. Tyson had been inactive for more than four years - three of those years were spent never touching a glove, hitting a bag or even entering a ring.

Showing no ill effects from his layoff, it took Tyson only seven seconds to send his opponent, Peter McNeeley, to the canvas. The contest ended less than one minute later when McNeeley’s manager halted the mismatch.

Only 10 weeks after his first fight in four years, Tyson signed to fight undefeated Buster Mathis, Jr. on Nov. 4, 1995. However, on Oct. 31, four days prior to the fight, Tyson had to withdraw because of a broken right thumb sustained while training.

The fight was rescheduled for Dec. 16, 1995, at the Spectrum (now known as the CoreStates Spectrum) in Philadelphia, Pa. As usual, Tyson came out swinging at his opponent early. At 2:32 of the third round, the outcome was sealed when consecutive right hands sent Mathis to the canvas. The knockout was Tyson's 37th, and first since March 1991.

Exactly three months later on March 16, 1996, Tyson received his first shot at a world title since losing his belts to Douglas in 1990. Before a sold-out crowd of 15,222 at the MGM Grand Garden, Tyson regained the WBC belt from Frank Bruno.

Displaying the old form that made him the youngest man ever to capture the heavyweight championship of the world, Tyson utilized uppercuts, jabs and hooks in combination with his speed and power to dispose of Bruno just 50 seconds into the third round.

In an effort to once again unify the titles, Tyson challenged WBA Champion Bruce Seldon on Sept. 7, 1996, at the MGM Grand. Tyson wasted little time in capturing the WBA crown by knocking Seldon out 1:49 into the opening round.

As a result of a court order involving WBC No. 1 contender Lennox Lewis, Tyson was forced to relinquish his WBC belt on Sept. 24, 1996.

On Nov. 9, 1996, Tyson met Holyfield at the MGM Grand in the main event of a fight card billed “Finally.” The title referred to the fact that the showdown came five years and one day after it originally was scheduled. Many observers felt this would be Tyson’s first test since his 1995 comeback. However, in the end, Holyfield lived up to his “Warrior” moniker.

A huge underdog going in, Holyfield proved that he was up to the task. Avoiding Tyson’s bombs early and doing a great job of counter-punching, Holyfield had done what no one thought possible and got into the middle rounds. The fight marked the first time Tyson had gone more than three rounds since 1991.

In one of the most exciting fights of the decade, Tyson’s winning streak was halted as Holyfield did the unthinkable by scoring an 11th-round knockout. Tyson had suffered the second loss of his career.

06.06.05 - In the most anticipated rematch in boxing history, Holyfield and Tyson met once again on June 28, 1997. After fighting Holyfield gallantly for two rounds, Tyson committed two flagrant fouls that forced referee Mills Lane to disqualify him. Tyson’s Nevada license also was suspended.

Tyson reapplied for his license in Nevada on Aug. 14, 1998. Following two hearings to determine his fate, Tyson was awarded his boxing license in a 4-1 vote by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Oct. 19, 1998.

On Jan. 16, 1999, Tyson returned to the ring against the much-larger Francois Botha. Following a slow start during the initial four rounds, Tyson went on the attack in round five and unleashed a right hand that sent his opponent to the canvas for good.

Tyson’s scheduled 10-round fight with former world champion Orlin Norris Oct. 23, 1999, on SHOWTIME ended in a no contest after the first round. After Tyson hit Norris following the bell had sounded and sent him to the canvas, referee Richard Steele ruled the punch to be accidental. Norris injured his right knee upon landing and could not continue.

Tyson’s highly anticipated European debut Jan. 29, 2000, on SHOWTIME was a smashing success as he scored a second-round technical knockout over British champion Julius Francis. To the delight of 21,000 fans, which represented a sellout at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England, Tyson floored Francis five times.

The former undisputed champion knocked Francis down twice in the first round and three times in the second before referee Roy Francis halted matters at 1:03 of the second. Tyson connected with a hook to drop Francis within one minute of the opening bell. A left hand sent Francis to the canvas again late in the first.

Pressing the advantage in the second, Tyson floored Francis for a third time after trapping him along the ropes. Moments later, an uppercut dropped Francis for a fourth time. A right uppercut produced the fifth knockdown and ended the bout.

“I was surprised Francis kept getting up,” Tyson said. “I hit him with some good body shots.”

In his second consecutive European appearance June 24, 2000, on SHOWTIME, Tyson made short work of Lou Savarese by flooring the former United States Boxing Association (USBA) heavyweight champion just eight seconds into the fight. Tyson dropped Savarese with a crushing left hook to the head early in the first round. He continued the onslaught with a barrage of unanswered punches before referee John Coyle stopped the contest just 0:38 into the contest.

Tyson’s return to the United States was an impressive one. On Oct. 20, 2000, he took on Andrew Golota in Auburn Hills, Mich. Tyson did many things well. He displayed impressive head and side-to-side movement, ducked punches and pressed forward in an aggressive, yet controlled manner.

Tyson cut Golota over the left eye and floored him with a smashing overhand right late in the first round. The former champion was deprived of the opportunity for a decisive knockout when Golota, citing injuries, quit and refused to come out for the third round.

For his next fight, Tyson once again traveled overseas as he took on Danish heavyweight “Super” Brian Nielsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Oct. 13, 2001. A beefed up Tyson weighed in at a career-high 239 pounds following an extensive training regimen to add weight while working with new fitness trainer, Gunnar Peterson.

Dominant from the start, Tyson began his assault by pounding the larger Nielsen to the body with combinations in the first round. A three-punch combination sent Nielsen to the canvas for only the second time in his career at the close of round three. Tyson continued to pour on the firepower through rounds four, five and six. A bloodied and bruised Nielsen could not answer the bell for the seventh.

Tyson made his first start in eight months, and just his second in 20 months on June 8, 2002, in Memphis, and was stopped by WBC/WBA heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. An overhand right hand ended matters with 25 seconds remaining in the eighth.

“In competition, the best man has to win,” a gracious Tyson said afterward. “I am happy for Lewis to give me a fight, the payday was wonderful. I would like to do it again.

“Lewis was splendid and fought magnificently. He was a masterful boxer, the better fighter and a true champion. He wore me down. He was good, big and strong. I just want everybody to be happy. I am glad we both came out of it healthy."

The fight, considered to be the biggest sporting event in Memphis history, was boxing's most lucrative ever, as pay-per-view sales trailed only the second fight between Tyson and Holyfield.

More than eight months later, Tyson returned to Memphis to face Clifford Etienne on Feb. 22, 2003.

In a very Tyson-like performance, “Iron Mike” floored “The Black Rhino” with a devastating right hand 49 seconds into round one. Etienne hit the canvas hard and was counted out by referee Bill Clancy of Pittsboro, NC.

Tyson - McBride will be produced and distributed by Showtime Pay Per View and is promoted by Raging Promotions, in association with The Stuckey Group and PMG. Tyson - McBride will be available to over 50 million pay per view homes.

UK Booking Details:

Live From The MCI Centre, Washington, D.C.
Saturday, June 11 9:00PM ET/02:00AM GMT
SETANTA PPV1, Sky Channel 438

OR CALL: 08708 500 005 (UK) / 01 834 0032 (ROI)

Article posted on 06.06.2005

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