‘Iron’ Mike Tyson: The Baddest Man on the Planet
There is no shortage of killers on planet earth. Yet only one individual had the right to be called the “baddest man on the planet”. “Iron” Mike Tyson is that man, and he certainly lived up to his moniker in the ring.
Tyson is arguably the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time and was well known for his viciousness. He took all the fights and never strayed from the competition, despite his smaller size.
Despite his tough life and struggles, Tyson hit as hard as any boxer in history and became the first heavyweight boxer to hold the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles at the same time all at the age of 21. Tyson also made a spectacular comeback to win the titles for a second time.
Tyson is probably the most controversial boxer ever, yet he is one of the sport’s most beloved. He is a larger-than-life personality and his career ranks alongside any of the great heavyweight boxers.
Mike Tyson’s Early Life
Michael Gerard Tyson was born on June 30th, 1966 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NYC. He was born into a poor family and his hoodlum dad wasn’t around to take care of his family. Tyson’s mother took care of him and he was a wreck. Just like everyone around him, he too was embroiled in crime.
Tyson allegedly was jailed almost 40 times by the time he turned 13 years old. His mother passed away 3 years later. But Tyson’s guardianship was taken over by a man who’d turn him into an unstoppable beast: Cus D’Amato. Cus was informed about Tyson’s punching power by a juvie counsellor.
Mike Tyson’s Career
Mike Tyson’s Amateur Career
Tyson didn’t spend much time in the amateur circuit. He was moulded into the perfect boxer under Cus and he won gold at the 1981 and 1982 Junior Olympic Games. He lost twice to future Olympic gold medalist Henry Tillman but this wasn’t going to be their last meeting.
Mike Tyson’s Pro Career
Tyson made his pro debut against a boxer named Hector Mercedes. Between 1985 and 86, Tyson fought and won 28 matches. Only two of those fights were won via unanimous decision, while the rest were all knockouts and TKOs. Tyson also beat Mitch Greene here, who’d encountered him in a street fight years later.
Tyson would encounter a major setback as his coach and father figure Cus D’Amato passed away during this time. Cus had cultivated his style and brought the best out of him. Also, there were managerial problems due to Don King wanting Tyson’s contract. Still, Tyson kept on razing down the competition.
Mike Tyson’s Superstardom
Tyson beat former WBC cruiserweight champion Alfonso Ratliff by finishing him in the second round. This win along with his win streak got him a heavyweight title shot against Trevor Berbick. Tyson stopped Berbick in the 2nd round to win the WBC heavyweight championship and being the youngest champ ever.
His next fight was against James Smith for the WBA heavyweight title. Tyson beat Smith by going the distance with him. After 2 months, he TKO’d Pinklon Thomas in the 6th round to retain his title. He then faced Tony Tucker for the IBF heavyweight title, beating him via a unanimous decision.
Tyson was now the undisputed world heavyweight champion and the first-ever in heavyweight history to become one. He successfully defended his titles against the up-and-comer Olympic gold medalist Tyrell Briggs. Despite Briggs’s gigantic reach and height advantage, Tyson finished him in the 7th.
Tyson then faced the legendary Larry Holmes, and reportedly avenged Muhammad Ali’s loss against him by a TKO in the fourth round. He became the first person to knock him out. Tyson then faced and beat Michael Spinks, who had broken Larry Holmes’s undefeated streak. He won via a 1st round TKO.
Tyson’s next two fights were TKO victories as well. He finished Frank Bruno in the fifth round and Carl Williams in the first one. However, prime Tyson was going for a huge speed bump as he lost to Buster Douglas in a massive upset. It is said that Tyson was undergoing major personal problems during this time.
Tyson didn’t let the loss and his personal problems bother him too much though. He bounced back with wins over Alex Stewart and Donovan Ruddock. The latter was a dangerous fighter, but Tyson beat him twice. After this, Tyson was convicted of a rape charge and had to serve time in prison.
Mike Tyson’s Comeback
After his release, Tyson returned, fighting after 4 years. He made short work of serious contenders such as Peter McNeeley, Buster Mathis Jr. and he beat Frank Bruno for a second time to win the WBC heavyweight title. A few months later, he won the WBA heavyweight title off of Bruce Seldon.
These fights generated a ton of hype, publicity and sales. However, Tyson’s reigns would be short-lived. Tyson went up against former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield after his management underestimated Holyfield. Holyfield would finish Tyson at the start of the 11th round to win the WBA title.
In their next fight, all hell broke loose as Tyson bit off Holyfield’s year. This led to a loss by disqualification. Regardless, it was Holyfield who was dominating the fight prior to the incident. Tyson would continue fighting over the next few years.
He’d muster up some wins and would get a huge title shot against Lennox Lewis for the WBC, IBF, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles. However, he would be unsuccessful as he got KO’d in the 8th round. Tyson’s last fight was against Kevin McBride, which he would lose.
Tyson ended his career with a record of 44 wins and 6 losses. He is the youngest world heavyweight champion in boxing to date.