Yesterday, Mike Tyson went on Toronto’s CP24 with anchor Nathan Downer. When Downer asked a question about whether Tyson’s past convictions would have a negative effect on his endorsement of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Tyson became angered. This resulted in a hilarious exchange during which Tyson berated the reporter with expletives, while Tyson’s handler attempted to reign the champ back in and Downer played damage control. Despite the incident making waves across social media, it does not even register as one of Tyson’s most shocking moments. Though Downer will disagree, as he looked like he was about to faint.
Mike Tyson is an extraordinarily complicated individual. He was brought up in the chaotic neighborhood of Brownsville in Brooklyn, NY, where he robbed, drank, and fought to get by. Following his mother’s death, he was sent to upstate New York, where he trained with the legendary Cus D’Amato. He overcame his background and mental illness to become the youngest heavyweight champion in the history of boxing. Then he squandered nearly all of his good will, with an abusive marriage to Robin Givens and a conviction in Indiana, which landed him in prison.
Tyson’s personal roller coaster has seen him bite off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear and mourn the loss of his daughter. He has starred in Hollywood movies and his own one-man Broadway show. He has endured an incredible amount of personal suffering and dished out more punishment than perhaps any other boxer in history. His incredible talent for violence was not always utilized in the ring, He has earned and squandered extraordinary amounts of money. His everyday struggles with mental illness and substance abuse continue to this day. His flaws, strengths, and unrelenting honesty make him one of the most intriguing figures in the history of sport. These are the most outrageous moments of his very complicated life.
10 Tyson KO’s Trevor Berbick to Become Youngest Heavyweight Champ
Mike Tyson was in complete control during his first title bout with champion Trevor Berbick. In the first round of the fight, Tyson caught the champion flatfooted and sent him reeling across the ring with a dazzling combination. Iron Mike came out of his corner in the second round throwing a flurry of hooks which sent Berbick to the canvas for the first time. Berbick rose to his feet for the standing eight count and clinched desperately as the round continued, hoping to escape Tyson’s wrath. Coming out of a clinch, Tyson slammed a right into Berbick’s ribs and followed it with a left hook to the head. Berbick went to the floor for the second time in the round and frantically attempted to regain his footing. He was never able to find his balance and the fight was stopped by referee Mills Lane. At the age of 20 years and 4 months, Tyson was the youngest heavyweight champion ever.
9 Falling Out With Teddy Atlas
Teddy Atlas has long been a detractor of Mike Tyson. This all stems from a period when Atlas was an assistant trainer to Tyson under Cus D’Amato. Atlas, a former youth offender himself, clashed with the then 15-year-old Tyson after Tyson allegedly grabbed the buttocks of Atlas’ 12-year-old relative at the Catskill Boxing Club. The enraged trainer then put a .38 caliber pistol to Tyson’s head and threatened to kill him if he ever touched another member of Atlas’ family. Soon after the incident, Kevin Rooney became Tyson’s full time trainer and Atlas was dismissed from the Catskill Boxing Club.
8 Tyson Knocks Out Larry Holmes
Tyson and Larry Holmes met at dramatically different points in their careers. Tyson was undefeated at 32-0, while Holmes entered the fight following two consecutive losses to Michael Spinks. Both losses came by decision, and Holmes was eager to recover after the first two losses of his historic career. In the fourth round, Tyson caught Holmes with a 1-2 combination that sent the Easton Assassin to the mat. Holmes scrambled to his feet, but was quickly knocked back to the canvas when the fight restarted. Following a second standing eight count, the fight resumed. Holmes bravely fought for a minute before a right hook flattened him. It was the only time in Holmes’ legendary career that he was knocked out.
7 Tyson’s Barbara Walters Interview with Robin Givens
Mike Tyson and Robin Givens were married on February 7th, 1988. Givens was a rising Hollywood star that had found popularity on the sitcom Head of the Class. In September of 1988, Tyson and Givens appeared on 20/20 to give an interview with Barbara Walters on their relationship. Tabloids had run wild with allegations of domestic abuse and instability from Tyson. During the interview, Tyson appeared calm and sat silent while Givens described their relationship as “torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine.” Following the bizarre interview, the couple divorced on Valentine’s Day of the next year.
6 Tyson’s Trial and Imprisonment
In July 1991, Mike Tyson was arrested for the sexual assault of former Miss Black Rhode Island, Desiree Washington. The incident took place on July 19, 1991, when Tyson invited Washington to a party in his Indianapolis hotel room. Corroborating testimony was given by Tyson’s limousine driver and an emergency room physician examined Washington and concluded that her physical condition was consistent with sexual assault. The trail took place in Indianapolis early in 1992. Tyson was found guilty by a jury of his peers and sentenced to six years in prison. He served three years before being released. Tyson maintains his innocence to this day.
5 Iron Mike Converts to Islam
During his time in prison from 1992 to 1995, Mike Tyson was considered a model prisoner. He also followed in the footsteps of Muhammad Ali and underwent a religious conversion to Islam. He was visited in prison by fellow Muslim, Hakeem Olajuwon, who vouched for Tyson’s sincerity in his conversion. In 1994, rumors surfaced that Tyson had changed his name to Malik Abdul Aziz, but this was later found to be untrue. To this day, Tyson remains a practicing Muslim and has performed his hajj, a religious pilgrimage to the city of Mecca.
4 Tyson’s Hangover Cameo
In 2009, Mike Tyson delighted movie audiences by making an extended cameo in The Hangover. The movie went on to become an overwhelming box office success and spawned two sequels. Tyson’s first appearance in the film comes with him sitting at a piano, singing along to the Phil Collins classic “In the Air Tonight.” After knocking out Zach Galifianakis, he demands that the Hangover crew return his stolen pet tiger. Tyson played the role with great humor as an actor playing a caricature of himself. Tyson now acts in his own one-man Broadway show, Undisputed Truth.
3 Tyson’s Post Lou Savarese Knockout Interview
In 2000, after knocking out Lou Savarese just 38 seconds into the first round, Mike Tyson delivered one of the greatest post-fight interviews in the history of boxing. Jim Grey asked if it was Tyson’s shortest fight ever before Tyson went off on an epic rant against Lennox Lewis. Tyson praised and thanked Allah throughout the interview in which he compared himself to Alexander the Great, Sonny Liston, and Jack Dempsey. He then delivered the most intimidating and accurate description of himself and a threat by saying, “My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart! I want to eat his children! Praise be to Allah!”
2 Tyson gets knocked out by Buster Douglas
Mike Tyson entered his 1990 fight with James “Buster” Douglas as the undisputed, undefeated champion. During many of his fights, Tyson appeared invincible. This aura of invulnerability was shattered that night in Tokyo. Tyson’s personal life appeared to be in disarray. He had fired his longtime trainer Kevin Rooney and his boxing style had suffered. Throughout the fight, Tyson struggled to contend with Douglas’ twelve inch reach advantage. Despite knocking Douglas to the floor in the 8th round, Tyson never appeared in control of the fight. Douglas targeted Tyson’s eye, which nearly swelled shut. In the 10th round, a flurry from Douglas sent Tyson to the canvas for the first time in his career. Tyson was not able to get back to his feet. Betting on Douglas to win paid out 42 to 1, making it one of the most shocking upsets in boxing history.
1 Tyson Bites Holyfield’s Ear
The second bout between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield ended in one of the most controversial moments in boxing history. The fight set pay-per-view records for purchases, but lasted only three rounds. Early in the fight, Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear, which led to a temporary stoppage and referee Mills Lane deducting two points from Tyson. When the fight resumed, Tyson chomped on Holyfield’s other ear, biting off a piece and spitting it into the crowd. Lane immediately stopped the fight. Tyson later claimed it was a retaliatory response for Holyfield’s unpunished head butts. Tyson lost his boxing license in Nevada and was fined $3 million, 10% of his $30 million purse for the fight.