Mike “Iron Mike” Tyson says he is in great shape but in better condition as his exhibition fight with four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr. approaches.
Tyson is regarded as one of boxing’s greats and is a fully-fledged member of the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2013. Now 54-years-old, we thought we’d seen the last of Iron Mike Tyson fight in the ring, but that’s not the case because he’s stepping into the squared circle with 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr. at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, on November 28.
Tyson’s Rise to Stardom
There isn’t a boxing fan on the planet who would have bet against Tyson in his heyday. Tyson’s ferocious and intimidating boxing style earned him an army of fans and there were few boxers who wanted to take him on.
His first professional fight was against Hector Mercedes on March 6, 1985 when Tyson was a fresh-faced 18-year-old. That bout lasted all of 1:47 of a scheduled four rounds, ending, like so many of his fights did, by knockout or TKO.
Tyson fought 15 times during his first year as a professional and won all 15, each by KO or TKO. James Tillis was the first man Tyson couldn’t knockout, but Iron Mike still defeated him by a unanimous decision. Incredibly, Tyson won 26 of his first 28 fights by KO or TKO and 16 of those victories came in the first round. The man was a beast.
The man from Brooklyn became the WBC heavyweight champion of the world in November 1986 when he defeated Trevor Berbick via TKO. Less than a year later, Tyson beat Tony Tucker to claim the IBF heavyweight title. Victory against Michael Spinks in 1988, again by KO, secured The Ring heavyweight title.
The Demise of a Legend
By 1990, Tyson’s personal problems outside of the ring were what were making the headlines. We now know Tyson suffers from a bipolar disorder, but everyone just thought he was going off the rails at the time.
Reports of Tyson training with less intensity as usual in the build up to his title defence against Buster Douglas were proved true when Douglas put up the fight of his life. Douglas landed a brutal uppercut early in the 10th round that sent Tyson to the canvas for the first time in his career. The referee counted Tyson out and Douglas got his hands on all three of Tyson’s belts.
Tyson’s personal problems peaked in 1992 when he was jailed for raping Desiree Washington. He spent three years in the Plainfield Correctional Facility.
A comeback following his stint in prison saw him win four straight fights, including Mike Tyson fight Frank Bruno for the WBC heavyweight crown; that was the last fight of Bruno’s career.
Then came the now-infamous clashes with Evander Holyfield. Tyson lost the first fight by TKO and was disqualified from the rematch after biting a chunk off Holyfield’s ear!
Tyson’s career and life was spiralling out of control at this point. He fought a handful of journeymen towards the end of his career and featured in two no contest bout. One against Orlin Norris after Tyson punched him after the first round bell sounded, resulting in him hitting the canvas. Norris didn’t come out for the second round, claiming he injured his knee in the fall.
Iron Mike’s 53rd career fight, against Andrew Golota, was a no contest despite Golota’s corner retiring him. Tyson tested positive for marijuana after his devastating victory.
Three of Tyson’s final four fights ended in defeat. Losing to Kevin McBride in June 2005 was the final straw and Tyson threw in the towel.
The Comeback Trail
It is estimated Tyson earned an incredible $421.4 million during his career yet managed to run up debts in the region of $23.7 million due to his party lifestyle. He admitted in an interview that he was 90lbs overweight, drinking heavily, and abusing cocaine. Tyson fought in several exhibition bouts to help pay off some of his astronomical debts.
He married for the third time in June 2009, only 11-days after the tragic death of his four-year-old daughter Exodus. Tyson decided to turn his life around following that marriage.
Speaking in an interview to the British press, Tyson revealed how the Roy Jones Jr fight came about.
“I got married, my life started to change and I started working out. My brother-in-law asked if I would fight Bob Sapp. I thought about it and my mind went ‘ding’. I said I would fight and for some reason it went from Bob Sap to somebody else, and this guy, and the next thing you know, I’m fighting Roy Jones Jr. I don’t know how this happened!”
Tyson claims to be in “great shape but better condition” after shedding almost 90lbs in preparation for his exhibition fight.
Jones Jr is no pushover despite being 51-years-old, but it’s difficult to see past anything other than a Mike Tyson fight victory now Iron Mike has his head in the right place.