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Mike Tyson

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Biography

Tyson was born in the notorious Brownsville section of Brooklyn. His early childhood was marked by strife and unhappiness, forcing his mother, Lorna Smith Tyson, to provide for her family following the departure of their father, Jimmy Kirkpatrick, when Tyson was two years old. Tyson's reputation as a youth who would beat up anyone who ridiculed his high-pitched, lisping voice was fueled by constant abuse by older children on the streets of Brownsville. Expelled from junior high school for fighting, Tyson passed through juvenile detention centers, yet remained in perpetual trouble with the state for petty crime and violence. He earned his way through the tough streets of New York by mugging and purse-snatching; by the time he was 13, he had been arrested 38 times. He eventually ended up at the Tryon School for boys in Catskill, New York. It was at Tryon that Tyson's raw boxing ability and incredible potential in the ring was discovered by a juvenile detention center counselor and former boxer named Bobby Stewart. As Tyson was an outstanding physical specimen, Stewart trained him for a few months and then introduced him to the legendary Cus D'Amato.

As an amateur, Tyson amassed a 15-2 record and was considered a formidable opponent and prime candidate to represent the USA in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. However, two losses to Henry Tillman ended his chances to represent the US in the Olympics. Tyson turned professional soon after.

On November 9, 1996 in Las Vegas, Tyson faced Holyfield in a title bout dubbed 'Finally' . In a surprising turn of events, the supposedly "washed-up" Holyfield, who was given virtually no chance to win by numerous commentators defeated Tyson by TKO when referee Mitch Halpern stopped the bout in round 11. Holyfield made history with the upset win by being the second person ever to win a heavyweight championship belt three times. However Holyfield's victory was marred by allegations from Tyson's camp of Holyfield's frequent headbutts during the bout. Although the headbutts were ruled accidental by the referee, they would become a point of contention in the subsequent rematch.

Two years prior to the bout, in a post fight interview following the Savarese fight, Tyson had made several inflammatory remarks to Lewis, "I want your heart, I want to eat your children." On January 22, 2002, a brawl involving the two boxers and their entourages occurred at a press conference held in New York to publicize the planned event. The melee put to rest any chance of a Nevada fight and alternative arrangements had to be made, with the fight eventually occurring on June 8 at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tennessee. Lewis dominated the fight and knocked out Tyson in the eighth round. Tyson was magnanimous after the fight and praised Lewis on his victory. This fight was the highest-grossing event in pay-per-view history at that time, generating $106.9 million from 1.95 million buys in the USA.



 


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