Aside from Muhammad Ali, there may not be a more prominent name in professional boxing than Mike Tyson. Taking over the boxing world in the years following The Greatest’s retirement, Tyson was just a teenager when he began taking the boxing world by storm.
Over the next 20 years, he became a spectacle unto himself in and out of the ring. Fifteen years removed from his career’s end, Tyson is looking at a comeback, and with it came some fascinating prospects.
Mike Tyson’s legendary and volatile career
Tyson made his professional debut in a little-seen fight against Hector Mercedes, as Box Rec details. Over the next several months, however, Tyson’s domination in the ring gave him a large fan base across the world. Tyson didn’t just win his fights, he destroyed his opponents and embarrassed them in the ring.
In 1987, Tyson became the heavyweight title-holder after a dominant win over Pinklon Thomas. A superstar was born. Tony Tucker, Tyrell Biggs, Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs, several of the biggest names in boxing, fell at Tyson’s hands, and he showed no signs of slowing down.
It wasn’t until 1990 that Buster Douglas shocked the world and knocked out Tyson in the first round to secure the heavyweight title. Not long after, Tyson was found guilty of rape, and his career was derailed for several years thanks to his prison sentence and the ensuing bad blood it gave him in the eyes of fans.
By 1995, however, he was back in the ring. Tyson was already a villain in the eyes of many fans and media members alike, but his 1997 fight against Evander Holyfield took this to the next level. Tyson, who had lost a battle months earlier to Holyfield, bit a chunk out of Holyfield’s ear and was disqualified from the fight.
Although he had more highs and lows for the next eight years, Tyson never regained his star power of the early nineties. He retired in 2005 after losing three of his last four fights. Since then, he has had a rebirth of sorts in the media and the eyes of fans.
Tyson’s life after boxing
Thanks to his legal woes and reputation as a troublemaker, Tyson’s reputation took a massive hit in the years leading up to his retirement. His ensuing financial woes caused him dire financial distress. However, in recent years he has gone from hot-headed fighter in the eyes of many to a redemption story.
Tyson parlayed his reputation into a self-aware joke thanks to several appearances in the media, including the hit film the Hangover and a cartoon series. Furthermore, he became a best-selling author and a public speaker. His one-man show was a hit with audiences around the world.
Tyson offered a candid look at his highs and lows, and while the public had not forgotten his ugly past, they forgave him of his past misdeeds. Despite racing toward his 60s, however, Tyson might be looking to re-enter the ring.
Tyson hasn’t fought in over a decade and is ten years older than even the oldest championship boxers were when they claimed the title. This hasn’t stopped him from stoking the flames of a comeback, however. Tyson took to social media and released several videos showing him training for a comeback bout. Rumors swirled about whether these rumors were real, but they appear to have some truth to them as he courts offers.
From rematches with Evander Holyfield to bouts with younger up-and-comers, several opportunities have presented themselves in the wake of his comeback. One of the more interesting offers came in the form of a bare-knuckle bout—President of the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, David Feldman.
“While we did make a guaranteed offer of $20 million for Mike [Tyson] to fight for BKFC, we’re open to many options as to how we can work together,” Feldman told Heavy.com per CBS Sports. “Obviously, the excitement of seeing Mike’s video showing himself training and desire to participate in exhibitions inspired us to reach out and make the offer.”
The prospect of an older fighter entering the ring without gloves is a scary one, but Tyson has never backed down fro ma challenge, either. Regardless of how Tyson comes back, it is likely to draw a crowd as a curiosity. Tyson is already a mercurial presence in the eyes of boxing fans, and the comeback is sure to bring some of the baggage and excitement of his younger days. How he chooses to go about this will be a fascinating saga to watch.