Skip to main content

As any sports fan can tell you, professional athletes can earn massive sums of money. Some stars, like Shaquille O’Neal, use their salary wisely; others, like Terrell Owens, can find themselves bankrupt once the game checks stop rolling in. Unfortunately, boxer Mike Tyson fell into the latter category.

During his prime, Iron Mike was earning multiple millions every time he stepped into the ring. That led to some unusual purchases, including one extravagant piece of furniture.

Mike Tyson’s rise to boxing royalty

Growing up in Brooklyn, Mike Tyson never had an ideal childhood. When he was being bullied for his lisp, appearance, and lack of money, no one could have imagined he’d turn into one of the most fearsome fighters in boxing history.

After falling into legal trouble, Tyson was shipped upstate to the Tryon School for Boys. It was there that he caught Bobby Stewart’s eye. The former fighter believed the youngster had an innate talent; before long, he brought him to meet him to Cus D’Amato. The veteran trainer would take Tyson under his wing, helping him hone his craft.

Iron Mike made his professional debut at age 18 and never looked back. While D’Amato helped make him a capable defensive fighter, Tyson didn’t need any help in the power department; even as a young man, he was able to knock out opponents with brutal ease. That deadly combination helped him rise up the ranks, claiming the unified heavyweight title in 1988.

Mike Tyson lavish lifestyle included a $2 million bathtub

As Mike Tyson’s status grew, so did his wallet. According to the Los Angeles Times, he was “demanding two million dollars per fight in 1987, and earned $35 million in boxing purses in 1988.”

After growing up in poverty, that was a major change for Iron Mike. Once he had money, however, he wasn’t shy about spending it. His purchases ranged form the cliche, like jewelry and cars, to the cartoonish, like some pet tigers.

On one occasion, however, Tyson splashed out for his then-wife Robin Given’s birthday. Not only did he throw her a $410,000 party, but he gifted her a $2 million bathtub. Although it’s not clear what warranted that price tag, it had to be incredibly luxurious.

Unsurprisingly, bankruptcy wasn’t far behind

Mike Tyson didn’t stay on top forever, though. As the cliche says, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

In the ring, Iron Mike was famously upset by Buster Douglas; he then spent time in prison on rape charges. While he would eventually regain the heavyweight title, Tyson became as much of a sideshow as anything else. He still had plenty of talent, but he also bit Evander Holyfield’s ear, threatened to eat Lennox Lewis’ children, and got a bizarre face tattoo.

In 2003, Tyson declared bankruptcy; despite making more than $400 million in his career, he fell into massive debt. He’s since rebounded, appearing on Broadway and in movies like The Hangover, but he still serves as a cautionary tale. Even the biggest star can eventually go bust, especially if he or she is spending $2 million on a bathtub.