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|Also Known As:||Died:|
|Born:||June 30, 1966||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Brooklyn, New York, USA||Profession:|
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to pass. In July of 1991, Tyson attended the Miss Black America pageant, where he met Desiree Washington, the 18-year-old Miss Rhode Island contestant. The pair returned to Tyson's hotel room, where he allegedly raped her. He was tried and convicted of the charge in 1992, and spent the next three years in jail on a six-year sentence. The former champ spent his time behind bars in intense reflection, reading Malcolm X and Communist literature, and converting to Islam, from which he received the name Malik Abdul Aziz. Upon his release in 1995, he appeared serious about reforming his name and making good upon attempts to lead a more disciplined life. But with the return of Don King to his fold, Tyson undertook another turn towards bizarre behavior.For the next year, Tyson battered his way through a string of inferior opponents, all of whom folded until the might of his attacks. One of the bouts, against WBA belt holder Bruce Seldon, ended in 109 seconds, with spectators claiming that Seldon appeared to suffer some sort of collapse prior to facing Tyson in the ring. Despite the criticism, Tyson worked his way up to a return fight against Evander Holyfield, the fighter he had placed to face before his...
to pass. In July of 1991, Tyson attended the Miss Black America pageant, where he met Desiree Washington, the 18-year-old Miss Rhode Island contestant. The pair returned to Tyson's hotel room, where he allegedly raped her. He was tried and convicted of the charge in 1992, and spent the next three years in jail on a six-year sentence. The former champ spent his time behind bars in intense reflection, reading Malcolm X and Communist literature, and converting to Islam, from which he received the name Malik Abdul Aziz. Upon his release in 1995, he appeared serious about reforming his name and making good upon attempts to lead a more disciplined life. But with the return of Don King to his fold, Tyson undertook another turn towards bizarre behavior.
For the next year, Tyson battered his way through a string of inferior opponents, all of whom folded until the might of his attacks. One of the bouts, against WBA belt holder Bruce Seldon, ended in 109 seconds, with spectators claiming that Seldon appeared to suffer some sort of collapse prior to facing Tyson in the ring. Despite the criticism, Tyson worked his way up to a return fight against Evander Holyfield, the fighter he had placed to face before his incarceration. Critics fairly slavered in anticipation of the bloodbath that would certainly follow; Holyfield, then 34, was seen as a washed-up fighter at the time, and due to a weakened heart condition, was in some danger of dying as a result of the fight. Despite these concerns, it was Tyson, not Holyfield who hit the canvas first after a devastating left hook. A follow-up was quickly arranged, and Tyson-Holyfield II came to pass in 1997. It was here that whatever tenuous grasp Tyson held to his reputation as a boxer was loosened, and the former champ began his long spiral into faded glory.
Both fighters received whopping purses for their participation in the event - Tyson was given $30 million, while Holyfield got $35, which amounted to the largest payouts in boxing history. Pay-per-view purchases went through the roof as well, with an estimated 1.99 million households tuning in. What viewers got, however, was one of the ghastliest displays of unprofessional behavior in modern sports. Onlookers were horrified as Tyson bit Holyfield twice on the ear, tearing away a piece of flesh at one point; the match was stopped in the third round, and a riot broke out in the MGM Grand Garden, which resulted in several injuries. The Nevada state boxing commission withheld $3 million from Tyson's take, which was soon followed by the state's Athletic Commission rescinding his boxing license, which effectively made him unable to fight in the United States. By this point, any and all reports on Tyson painted him as a bloodthirsty animal; the spurt of goodwill generated after the rape charges trickled to nothing, and the media was unwavering in its negative portrayal of the former champ. Though his license was restored after a year, Tyson's reputation was ruined.
Once again, Tyson made an effort to clean up his act. He quietly remarried pediatric resident Monica Turner in 1997, and reporters who visited his training sessions saw a focus and determination that had been missing since the early 1990s. Tyson returned to boxing in 1999 and worked his way through a series of undistinguished opponents; by 2001, he declared that he was "back" and ready to reclaim his throne. There were, however, unsettling reminders of his unstable side; a win against wild card Andrzej Golota in 2000 was changed to no contest after a post-fight drug test yielded positive traces of marijuana in Tyson's urine, and there was a brief return to jail after a road rage incident provoked him to assault a pair of motorists. Tyson's finances were also in jeopardy, with some $13 million in back taxes awaiting payment. The external pressures of fame and money, and the slow building turmoil within Tyson's psyche clearly contributed to Tyson's bizarre behavior prior to a match against heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis in 2002.
From the start, the fight was tinged with ugliness from Tyson's corner. In interviews, Tyson made statements about eating Lewis' children, and the pair even came to pre-fight blows in a 2002 press conference, during which Tyson bit Lewis on the leg. The brawl prevented the fight from taking place in Tyson's preferred location - Las Vegas - and was moved to Memphis in mid-2002. Pay-per-view purchases were again breaking records, but the fight itself was a letdown, with Lewis flattening Tyson in the eighth round. Pundits predicted this bout to be the end of Tyson's professional career. The fighter, himself, was oddly reflective about the match, and even gracious in defeat, embracing his opponent and speaking his praises to the press.
However, Tyson would continue to fight for several more years after the Lewis match. Crumbling finances resulted in a declaration of bankruptcy in 2003; a fortune of over $300 million had vanished in a flurry of bad financial decisions, as well as a divorce from Turner and support of seven children. Unsurprisingly, Tyson returned to the ring for a trio of underwhelming matches, made all the more exploitative by Tyson's new facial tattoo, which seemed to emphasize his older, more unstable identity. His final professional fight came in 2005 against Kevin McBride, during which Tyson stopped the fight to announce his retirement. According to him, he no longer possessed the heart or the "guts" to make a go of the sport. It was a sad end to a career that, at the time, was receiving mountains of tributes from the press for his past achievements.
Tyson devoted much of his time post-retirement to paying off his debts. There was a series of unpleasant exhibition matches against Corey "T-Rex" Sanders, an overweight punching bag who was nearly blind from a detached retina. Tyson also participated in numerous endorsements and various boxing related entertainment shows in Las Vegas. In interviews, he described his life as "a waste," with little to show beyond his persona as a vicious brute. He attempted to stay out of the limelight, preferring to tend to pigeons in a remote enclave in Arizona. But his personality continued to prove a roadblock for happiness. In late 2006, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI and felony drug possession, which resulted in 24 hours in jail and 360 hours of community service. Tyson checked himself into a rehabilitation facility, which helped to stave off a year-long sentence.
In 2008, Tyson was the subject of an eponymous documentary by filmmaker James Toback, who had previously directed him in the feature "Black and White" (1999). The latter feature was notorious for a sequence in which actor Robert Downey, Jr. appeared to taunt Tyson into throwing him into a painful headlock. For "Tyson," however, the former champ appeared exceptionally reflective - even philosophical - as he provided a stream-of-consciousness narration for clips and footage from his most famous bouts. Reviews were largely praiseworthy for Tyson's confessional tone, as were most critics' responses to a comic turn in "The Hangover" (2009), a broad laugher about a trio of hapless partiers whose drunken reign of destruction in Las Vegas includes an accidental kidnapping of a tiger owned by the boxing great. Tyson appeared exceptionally game for the light-hearted portrayal, which included a jaw-dropping moment in which he belted out a tuneless rendition of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight." The upbeat news, however, was tempered by the accidental death of his daughter Exodus, who had become entangled in the power chord from an exercise treadmill. The four-year-old lingered on life support for a day before dying on May 26, 2009. and Tyson demolished his opponent with a 12-round unanimous decision from the judges. The stars appeared to be aligning for a Tyson comeback in the form of a championship match against Evander Holyfield in late 1991.
That face-off never came
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