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The Rise and Fall of Mike Tyson


The Rise and Fall of Mike Tyson

By Bryan Armen Graham,

Early promise June 26, 1982

The Tyson legend was born at the U.S. Junior Olympic Boxing Championships, when the 15-year-old protégé of Cus D'Amato knocked out Don Cozad in just eight seconds to reach the finals.

Youngest heavyweight champion Nov. 22, 1986

A vicious second-round knockout of Trevor Berbick made Tyson the youngest heavyweight champion in history at 20 years, four months and 22 days. (Watch the entire fight here.)

Further exposure Nov. 27, 1987

Three months after unifying the heavyweight championship with victories over James "Bonecrusher" Smith and Tony Tucker, Tyson sat down with Darryl Dennard of "Ebony/Jet Showcase" for an in-depth interview.

Video-game inspiration October 1987

Tyson signed a two-year contract in September 1987 to promote Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! for the Nintendo Entertainment System, which hit shelves in October and became one the most popular video games of all time.

Commercial pitchman 1987-1989

Tyson was a global superstar at the peak of his fame with endorsements for everything from soft drinks to cameras to pick-up trucks. Jet reported Tyson received $150,000 for a plug of the 1989 film Lean on Me.

Kid Dynamite blows up Spinks June 27, 1988

This brilliant 91-second knockout of Michael Spinks, who had a legitimate claim to the lineal heavyweight championship, is widely considered the pinnacle of Tyson's career.

Tumultuous marriage Sept. 30, 1988

Just seven months into Tyson's chaotic marriage with actress Robin Givens, the couple appeared on 20/20 with Barbara Walters for this unforgettable interview. One week later, Givens filed a petition for divorce.

Meeting with Ali Aug. 2, 1989

When Muhammad Ali was a guest on The Arsenio Hall Show, Tyson made a surprise appearance (along with Sugar Ray Leonard) and garnered high praise from The Greatest. Said Ali of Tyson: "I'm scared of him."

Fall from grace Feb. 11, 1990

Tyson surrendered the heavyweight championship following a 10th-round knockout at the hands of James "Buster" Douglas, a 42-to-1 underdog, at the Tokyo Dome. (Watch the entire fight here.)

Rape conviction Feb. 10, 1992

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Nearly two years to the day of his loss to Douglas, Tyson was convicted of the rape of a beauty pageant contestant. He spent three years at the Indiana Youth Center and was released in March 1995.

Return to the ring Aug. 19, 1995

Tyson's first fight after his release from prison -- a first-round knockout of "Hurricane" Peter McNeeley -- grossed more than $96 million worldwide and set a number of domestic pay-per-view records.

Losing the title to Holyfield Nov. 19, 1996

Tyson, who had already regained the WBC and WBA titles, was an 8-to-1 favorite against Evander Holyfield when they finally met. But the 34-year-old Holyfield stunned the boxing public with an 11th-round knockout.

The ear-biting incident June 28, 1997

Holyfield-Tyson II failed to live up to standard of the first meeting, thanks to Tyson's infamous disqualification in the third round for biting Holyfield's ear. (Watch the entire fight here.)

Further unraveling Jan. 16, 1999

Nineteen months after the rematch with Holyfield, Tyson returned for a fight with Francois Botha. His dealings with the media became increasingly strained, as seen in this on-air interview with WWOR's Russ Salzberg.

'I want to eat his children' June 24, 2000

Following a 38-second knockout of Lou Savarese in Glasgow, Tyson called out heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis during this memorable postfight interview with Showtime's Jim Gray.

Another profanity-laced tirade Jan. 22, 2002

Following this skirmish at the press conference to announce his heavyweight title fight with Lewis, an emotionally unraveled Tyson took center stage in a verbal exchange with a heckler.

Humbled again June 8, 2002

Tyson's last shot at regaining the heavyweight title came against Lewis, who cemented his legacy with an eighth-round knockout of the former champion. (Watch the entire fight here.)

Long way down July 30, 2004

In another comeback fight, Tyson suffered a surprising fourth-round knockout against Britain's Danny Williams -- his fifth career defeat. It was later revealed Tyson tore a knee ligament during the first round.

Ignominious end June 11, 2005

Tyson's last fight came against journeyman Kevin McBride and ended with the once-invincible champion quitting on his stool before the seventh round. Said a subdued Tyson: "I just don't have this in my heart anymore."

Hollywood redemption June 5, 2009

Tyson credited his memorable comedic turn in the 2009 film The Hangover -- a role that played off his iconic "tough man" image -- with helping turn his life around.

More Douglas-Tyson:O'BRIEN: Douglas upset still resonates | Q&A: Buster Douglas looks back on upset
GRAHAM: One writer saw it coming | VIDEO: Tyson's rise and fall | VAULT: He Got Up And... (2.19.90)