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Putting Teeth Into Iron Mike's Budget

Feb. 16, 1998
Feb. 16, 1998

Table of Contents
Feb. 16, 1998

Pro Basketball

Putting Teeth Into Iron Mike's Budget

Hey, Mike Tyson!

This is an article from the Feb. 16, 1998 issue Original Layout

Very tough week for you, I'll bet. I mean, you were probably
just sitting there at breakfast one day in your hand-rubbed
Kobe-leather slippers, munching fresh condor eggs, reading the
morning paper under your dwarf-blown Italian crystal chandelier,
when some little accountant in Florsheims walked in trembling
and said, "Uh, Mr. Tyson? I have some bad news."

"So?"

"You're broke."

Fresh-squeezed guava juice spewed from your mouth. Tiffany
silver slid off the butler's tray to the floor. The pet white
tiger spit out his morning poodle.

"I'm what!?!"

Well, not quite broke. But it was reported last week that you, a
man who made somewhere around $140 million in fight purses in
the last 27 months, are down to your last $150,000 in cash.
You're just about busted. Tapioca. Upside down.

You say you're fine, but you're in denial. You need me. I'm your
new financial planner. If we just come in on the ol' eelskin
belt a few notches, use a little common household budgeting, we
can get your empire straightened up in a hurry.

Now, first thing most guys will tell you is, "Lose 10,000-watt
Hair Boy." But I don't care if Don King is lighting his Cohibas
with your $100 bills, you have to have the financial acumen of
Spam to blow $140 million in 27 months. Not to be rude, Mike,
but do you realize that's roughly twice the gross domestic
product of Palau?

First off, we have to let the Visa cool down a little. Before
the first Evander Holyfield fight in Las Vegas, you supposedly
dropped $70,000 in one hour at the Versace store in Caesars
Palace. Not long ago you bought a $123,000 Mercedes over the
phone, to set alongside your four $320,000 Bentley Azures. Might
not seem like much, but a few hundred grand here and a few
hundred grand there, and pretty soon we're talking real money.

I've been to your mansion in Southington, Ohio, just outside
Cleveland, Mike, and I'm thinking we might be able to cut back a
little there, too. I mean, you've got a seven-car garage. The
night I was there, if I remember right, you had three Porsches,
three Rolls-Royces and a Lamborghini truck with white leather
interior. Mike, this is ridiculous. From now on, we go cloth.

Inside, you step into a giant marble entryway with a magnificent
spiral staircase. You walk by the most gorgeous Steinway grand
piano you've ever seen, which is wonderful, except you don't
play piano. Upstairs you had a king-sized sable bedspread on
your water bed. Had to be $50,000, low end. What do you say we
sell the thing at a yard sale and just wear socks to bed?

As for your closet, which was roughly the size of Keokuk, Iowa,
I saw pair after pair of the same Italian shoe, row after row of
the same black Armani suit, shelf after shelf of the same
brushed-velvet fedora. What is this, Groundhog Day?

Now, at your monstrous Las Vegas mansion, the one next to Wayne
Newton's, there are a few little items we might trim. Love your
life-sized warrior statues--Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great,
Hannibal and many more--but let's think multi-use here. What
about using them as sparring partners? Guarantee you, Hannibal
gives you a better fight than Peter McNeely.

Key thing: We need to get you on a gifts and entertainment
allowance. Remember your 30th birthday, at your 60-room,
52,000-square-foot mansion in Farmington, Conn.? You had a
three-day party and you served magnums of Cristal and fine
cigars rolled just for the bash. Then you gave six of your posse
BMWs or Range Rovers as party favors. Party favors, Mike! Do the
words Pez dispensers mean anything to you?

Besides the homes in Ohio, Nevada and Connecticut, you've got
that monolith in Bethesda, Md., where your yard runs along the
6th hole of Congressional Country Club. Actually the 6th hole
runs along your yard, which is just big enough to stage the Quad
City Classic. Again, this would be terrific, if you played golf.
Think, Mike.

We can do this thing. Just remember, if you begin some sensible
budgeting now, you might someday be able to afford the one thing
you really need just before you step into the ring with
Holyfield next time.

A prefight meal.

B/W PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT BECK [Rick Reilly]
You have to have the financial acumen of Spam to blow
$140 million in 27 months.