Boxing: Tyson goes bust after 20-year spending spree

Mike Tyson made more than $300m (£187m) and fought 56 times in his 18-year career, but he has now filed for bankruptcy. It is just the latest disturbing development in the life and crimes of sport's most notorious athlete.

Tyson filed for bankruptcy on Friday in New York while speculation about his career was starting to take a series of bizarre twists and turns. He claims he has no money left and people close to him claim that he has no desire to fight which is a fearsome cocktail.

Tyson, 37, has survived two financially disturbing divorces and a catalogue of other chaotic monetary adventures during nearly 20 years as one of the sport's best known anarchic icons.

Last June he was paid $25m for his fight against Lennox Lewis in Memphis. It was a fight that many believed Tyson could win at a time in his career when tales of excessive spending and dwindling bank accounts were rife.

On that balmy night at the Pyramid on the banks of the Mississippi, Tyson was beaten so thoroughly that many doubted he would ever put on a glove again but the awful truth was that he had to keep fighting to somehow match his spending.

Ever since Tyson was a teenage protégé he has been reckless with his cash and an early incident when he was 21 involved giving a transport policeman in New York a brand new Bentley. There are thousands of stories like that ranging from gifts of diamond bracelets worth $200,000 to small personal handouts of $1,000. Many people inside the business of boxing have regularly pointed the finger at Don King - Tyson's major promoter - claiming that the great fight maverick had often paid himself far too much "in fees" for arranging Tyson's fights.

In 1998 King and Tyson had a spectacular fallout and they each initiated legal proceedings for $100m against the other. This case is still working its way slowly and expensively through the American legal system and there was a rumour last year that it was costing Tyson more than $1m per month to keep the charge against King buoyant. Tyson last fought in February of this year when he cleared in excess of $6m for 49 seconds work, but he has a large entourage of well-fed and well-dressed men and women and they all work for Tyson. Therefore, they are all paid for by Tyson and in his world of excessive glitz and glamour nothing is cheap.

Tyson's first wife, the American actress Robin Givens, walked away with a settlement of over $10m and last year his second wife left the divorce court with a promise of $6.5m from the boxer's future earnings.

In between marriages Tyson has been in prison on two occasions sadly with the assistance of some of America's most expensive legal minds. In addition to the prison sentences, one for rape and one for a road rage incident, Tyson has repeatedly had to defend himself against a seemingly endless catalogue of sexual harassment charges. Three years ago it was said that he retained legal representation at a cost of $10,000 each week just in case the police raided his home in Las Vegas one more time.

Perhaps Tyson is best known for his mad spending on things like rare tigers, a snip at a $100,000, and his shopping sprees in the exclusive stores in Las Vegas that often run to more than half a million dollars. I have been on one and the figures are quite staggering.

In 2000 when he fought in Manchester against Julius Francis, Tyson wanted to buy a Formula One racing car and no amount of zeroes would dissuade him from his search. Thankfully, it was pointed out to him that he would never be able to drive the car on the street and that seemed to do the trick, but he settled instead on a watch that cost nearly £1m.

Tyson will still continue with his legal fight against King, but even if he wins there is unlikely to be very much left after the lawyers have had their spoils. Hopefully, he will fight again but unless he has a drastic change in the way he runs his life he will be fighting for nothing which, according to him, is exactly what he has left from his career so far.

Perhaps he will actually do what he said he would do during a BBC documentary in 2000 and pack it all in and go to Africa and devote his life as an aid-worker for nothing.

FIGHTING MAN TYSON'S MILESTONES

1966: Born 30 June in Brooklyn.

1985: Starts professional career with first-round knockout of Hector Mercedes.

1987: Becomes undisputed world heavyweight champion beating IBF title-holder Tony Tucker.

1988: Marries actress Robin Givens, but they divorce the following year.

1991: Charged for rape of Desiree Washington

1992: Convicted on rape and other charges, jailed for six years.

1997: Fined £2m and lost Nevada licence after biting Evander Holyfield's ears.

1998: Sentenced to a year in prison for assault.

1999: Fined £125,000 by the British Boxing Board of Control for striking the referee, John Coyle.

2002: Lewis stops Tyson in the eighth round in Memphis.

2003: 22 Feb - Beats Clifford Etienne with first-round knock-out.

3 Aug - Files for bankruptcy.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border