Tyson's strength fails in world of finance

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When news first came in of Mike Tyson's huge debts to the American tax authorities, he was seen proudly driving a sparkling new Rolls- Royce down an Arizona highway. Later, when he was asked if this was wise, he put his finger to his mouth and said: "Don't tell 'em."

Financial prudence has of course never been Iron Mike's long suit. He gave Winnie Mandela a cheque for $50,000 (£34,000) at a New York cocktail party and later admitted he didn't really know who she was. His boyhood friend and now reviled former co-manager, Rory Holloway, once proudly announced that before every big fight Tyson bought him a new piece of diamond jewellery. The promoter Frank Warren's fierce dispute with the fighter came after the latter's impulse visit to a Mayfair jeweller's left bills of more than £1m.

It is perhaps no surprise that Tyson's entire career is currently in hock to the American cable television company Showtime. His entourage is probably not as large as the one the great Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez built up in the prime of his career. Chavez had a retainer whose job was to help put on the champion's socks in the morning, and take them off at night. Still, Tyson still lives a life of some grandeur, however. His bill at his Copenhagen hotel, where he arrived 12 days before his fight with Brian Nielsen at the weekend, was said to be two million kroner – or £200,000.