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'Iron Mike' explosive in and out of ring

Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Hungry Tyson gets an earful
By Mike Puma
Special to

Signature Fight

June 28, 1997 - After not being able to beat up Evander Holyfield in their first fight, Mike Tyson tried to eat him up this time, doing his best Hannibal Lector imitation.

Late in the third round in their heavyweight title bout in Las Vegas, Tyson got Holyfield in a clinch, rolled his head up and above Holyfield's shoulder, and spit out his mouthpiece. Then, to the amazement of all, he took a chunk of the champ's right ear before spitting it out.

After referee Mills Lane penalized Tyson two points, he let the fight continue. In another clinch, Tyson gave the public more food for thought when he took a chomp of Holyfield's left ear. Lane disqualified Tyson.

Holyfield underwent a 20-minute procedure to have his right ear repaired. A ring attendant had brought almost an inch of the ear to Holyfield's handlers after the bout.

Before going to the hospital, Holyfield said, "It doesn't show no courage to foul to get out of the fight. Fear causes people to do the easy thing, the quickest thing. I'm the man and he can't handle me. This individual can not handle that I did it before. He lost his cool."

Wrote Jim Murray in the Los Angeles Times, "[Tyson] is one disturbed young man. He should not be allowed to fight again. Unless it is against a hungry grizzly.

"It had to be seen to be disbelieved. We've all heard of a 'hungry' fighter. But never one who tried to eat his opponent."

Odds 'n' Ends

  • At the Tryon School for Boys, the 13-year-old Tyson bench-pressed 220 pounds for $10 bets with the school staff.

  • Tyson's amateur record was 24-3.

  • Tyson won the 1984 Golden Gloves amateur championship.

  • Of his 19 straight knockouts to begin his pro career, 12 came in the first round. No opponent in that stretch lasted past the sixth.

  • In May 1988, Tyson dented his $183,000 Bentley convertible in a fender bender in New York City. He gave the car to two policemen, who were later suspended.

  • Tyson hired Donald Trump as an advisor in 1988. Trump billed Tyson $2 million for three months of consulting.

  • During a 1988 TV interview, Tyson's wife Robin Givens called him a manic-depressive and admitted she was afraid of him.

  • Givens filed a $125-million libel suit against Tyson -- and later withdrew it -- for calling her and her mother "the slime of slime" in a newspaper interview. Givens and Tyson were divorced in 1989.

  • Tyson was busted twice for drag racing his Lamborghini in downtown Albany, N.Y., in 1989. He was fined $300 and sentenced to community service.

  • He defended his unified heavyweight titles six times, beating Tyrell Biggs, Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs, Michael Spinks, Frank Bruno and Carl Williams.

  • After being indicted on rape charges in 1991, Tyson was hit with a $12-million palimony and paternity suit by another woman. Blood tests showed Tyson was not the father.

  • While in prison, Tyson was disciplined for giving other inmates his autograph.

  • In prison, Tyson flunked his high school equivalency test. Had he passed, three months would have been subtracted from his sentence.

  • Nine years after his 4 a.m. rumble in Harlem with boxer Mitch Green, Tyson was ordered to pay Green $45,000, even though a jury ruled that Tyson was provoked in the incident.

  • In 1997, Tyson suffered a broken lung and a punctured lung when his motorcycle skidded off a Connecticut highway.

  • In his comeback that started in August 1995, Tyson earned $112 million for six fights.

  • Tyson filed a $100-million lawsuit against Don King in 1998, accusing the promoter of defrauding him of tens of millions of dollars. In 2004, they settled, with the fight promoter agreeing to pay Tyson $14 million.

  • Tyson's fight against Orlin Norris in 1999 was ruled no contest after Norris hurt his knee and couldn't continue following an off-the-clinch-punch from Tyson.

  • Before fighting Andrew Golota in October 2000, Tyson said he was taking the anti-depressant Zoloft. "It really has messed me up and I don't want to be taking it," Tyson said. "But they are concerned about the fact I am a violent person, almost an animal."

  • Tyson refused to take a drug test before the Golota fight and was tested positive for marijuana following the bout. Originally ruled a third-round TKO win for Tyson, the fight was later ruled a no contest. Michigan boxing regulators also suspended his license for 90 days.

  • On Oct. 13, 2001, Tyson, weighing a career-most 239 pounds, registered a seventh-round TKO against Brian Nielsen of Denmark in Copenhagen.

  • Tyson met his second wife, Monica, while he was serving his rape sentence. They married in April 1997 and had two children, Rayna and Amir.

  • In 2002, Monica, a resident in pediatrics at Georgetown Medical Center, accused Tyson of adultery. They were divorced on Jan. 13, 2003, with Tyson agreeing to pay her $6.5 million in future earnings. She also received custody of their two children, their mansion in Farmington, Conn., and their house in Potomac, Md.

  • In January 2002, Tyson bit heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis in the leg during a brawl at a press conference to promote their fight.

  • On July 21, 2003, Tyson was arrested after a brawl with two men outside a Brooklyn hotel and charged with assault and disorderly conduct. Seven months later, he avoided a return to jail by agreeing to plead guilty to the latter charge.

  • Tyson, who grew up with a love of pigeons, has about 1,000 of them today.

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