Michael Gerald Tyson was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 30, 1966. Abandoned by his father, Mike Tyson grew up with his mother in a Brooklyn ghetto. By the time he was 12, Tyson had already been arrested for robbery and assault. In 1979, he met former Floyd Patterson manager Cus d’Amato. D’Amato was impressed with Tyson’s physical strength and convinced him to take up boxing. He also became Tyson’s legal guardian. Tyson was a powerful presence in the ring right from the start. He won 24 of his 27 matches as an amateur. Tyson's professional debut came on March 23, 1985 in Albany, New York. He knocked out his opponent, a heavyweight named Hector Mercedes, in the first round. Tyson reeled off another 26 victories, only three going the distance. In Las Vegas on November 22, 1986, Tyson met reigning champion Trevor Berbick in a heavyweight title bout. Berbick went down by technical knockout in the second round. Now 20, Tyson had just become the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history.
Defending his title nine times, Tyson earned the nickname Iron Mike. In 1988, he beat two boxing legends, Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks. Also in 1988, Tyson married actress Robin Givens. The marriage ended a year later and Tyson was forced to pay $10 million as part of the divorce settlement. The private debacle was followed by professional failure. On February 2, 1990, Tyson lost his title to James “Buster” Douglas in Tokyo. Douglas scored a knockout in the tenth round. It was the beginning of the end for “Iron Mike.” In 1992, Tyson was sentenced to ten years in prison for the rape of model Desiree Washington. He was released for good conduct in 1995. Tyson fought newly-crowned champion Evander Holyfield twice in Las Vegas. On November 9, 1996, Tyson lost by a technical knockout in the eleventh round. On June 28, 1997, he was disqualified after biting off a piece of Holyfield’s ear during the fight. Tyson kept on fighting, with mixed results. On June 11, 2005 he suffered a sixth-round technical knockout at the hands of Kevin McBride in Washington, DC. It was Tyson's last match. His remarkable and controversial career ended with 58 professional bouts and 50 wins, with 44 failing to go the distance. Tyson remained a divisive figure after his career ended. He piled up millions of dollars in debt and was arrested for cocaine possession in 2006. Though never a role model, Tyson has nonetheless gone down in boxing history.