ON THIS DAY IN 1985: He was sent to a reform school in 1978 in upstate New York. He was just 12 then, but who knew this boy, a member of street gangs at such a young age, would accomplish so much in the boxing ring? Seven years later, on March 6, 1985, that means on this day, that year, Mike Tyson stepped into the boxing ring for his debut bout against Hector Mercedes. The 18-year-old defeated Mercedes via first-round TKO in what was just the beginning of a legend the boxing world was to witness over the next two decades.
Here are some key and controversial facts about Tyson’s career:
1) In November 1986, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in the history of the sport, knocking out Trevor Berbick in the second round, claiming the World Boxing Council (WBC) crown. Tyson at the time was 20 years and 150 days old.
2) Three months after winning the WBC title, Tyson won the World Boxing Association (WBA) belt, defeating James Smith on March 7, 1987.
3) And then he didn’t have to wait for too long before all three -WBC, WBA, and International Boxing Federation (IBF) unanimously recognised as the champion. In the following years, Tyson remained a dominant force, successfully defending his titles 10 times, including victories over former champions Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks.
4) In 1988, Tyson destroyed Michael Spinks, knocking him out in a bout that lasted 91 seconds. In his early part of the career, Tyson was given several nicknames, including “Iron Mike” and “Kid Dynamite”.
5) After having ruled the boxing arena for almost half of the decade, February 11, 1990, was a day of one of the biggest upsets in the history of the boxing world when Tyson lost his championship to James Douglas.
6) In the following year, Tyson was accused of having raped a beauty pageant contestant. In 1992, he was convicted of the charge and sent to jail.
7) Tyson returned to the arena in 1995 after having served three years in jail and won the WBC title in March 1996. He then won the WBA belt in September before losing it to Evander Holyfield two months later.
8) There was no end to his troubles. In 1997, Tyson was disqualified after he bit Evander Holyfield’s ear in the third round of their June fight. His disqualification also cost him a chance to retake the WBA title.
9) Over the next few years, Tyson did add a few victories to his illustrious albeit controversial career, but it gradually became known that he was well past his prime. In 2005, Tyson didn’t come out for the seventh round of his fight against Kevin McBride. It proved to be his last fight as Tyson announced his retirement after it
10) The boxer’s career record includes 50 wins, including a staggering 44 KOs, six losses, and two no contests. The “Iron Mike” had later come to be known as “The Baddest Man on the Planet”.