Mike Tyson, the youngest heavyweight boxing champion in history at the age of 20, failed to escape his troubled early years of crime and Monday night was convicted of raping an 18-year-old Miss Black America contestant.
Tyson amassed a fortune estimated at more than $75 million, but his fame and money couldn't keep him out of trouble. His conviction of raping the beauty contestant July 19 in Indianapolis brings a sentence of up to 60 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 6.
Born June 30, 1966, Tyson fought his way from juvenile delinquency on the mean streets of Brooklyn, N.Y., to become the youngest heavyweight champion at the age of 20 in 1986. Groomed by aging trainer Cus D'Amato, who adopted Tyson when he was 15, Tyson was a fierce warrior whose aggression and no-nonsense approach in the ring brought back memories of Depression Era battlers like Jack Dempsey.
Tyson was vulnerable outside the ring, however, suffering through highly publicized personal troubles included a marriage to actress Robin Givens. The short marriage ended after Givens accused Tyson, who she claimed was 'manic-depressive,' of beating her.
The verdict came two years to the day after James 'Buster' Douglas lifted Tyson's heavyweight title in Tokyo in perhaps the biggest upset in boxing history. Douglas floored the previously undefeated champion for the first time in his career, putting him down for the 10-count at 1:23 of the 10th round.
Tyson had won his first 37 fights and became heavyweight champion Nov. 21, 1986 with a devastating second-round knockout of Trevor Berbick.
Tyson fought four more times, winning all four to run his record to 41-1 with 36 knockouts.
Tyson's relationships with women came under a great deal of scrutiny. Several lawsuits were filed against him by women claiming he fondled them. A Los Angeles woman filed a paternity and child support lawsuit seeking $11 million from Tyson. Blood tests, however, revealed Tyson was not the father of her one-year-old son, D'Amato, as Tyson had been made to believe.
Tyson's rocky marriage to Givens was like a year-long soap opera. Givens said on a national television broadcast in 1988 that living with her husband was 'pure hell.' She announced a week later she was divorcing him after eight months of marriage.
The union was dissolved by a Somerset County, N.J., Superior Court judge on June 1, 1989. The divorce included a secret division of their property.
The couple were married in Chicago on Feb. 7, 1988. Their stormy union brimmed with ominous reports of power struggles, violence and mental illness.
There was speculation Givens and her mother, Ruth Roper, were manipulating Tyson to gain control of his lucrative career and fortune.
Entering the ring with black trunks and shoes and without a robe or socks, Tyson caught the attention of the boxing world by knocking out his first 19 opponents until James Tillis survived 10 rounds in a 1986 bout. Undaunted, Tyson knocked out seven of his next eight opponents, including his victory over Berbick for the World Boxing Council championship Nov. 21, 1986.
Tyson went on to win all three heavyweight titles to become the first undisputed champion in a decade, then knocked out Michael Spinks in 91 seconds June 27, 1988 for a record $21 million purse.
The Spinks fight was followed by marital troubles and a bitter split from manager Bill Cayton. Tyson sided with promoter Don King after the death of Cayton's partner Jim Jacobs, who had taken over as Tyson's father figure when D'Amato died in 1985.
Tyson was released from an upstate New York reform school to live with D'Amato in Catskill, N.Y. D'Amato previously trained Floyd Patterson, who had been the youngest heavyweight champion before Tyson.
Among Tyson's ring victims were former heavyweight champions Larry Holmes, Pinklon Thomas, James 'Bonecrusher' Smith, Spinks and Olympic champion Tyrell Biggs. He also suffered a fractured right hand in a 1988 street fight with Mitch Green, whom Tyson had defeated in the ring two years before.