Mike Tyson: From Savage To Sage

Adebayo Adeniran
3 min readSep 26

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The heavy weight division of boxing has produced far too many great boxers to mention: Muhammed Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, the Spinks brothers, Larry Holmes, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and the Klitchko siblings.

But none of them moved the needle in the way that Mike Tyson did.

At his peak, there was a fearsomeness and aura which Tyson had in comparison to the names listed above.

His aura destroyed Mike Spinks in 1988 even before the fight began and Larry Holmes will forever regret the decision to fight Iron Mike.

And I have to confess to being traumatized by the beatings which he handed to the likes of Trevor Berbick, Pinklon Thomas, Tyrell Biggs and Tony Tubbs. These guys were professionals who were made to look like rank amateurs.

While it is important never to forget that Tyson lost quite handily to Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis, our man’s aura remains as powerful today as it was during his hey day.

And speaking of Tyson’s prime years as a competitive athlete, we should never forget that there was a side to the fighter which was ugly, violent and profoundly misogynistic.

British middle-weight fighter, Nigel Benn, once recalled hanging out with Tyson, in his limo said, that women simply threw themselves at him and he grabbed their private parts with impunity.

Benn’s account was actually corroborated by the man himself.

Once asked about the best punch he had ever thrown, he responded that it was the one that threw at his ex-wife, Robin Givens.

His description of the punch and her reaction left you thinking that here was an individual who was well and truly set on the path to self-destruction.

And he truly was.

In the run up to the fight against Buster Douglas in 1990, our man was high on cocaine and provided a fake urine sample to the authorities. His defeat to the unknown Douglas was all but confirmation of his downward spiral.

His subsequent conviction and imprisonment for the rape of Desiree Washington was ample proof to millions of people that Tyson was on the road to perdition.

Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible