News24

Iron Mike in Hall of Fame

2011-06-11 08:11

New York - Mike Tyson will be among the legends to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota on Sunday.

Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez, Russia-born Australian Kostya Tszyu, Mexican trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain, referee Joe Cortez and Hollywood star Sylvester "Rocky" Stallone will also be honoured.

Tyson, three weeks shy of his 45th birthday, became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history in 1986 when he was 20 years old.

He retired with a record of 50 wins, 44 knockouts and 6 defeats.

"I am honoured," Tyson said on Friday. "Boxing has given me so much and it is truly a blessing to be acknowledged alongside legends who paved the way for me, as I hope I have inspired others."

None of the other new Hall of Famers matched the levels Tyson reached as a global sports icon, especially in his younger days after escaping the mean streets of Brooklyn and finding riches by pounding opponents with first-round knockouts.

The downfall of "Iron Mike" began in 1990 at Tokyo when the undisputed champion suffered the first loss of his career, a tenth-round knockout at the hands of James "Buster" Douglas in one of the biggest upsets in sport.

In 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping a beauty queen at a pageant in Indianapolis, Indiana. He served three years of a six-year sentence before his release in 1995, steadfastly denying he raped the woman.

Tyson reclaimed the heavyweight throne but lost to Evander Holyfield in 1996. In a 1997 rematch he infamously bit Holyfield's ears twice. He was banned for a year.

Despite substance abuse and serving jail time for assault, Tyson made one final run at boxing supremacy, but in his last world title fight he was knocked out in the eighth round by Britain's Lennox Lewis at Memphis, Tennessee.

Tyson filed for bankruptcy in 2003 and retired after losses to Britain's Danny Williams in 2004 and American Kevin McBride in 2005.

He quit after six rounds in his final fight, finishing his last round sitting on the canvas. "I don't have the stomach for this," he said. "I don't have that ferocity. I'm not an animal anymore."

Outrageous and controversial remarks were Tyson's trademark, but a kinder, gentler Tyson has emerged since then, appearing in "The Hangover" films and in reality television shows exploring his love of training birds.

AFP