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Tyson elected to boxing shrine

2010-12-08 09:33
Mike Tyson (File)

Canastota - Mike Tyson, whose reign as the globe's most feared heavyweight was followed by an epic fall from grace, was named on Tuesday for induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum.

Tyson headlines a list that also includes Mexican three-division champion Julio Cesar Chavez and Russian-born Australian Kostya Tszyu, a junior welterweight champion.

Mexican trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain, referee Joe Cortez, along with Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone were also honoured.

Stallone wrote and starred in "Rocky," a film about an underdog fighter from Philadelphia named Rocky Balboa that was released in 1976. "Rocky" was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning best picture, best director and best film editing.

Inductees were voted on by members of the Boxing Writers Association of America and a panel of international boxing historians.

Posthumous honorees to be enshrined in June 12, 2011 ceremonies include bantamweight Memphis Pal Moore, light heavyweight champion Jack Root, and middleweight Dave Shade in the old-timer category, British heavyweight John Gully in the pioneer category, promoter A.F. Bettinson, and broadcaster Harry Carpenter.

Tyson's rise to fame, and subsequent fall to infamy, has become the stuff of legend rivaling any cinema ring drama penned by the likes of Stallone.

He rose from the mean streets of Brooklyn, exploding on the boxing scene in the mid-1980s and becoming the youngest heavyweight champion in history in 1986 at the age of 20.

Considered unbeatable for the rest of the decade, Tyson's career went off the rails when he suffered a shock upset to James "Buster" Douglas in 1990.

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 and was released in 1995 -- and has always denied raping the woman.

"Iron Mike" reclaimed the heavyweight throne but lost to Evander Holyfield in 1996 and notoriously bit Holyfield's ears twice in a 1997 rematch, adding banishment to his ridicule.

He has battled substance abuse, been jailed for assault, and his last opportunity to recapture the heavyweight crown in 2002 resulted in an eighth-round knockout at the hands of Britain's Lennox Lewis.

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

While Tyson's tumultuous personal life and sometimes outrageous behavior overshadowed the later stages of his career, he occupies a unique place in ring history, according to filmmaker James Toback.

"There are certain people in various fields, they just become the representative, iconic figure of that profession," said Toback, whose documentary on the fighter premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. "To me as a boxer, as a fighter, it's Mike Tyson."

"I am honored," Tyson said of his election. "The sport of boxing has given me so much, and it is truly a blessing to be acknowledged alongside other historical boxing legends because they paved the way for me, as I hope I have inspired others in this great sport."

Chavez' trademark was the knockout. He notched 88 before retiring five years ago with a professional record of 107-6-2.

"I feel humble," Chavez said. "At this moment in my life, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is very special. I feel great to know that my name will be inscribed with the best of the best, to join some of my heroes and to leave a mark for my family and my country."

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