Mike Tyson was facing a long stretch in prison that would ultimately cut short one of the greatest careers in the sport. Back in 1992, Tyson got six years for alleged rape and came out with a completely different character.
Gone was the unmistakable aura Tyson once possessed which could paralyze opponents with one glance. Tyson was now a religious man and intent on capitalizing on his name.
But before the sentence was handed down and ultimately meant Tyson would spend almost three years behind bars, his promoter Don King was not convinced a guilty verdict would come.
Tyson firstly explains in his Undisputed Truth Book from 2013 that King was expected a completely reversed outcome. Tyson, himself, knew differently from the vibes given out during the trial.
“Some of my anger was understandable,” said Tyson in his autobiography. “I was a twenty-five-year-old kid facing sixty years in jail.
“My promoter had kept assuring me that I would walk from these charges. He had hired Vince Fuller, the best lawyer that a million-dollar fee could buy.
“But I knew from the start that I was in trouble. I wasn’t being tried in New York or Los Angeles; we were in Indianapolis, Indiana, historically one of the strongholds of the Ku Klux Klan.
“My judge, Patricia Gifford, was a former sex-crimes prosecutor and was known as ‘The Hanging Judge.’
“I had been found guilty by a jury of my ‘peers,’ two of whom were black. Another black jury member had been excused by the judge after a fire in the hotel where the jurors were staying. But in my mind, I had no peers.
“I was the youngest heavyweight champion in the history of boxing. I was a titan, the reincarnation of Alexander the Great. My style was impetuous, my defenses were impregnable, and I was ferocious.
“It’s amazing how low self-esteem and a huge ego can give you delusions of grandeur. But after the trial, this god among men had to get his black ass back in court for his sentencing.”
As we know now, Mike Tyson would never be the same fighter he was before due to his lifestyle spiraling out of control in the late 1980s. His heyday was certainly 1984 to 1989.
Therefore, Tyson’s credentials as one of the top ten heavyweights of all time are constantly questioned. Are four years enough?
Many say yes, that quartet of fearsome twelve-month periods laid enough groundwork for Tyson to be considered up there with Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and the best ever.
It could be argued that for around a two or three-year stint, Tyson was largely unbeatable. So for that, ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ simply must be in the shake-up.
Follow more from WBN’s chronicles of the Undisputed Truth in the coming weeks.
Phil Jay is Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay