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Mike Tyson on why he knew he’d go to jail when rape trial began

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  • 3 min read

Mike Tyson confirmed that promoter Don King told him he’d walk free from a jail sentence hanging over him at the height of his powers.

Tyson faced a long stretch in prison that would ultimately cut short one of their most remarkable sports careers. In 1992, Tyson got six years for alleged rape and came out with a wholly altered character.

Gone was the unmistakable aura Tyson once possessed. An aura that 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, which ultimately meant Tyson would spend almost three years behind bars, his promoter Don King was not convinced a guilty verdict would come.

Mike Tyson knew prison was coming

Tyson first explains in his Undisputed Truth Book from 2013 that King expected a completely reversed outcome. Tyson 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.”

On why it was apparent a custodial sentence was forthcoming, Tyson added: “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. The judge had excused another black jury member after a fire in the hotel where the jurors were staying. But in my mind, I had no peers.”

Lowest point

Tyson can admit his faults, from believing he was indestructible to his lowest point.

“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 a** 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.

Hall of Famer

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 there was.

It could be argued that Tyson was essentially unbeatable for around a two- or three-year stint. So for that, ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ must at least be in the heaviest hitter shake-up.

Mike Tyson The Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography. By HarperCollins Publishers.