BOXING: Tyson Goes Bust after 20-Year Spending Spree

Article excerpt

MIKE TYSON made more than $300m (pounds 187m) and fought 56 times in his 18-year career, but he has now filed for bankruptcy. It is just the latest disturbing development in the life and crimes of sport's most notorious athlete.

Tyson filed for bankruptcy on Friday in New York while speculation about his career was starting to take a series of bizarre twists and turns. He claims he has no money left and people close to him claim that he has no desire to fight which is a fearsome cocktail.

Tyson, 37, has survived two financially disturbing divorces and a catalogue of other chaotic monetary adventures during nearly 20 years as one of the sport's best known anarchic icons.

Last June he was paid $25m for his fight against Lennox Lewis in Memphis. It was a fight that many believed Tyson could win at a time in his career when tales of excessive spending and dwindling bank accounts were rife.

On that balmy night at the Pyramid on the banks of the Mississippi, Tyson was beaten so thoroughly that many doubted he would ever put on a glove again but the awful truth was that he had to keep fighting to somehow match his spending.

Ever since Tyson was a teenage protege he has been reckless with his cash and an early incident when he was 21 involved giving a transport policeman in New York a brand new Bentley. There are thousands of stories like that ranging from gifts of diamond bracelets worth $200,000 to small personal handouts of $1,000. Many people inside the business of boxing have regularly pointed the finger at Don King - Tyson's major promoter - claiming that the great fight maverick had often paid himself far too much "in fees" for arranging Tyson's fights.

In 1998 King and Tyson had a spectacular fallout and they each initiated legal proceedings for $100m against the other. This case is still working its way slowly and expensively through the American legal system and there was a rumour last year that it was costing Tyson more than $1m per month to keep the charge against King buoyant. Tyson last fought in February of this year when he cleared in excess of $6m for 49 seconds work, but he has a large entourage of well-fed and well-dressed men and women and they all work for Tyson. Therefore, they are all paid for by Tyson and in his world of excessive glitz and glamour nothing is cheap.

Tyson's first wife, the American actress Robin Givens, walked away with a settlement of over $10m and last year his second wife left the divorce court with a promise of $6.5m from the boxer's future earnings.

In between marriages Tyson has been in prison on two occasions sadly with the assistance of some of America's most expensive legal minds. …