Mike Tyson vs. Robin Givens: The Champ's Biggest Fight
MIKE TYSON VS. ROBIN GIVENS
NOT even in Las Vegas, where so much is hype and make-believe, would anybody have put together a fight card as outrageous as the one at the top of this page. They would have said it was a terrible mismatch, and that even if the two squared off they wouldn't go the distance. The bout would end in a knockout.
And so it did. Eight months after Mike Tyson and Robin Givens were married on Feb. 7, 1988 -- eight months of public squabbling and, Robin claims, private beatings -- she filed for divorce and Tyson countersued to have the marriage annulled. Each accused the other of vile things. She said he had made her life "pure hell" and that she was now afraid to be in his presence. He said that she (along with her mother, Ruth Roper) had tried to manipulate him, had "falsely" claimed that she was pregnnant with his child in order to pressure him into marriage, had tried to alienate him from his old friends and from Black people in general, and had tried in various ways to get a hefty slice of his estimated $55 million fortune.
The undertones and overtones of Tyson vs. Givens (he's now 22, she's 24) will undoubtedly continue long after the legal sparring ends. But fight fans--and gossips--will for years talk about what has been at least a 10-round, no-holds-barred battle royal.
After dating various wealthy, high-profile young men (actor Eddie Murphy and Chicago Bulls basketball star Michael Jordan among them), Robin meets Heavyweight Champion of the World Mike Tyson. After a whirlwind courtship accompanied by public displays of great affection for each other, they marry in Chicago on Feb. 7, 1988, following the NBA All-Star Game and later repeat their vows in New York City.
A month later, Tyson's close confidante and co-manager Jim Jacobs dies. Reportedly, while Tyson is at his old friend's funeral, Robin goes to her new husband's bank and demands "Where's my money!?" She and her mother then begin closely checking the details of Tyson's business affairs. There's a confrontation with surviving co-manager Bill Cayton. Demands are made for an accounting of Tyson's earnings and a renegotation of the management contract. Result: Cayton's percentage is cut from one-third to 20 percent of Tyson's earnings.
Tyson begins acting erratically, crashing his $180,000 Bentley into a parked car in New York City while supposedly having an in-car fight with Robin. He tries to give away the car to two policemen investigating the crash. Then, shortly before his fight in June 1988 with Michael Spinks, Robin's sister, Stephanie Givens, tells the press that Tyson physically abuses Robin during arguments.
Tyson has a street fight in Harlem with a recent ring foe, Mitch (Blood) Green. Tyson ends up with an injured hand, Green with a battered face and swollen eye. Green threatens a lawsuit. Tyson pleads that Green "jumped" him and he merely defended himself.
Tyson rams Robin's $72,000 BMW into a tree at his training camp in Catskill, N.Y. A New York newspaper headlines that Tyson has tried to commit suicide. There are unsubstantiated reports that Tyson has a serious mental problem, that he is manic depressive, that his mood swings range from childlike docility to uncontrolled rage.
Tyson and Robin agree to be interviewed on network TV by Barbara Walters. Robin repeats the "manic depressive" charge, with Tyson listening intently and gently stroking the back of his wife's neck. Robin's detailed dexcription of the "life of horror" she is having with Tyson creates a furor, with Tyson supporters surmising that she is publicly laying the groundwork for a divorce suit. In a telephone poll conducted by Chicago's WBBM-TV (CBS), 97.4 percent of those offering an opinion state that Robin "should not be given …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Mike Tyson vs. Robin Givens: The Champ's Biggest Fight. Contributors: Not available. Magazine title: Ebony. Volume: 44. Issue: 3 Publication date: January 1989. Page number: 116+. © 1999 Johnson Publishing Co. COPYRIGHT 1989 Gale Group.
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