Mike Tyson had a troubled childhood involving dozens of arrests. He wrote in his memoir that it was a counselor at a juvenile detention center who helped to channel his focus from street fighting into a boxing career.
Tyson spent time in prison for rape in 1991, and is now required to register for life under Megan’s Law, according to his sex offender registration.
A new documentary, “Mike Tyson: The Knockout,” digs into his speckled past and how it led him to become a legendary heavyweight champion. The two-part documentary airs on ABC at 8 p.m. Eastern time May 25 and June 1, 2021.
Here’s what you need to know:
Tyson Said He Was Arrested 40 Times By the Time He Was 12 Years Old & a Counselor Introduced Him to Trainer Cus D’Amato
Tyson said on the IMPAULSIVE podcast in 2020 he had been arrested 40 times by the time he was 12 years old. He grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and recalled an early life of crime conflicting with his desire to make his mother proud.
“I didn’t want to let my mother down,” he said on the podcast. “My mother really did a lot. Always going to police stations to get my a** out. She would beat my a** so bad, in front of the police. I’ve been arrested 40 times before I was 12. My mother was so humble and proud and I was arrogant.”
He said on the show he committed “burglaries, pick-pocketing, snatching jewelry.” He added “One-punch knockout and then go in their pocket, robbery.”
His early crimes and street fighting landed him in the Tryon School for Boys, which changed the course of his life, he wrote in “An Undisputed Truth.” Counselor Bobby Stewart trained Tyson and helped him develop a love for boxing, Tyson wrote. The counselor later introduced Tyson to Cus D’Amato, a legendary trainer.
Tyson’s mom, Lorna Smith, died when he was only 16. His relationship with D’Amato developed into a mentorship after his mother’s death, Tyson wrote in the memoir.
Tyson Was Convicted of Rape in 1992 & Spent 3 Years in Prison Following a Highly Publicized Trial
Tyson was charged with one count of rape, two counts of criminal deviate conduct and one count of criminal confinement in 1991, according to his prison record. He was accused of raping 18-year-old Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington in Marion County, Indiana.
Here is his prison record:
“His arraignment on September 11 set the stage for one of the most publicized legal battles in modern history. On the heels of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill confrontation and the William Kennedy Smith date-rape trial, the proceedings would attract more than 400 broadcasters and reporters from the United States and 13 foreign countries,” Indiana Monthly reported. “Tyson was represented by Vincent Fuller, a well-known defense lawyer from the prestigious Williams and Connolly law firm of Washington, D.C.; Fuller reportedly earned $5,000 per day. The state of Indiana countered with special prosecutor Greg Garrison, a fiery, red-haired trial lawyer who hadn’t lost a case since 1973.”
Tyson was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison with four years suspended for each of the three counts, with the sentences to be served concurrently. He was also ordered to pay a maximum $30,000 fine, the news outlet reported. He was ultimately released after three years for good behavior, although he was on probation for four years following his release, according to The New York Times.
Tyson Denies That He Raped the Woman & Is a Registered Sex Offender for Life
As part of his conviction, Tyson will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, according to his sexual offender registration.
His Megan’s Law requirements sometimes require him to register while he is visiting other states, My Plainview in Texas reported in 2002. The news outlet reported he was required to register in San Antonio when he trained there briefly in 2001. He applied for a license to box in Texas to fight Lennox Lewis. Texas law requires people convicted of sex crimes to register with authorities if they visit the state, the news outlet reported.
“Mike always registers, Mike always tries to fulfill his obligations,” his attorney, Darrow Soll, told the news outlet.
To this day, Tyson maintains his innocence. He told MMA NYTT in 2020 “I did not violate that woman.”
Tyson Said His ‘Favorite Arrest’ Was When He Put a Ferrari Through Glass in a Building
Tyson told The Diego Show his “favorite arrest” was when he was driving a Ferrari and did not know how to properly handle the vehicle. He said the car was idling, and he accidentally sent it through glass.
“The car went through the glass window and I had to get arrested because of property damage,” he said on the show.
“It was pretty good, yeah,” he added.