After Mike Tyson: A Look at the Lives of Five Former Tyson Opponents

Steve WatersContributor IIOctober 28, 2010

After Mike Tyson: A Look at the Lives of Five Former Tyson Opponents

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    On a recent visit to the UK, Iron Mike Tyson finally dismissed any talks of a comeback to boxing, stating "I've had my time. And anyway, who has come back from years out of fighting and been successful?"

    With Tyson being one of the most famous sportsmen ever, it's almost impossible to avoid the many publicized episodes in the former heavyweight great's life, but what about some of his opponents?

Trevor Berbick

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    Perhaps Iron Mike's greatest-ever performance came in his 28th fight, when at the age of 20 he became the youngest-ever Heavyweight champion of the world by beating Trevor Berbick in 1986. 

    As a boxer Berbick will be remembered by most for not only the Tyson fight, but also for being the last guy to fight Muhammad Ali.  

    In May 2010 Tyson described his motivation for the Berbick bout, "I just thought that he didn't have to do that. This guy, Ali, was absolutely helpless…Ali couldn't do nothing."

    After the Tyson bout, he was never the same in the ring and was always seemingly in trouble outside of it.

    He had a stint as a Pentecostal preacher in Las Vegas, he fought a wrestler in the Japanese UWFI and had an infamous street brawl with former Champion Larry Holmes, footage of which can be found on YouTube. 

    Unbelievably he fought his last bout as late as 2000 in a fight which he actually won, but soon after he had his boxing licence removed due to a discovery of a blood clot on his brain. 

    Berbick’s life was so crazy it almost makes Mike’s appear normal. Born in Jamaica, raised in Canada and fighting in the United States, he never seemed at home.

    In 1992 he was found guilty of sexually assaulting his children’s babysitter for which he was sentenced to five years imprisonment but served only 15 months. In 2002 he was deported from the United States for the second time in five years and his problems did not end there.

    Berbick would spend the next four years in and out of trouble before being found murdered at a church courtyard in Jamaica in October 2006. He died after being hit repeatedly in the head by a steel pipe. His murder was described as being so violent that it mirrored his own life.  Two men were arrested for his murder, one of whom was Trevor’s own nephew, Harold.  

Peter McNeeley

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    Even though “The Hurricane” only lasted 89 seconds against Mike Tyson, he will always have a place in boxing history because he was the first person to face Tyson following Iron Mike's three years in prison for rape. McNeeley last fought in 2001, and other than Tyson never fought against a big-name fighter,

    After the Tyson fight, he appeared in some Pizza Hut ads before hitting a low point. He stated in a recent interview with Boxing Monthly, "a year after I fought Tyson, I was living in a crack house in Brockton and I blew $40,000 in six weeks."

    In 2006 McNeeley was arrested for a couple of petty crimes, the first time for punching a man and stealing his wallet containing a whopping $200, and the second time for driving the getaway car used in a robbery of a Walgreens store where he and his friend failed to get far with $180, nine bags of peanut M&Ms and a black fanny pack.

    It appears like he has put his criminal days behind him though, and his website (which looks like something from the mid 90s) is still updated to this day. You can even buy memorabilia such as signed photos of the man himself starting at $15.

Frank Bruno

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    Former British Heavyweight Frank Bruno is the only person who fought Tyson before and after Mike’s prison sentence. The second fight was the Brit's last after being diagnosed with a detached retina.

    Bruno had requested to have his boxing licence reinstated some years later, and he had planned a comeback to fight Olympic Gold medallist Audley Harrison, but the fight never happened because he was arrested under the Mental Health Act. He would later be diagnosed with bipolar disorder and claimed years of cocaine abuse was one of the causes of his mental state.

    Rumours in the English tabloids ranged from him sleeping in a boxing ring in his backyard to being spotted claiming he was driving his car to Jamaica,

    In 2005 he went on an after-dinner speaking tour with Mike Tyson and is said to now be in a better mental state. He continues to train everyday and on October 22, 2010, along with other celebrities, joined Comfort Care services in celebrating 25 years of positive outcomes in mental health.

Evander Holyfield

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    Evander Holyfield was on the receiving end of Mike Tyson’s most infamous square circle incident, having part of his ear bitten off in the duo's second bout. After winning the heavyweight title from Tyson, Holyfield went on to defend the title three times before losing it on points in a rematch with Lennox Lewis.

    In February 2010, the Real Deal's third wife Candi filed for a temporary protective order against her husband after he attacked her for complaining that the couple's mansion was cold. Candi also claims that Holyfield has hurt her before and that he has been violent in the presence of their children. She wrote in the restraining order request:  “In 2008 he choked me in front of our daughter and housekeeper. In 2009 he hit me in front of the children and a couple of weeks ago he threw a bottle of water at me.”

    At 48 Holyfield is still fighting and has this ridiculous self belief that he will once again become heavyweight champion of the world. The real reason behind him still fighting though might be his highly publicized financial problems. He always seems to be getting sued and also has a lot of child support to pay, The former champ currently has 11 children.

Clifford Etienne

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    The Black Rhino was the last guy Tyson defeated; Etienne took up boxing in prison and became the state prison boxing champion.  He was sentenced to 40 years for armed robbery, but served only 10 due to good behavior.

    Etienne had a quick rise in the heavyweight division; he turned pro in 1998 and was named the most exciting fighter to watch in 2000 by Ring Magazine.  Three years after his one-round knockout loss to Tyson, Clifford struggling with drug problems was sentenced to 150 years in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of attempted second-degree murder of two police officers and other multiple charges, including kidnapping and car jacking.

    His defense attorney’s argument was that Etienne suffered from brain injuries sustained from boxing and also claimed that he did not know what he was doing, as he was so high on cocaine.