How Mike Tyson recovered after declaring bankruptcy with $23 million in debt
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Rocky Balboa famously said: “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward.” If there is one real-life boxer who epitomised that statement more than any, it is Mike Tyson.
After declaring bankruptcy in 2003 with $23million in debts, by 2018 the former heavyweight champion, known for his aggressive boxing style, had reportedly acquired a net worth of $3million.
However, it is important to remember that, in the case of Tyson, those hits were often deserved and almost always self-inflicted.
In 1992, the controversial boxer was convicted of rape and sentenced to six years in prison, although he ended up only serving three.
And in 1997, a rematch between Tyson and Evander Holyfield which in the build-up had been billed as ‘The Sound and the Fury’ infamously became known as ‘The Bite Fight’ after Tyson was disqualified from the contest when he bit off part of Holyfield’s ear.
Across a career that saw him, at 20 years of age, become the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history before a streak of dominance that saw him unify the heavyweight belts and successfully defend them 23 times, Tyson’s boxing earnings of $700million were enough to make him the 14th highest paid athlete of all time, according to Forbes.
But as a result of lavish spending, Tyson, nicknamed ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ who, over a 20-year professional career, won 44 of his 50 wins by knockout, filed for bankruptcy in the early 2000s.
By that time, he had accumulated $23 million in debts, including a $9 million divorce settlement with his second wife, Monica Turner, $13.4 million in unpaid US taxes, and $4 million in unpaid British taxes.
But thanks to several lucrative book deals and a number of high-profile movie and TV roles, most memorably playing himself in ‘The Hangover’ film series, the 56-year-old’s post-boxing exploits have enabled him to resurrect his finances and establish a seven-figure net worth.
Tyson also reportedly earns close to £500,000 each month through a cannabis business he set up in 2016 via his Tyson Holistic label.
By his own admission, the drug, which was made legal for recreational use in California in the same year, has helped change his life.
Speaking to Cannabis Tech Today in 2019, Tyson admitted that he had experienced its benefits first hand.
He said: “I’ve been fighting for over 20 years, and my body has a lot of wear and tear.
“I had two surgeries and I used marijuana to calm my nerves, and it would take the pain away. But before, they had me on those opiates, and those opiates had me all screwed up.”