Opinion: Mike Tyson

POSTED: 08/12/11 7:17 PM

To put young St. Maarteners “on a positive track” tourism Minister Franklin Meyers announced on Wednesday that “the likes of Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson will come to St. Maarten.”
That’s an innovative direction, for sure, but we wonder about the choice of Mike Tyson, especially in combination with Evander Holyfield. Tyson is not exactly a role model, nor is he the poster child St. Maarten needs to promote the island around the world.
As an athlete, Tyson has of course a stellar record. He was the youngest heavyweight champion at the age of 20 years, 4 months and 22 days when he beat Canadian Trevor Berbick on November 22, 1986 in Las Vegas. Tyson built a 37-0 record until he lost his titles to 42-1 underdog Buster Douglas on February 11, 1990. On June 12 of this year he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
But there is a darker side to Mike Tyson. In July 1991 he raped 18-year-old Desiree Washington, who was Miss Black Rhode Island at the time, in a hotel room in Indianapolis. On March 26, 1992 he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Four years of this sentence were suspended. Tyson served only three years, from April 1992 until March 1995 in what is now the Plainfield Correctional Center in Indiana. During his incarceration he converted to Islam.
His $300 million career earnings did not make Tyson a wealthy man, because somehow he manager to declare bankruptcy in 2003. In June 2005, he told the newspaper USA today: “My whole life is a waste. I’ve been a failure.”
To prove the point, he got himself arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona, in December 2006 for cocaine possession. He went into rehab, and pleaded guilty to the charges in September 2007.
His first marriage to actress Robin Givens, which lasted from February 1988 until Valentine ’s Day of the next year, was described by Givens as “torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could imagine.” There were allegations of violence and spousal abuse.
In May of last year Tyson announced in an American talk show that he was “totally destitute and broke.”
This man is supposed to be an example for youngsters in St. Maarten? And he is supposed to come here together with Evander Holyfield? Anyone remember that in 1997, in a rematch for the heavyweight world title, Tyson bit off a part of one of Holyfield’s ears?
The next question is of course whether there is still anybody out there who cares about Mike Tyson. He was at one time the most feared boxer on the planet, but he has torn down his own image by getting involved in rape, domestic violence, drug abuse, and by blowing $300 million in career earnings.
Since he’s not here yet, Minister Meyers may want to reconsider the innovative direction he has in mind to promote St. Maarten. Tyson’s example certainly won’t benefit local youngsters, and his involvement with island-promotion could easily lead to a black eye.

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Comments (1)


  1. Andy Croxall says:

    Quote: Anyone remember that in 1997, in a rematch for the heavyweight world title, Tyson bit off a part of one of Holyfield’s ears?

    No one in St.Maarten can remember this because just as Tyson was about to enter the ring the Dutch side lost power thanks to GEBE. By the time the power came back the fight was over!