But his early boxing promise was undermined by his relentless partying, which left him overweight and out of shape.After being charged by the police, Tyson says he consulted a voodoo priest and a witch-doctor over how he might escape jail.In the event, he was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison (he served only three).
Next year Tyson, now 47, will bring his equally self-serving one-man stage show back to the UK for a couple of £50-a-ticket dates.
As the supposedly reformed ex-boxer tells it on stage and in print, his descent into depravity and excess was pretty much inevitable.
It was at a special school where Tyson was sent for his persistent criminality that boxing trainer Cus D’Amato saw his potential and subjected him to a seven-year training regime during which Tyson had to chant each day: ‘The best fighter in the world.
The marriage lasted a year and included a shocking joint appearance on network TV in which a horrified Tyson sat next to his wife as she told interviewer Barbara Walters how he was out of control and manically depressed. Out of the passenger seat stepped a long-haired blond who Tyson initially thought was a woman.
In fact, it was a deeply dishevelled Brad Pitt, looking ‘stoned out of his gourd’. we were just going over some lines.’ After his divorce, Tyson’s lust for excess continued.
Tyson, a man who enjoys instilling fear in both men and women, recalls with relish the terrified look on the actor’s face as he pleaded: ‘Dude, don’t strike me . He loved buying cars, including Lamborghinis, a bullet-proof Hummer and a custom-built Rolls-Royce for which he travelled to the firm’s factory in England to discuss how he wanted it fitted.Tyson claims — probably accurately — that nobody else in the history of boxing had made as much money in so short a period of time.Nobody can beat me.’But even as he became junior national champion, the teenage Tyson was still behaving like a gangster — robbing houses, smoking the hallucinogenic drug angel dust and snorting cocaine.Sporting success only got him so far, he writes, because ‘you just go back to who you are’.After appearing on TV chat-shows and attending celebrity parties, Tyson would slink back to Brownsville.There, he marvelled at his pimp friends and the way they kept their prostitutes in line — even beating them with heated metal clothes hangers.