Social media is suddenly abuzz with talks about the relationship that two of the most eccentric Americans share. Their photographs clicked some thirty years back are doing rounds on social media. One was declared as “the baddest man on the planet” and the other is being dubbed as “the most ridiculed president ever”. You might have guessed one of them the least if not both. They are boxing legend Mike Tyson and US President Donald Trump.
The sudden buzz on social media has something to do with the month of July. It was in July 1988 that Mike Tyson hired Donald Trump as his chief strategist and adviser. The most common social media joke doing round goes like this: “Mike Tyson hired Donald Trump to be his personal financial adviser. Now Trump is the President of America. The moral is, your employee today could become your President tomorrow. So be fair and considerate to people.”
The teaming up of Mike Tyson and Donald Trump is confirmed by a 1988 report published in the New York Times. The daily quoted the then real estate tycoon Donald Trump as saying, “‘Mike Tyson has asked me and I have agreed, to serve jointly, with regard to future decisions about Mike Tyson’s career, including but not limited to the lawsuits going back and forth between Mike and his current manager, Bill Cayton.”
This pairing happened within hours of Mike Tyson shocking the world with his 91-second knockout victory over till undefeated heavyweight boxer Michael Spinks. Tyson fired Bill Cayton ending four-year contract.
Donald Trump had organised the fight between Mike Tyson and Michael Spinks to promote his Trump Plaza Hotel And Casino. The fight took place at Atlantic City, New Jersey. Promoting this fight, Trump had then announced, “This is the greatest live gate in the history of professional sports.”
Donald Trump and Mike Tyson at an event on July 25, 1990. (Photo: Getty Images)
Michael Spinks was the Olympic boxing gold medallist and Mike Tyson was the reigning first boxer to hold all three major belts – WBC (World Boxing Council), WBA (World Boxing Association) and IBF (International Boxing Federation) – at the same time.
Incidentally, it was the first UDS 100 million-a-minute fight of Mike Tyson. According to the New York Times report, Trump was hired by Tyson for a substantial fee. The amount of fee was not known. Cayton’s contract earned him a third of what Tyson made inside the boxing ring and outside of it.
Their arrangement ran into trouble after the death of Tyson’s co-manager and Cayton’s partner Jim Jacobs. Tyson’s wife, Robin Givens and mother-in-law Ruth Roper started questioning about the amount of money the boxer earned.
It is not clear as to when Trump and Tyson first came in touch. But the strain in the relationship between Tyson and Cayton gave Donald Trump ample space to sneak in. Trump is reported to have said that a day before Tyson-Spinks fight on June 27 in 1988, the boxer had expressed his “wish” that the then real estate mogul managed his finances.
Trump reportedly paid USD 11 million to organise the fight between Tyson and Spinks. The number of spectators crossed 21,000, who paid more than USD 12 million to watch the contest. And, Trump earned another USD 15 million as gambling revenue at the Trump Plaza casino that night.
Tyson-Trump pairing didn’t last long over a long list of issues including an alleged affair between the future US president and boxer’s wife Givens. In 1992, Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison for raping a beauty pageant contestant.
When the entire world turned against Tyson, Trump advocated that the boxer be allowed to train and fight, and the money earned in the bouts should be donated to a charity for rape victims. Tyson returned the favour in 2015, when Trump was running for US presidential poll and being criticised for his Islamophobic comments. Tyson, who had converted to Islam during his incarceration, supported Trump in the presidential election.