In 1986, boxing history was made and a legend was born when the man who would go on to become the world’s most feared fighter was crowned the youngest heavyweight champion in sports history. Although Mike Tyson’s life unraveled after losing the belt four years later, he rebounded and is now worth $3 million.
Tyson not only fought his way to super-stardom, but also his way out of crushing poverty. Like so many poor kids before him, Tyson turned to boxing as an escape from the crime, violence and dysfunction that surrounded his life in Brownsville, Brooklyn, until he was discovered and adopted by legendary trainer Cus D’Amato.
In a 2015 interview with the Hudson Union Society, Tyson reflected on the realities of his poverty-stricken neighborhood. “Nobody was above killing anyone there,” he said in the interview. “It was poverty-stricken, drug-infested, gang-infested … I got involved with the negative entities there … I’d been arrested almost 40 times by the time I was 12 years old.”