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Mike Tyson: The manufactured man

Was young Mike Tyson a man or an impressionable blank slate? That's the question at the core of this lengthy rumination on the career of Mike Tyson that attempts to find a proper place for him in the pantheon of boxing's greats:

Tyson became the highest paid and most popular athlete in the world. Not since Ali had a heavyweight champion achieved the status of a cult figure whose fame extended internationally, far beyond the boxing world. Men like boxing promoter (and convicted murderer) Don King and Donald Trump booked Tyson at $6 million, plus many times more than that for TV pay-per-view revenues, for appearances in the ring that often didn’t last more than a few minutes. A 1990 article in Sports Illustrated recalled that Tyson’s appeal was “no longer as a fighter, since it had become clear that nobody in this world was capable of defeating him, but as an expensive novelty act.” Tyson’s “aura of invincibility far transcended even his considerable boxing skills.” He was a 1980s bull market embodied in a single man.

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As a longtime journalist in Southern Nevada, native Las Vegan Andrew Kiraly has served as a reporter covering topics as diverse as health, sports, politics, the gaming industry and conservation. He joined Desert Companion in 2010, where he has helped steward the magazine to become a vibrant monthly publication that has won numerous honors for its journalism, photography and design, including several Maggie Awards.