Mike Tyson inducted into Boxing Hall of Fame

Canastota: Mike Tyson, once the self-styled "baddest man on the planet," searched for words as a ring career marked by glory and infamy ended with his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

An overcast, rainy day couldn`t keep thousands of fans away as Tyson was enshrined, along with actor Sylvester Stallone who was honored by the hall for his "Rocky" movies.

Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez, Russian-born Australian Kostya Tszyu, Mexican trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain and referee Joe Cortez were also inducted.

"I`ve got to be goofy about this or I`ll get emotional up here," said Tyson, who paid tribute to late trainer Cus D`Amato, the man who guided his early ring career and became his legal guardian after Tyson`s mother died.

D`Amato died in 1985, the year before Tyson knocked out World Boxing Council champion Trevor Berbick in the second round to become, at 20, the youngest heavyweight world champion in history.

"All this stuff started when I met Cus, and Bobby Stewart (a social worker and boxing fan who introduced Tyson to D`Amato)," Tyson said. "I was in reform school because I was always robbing people.”

When Tyson paused, the crowd encouraged him. He went on, but finally was overcome by the emotion of the moment.

"Hey guys, I can`t even finish this stuff. Thank you. Thank you," Tyson said, then sat down.

It was another emotional chapter in Tyson`s tale, a saga of punishing power, a meteoric rise and then an epic fall from grace.

Tyson finished his career with a record of 50-6 with 44 knockouts, personifying at times the best and worst of the sport.

"Iron Mike" gained iconic status after escaping the mean streets of Brooklyn under the wing of D`Amato.

His downfall began in 1990 at Tokyo when the undisputed champion suffered the first loss of his career, a 10th-round knockout at the hands of James "Buster" Douglas in one of the most shocking upsets in sport.

In 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping a beauty queen at a pageant in Indianapolis, Indiana. He served three years of a six-year sentence before his release in 1995, steadfastly denying he raped the woman.

Tyson reclaimed the heavyweight throne but lost to Evander Holyfield in 1996 and in a 1997 rematch infamously bit Holyfield`s ears twice, serving a year`s banishment in exile for the move.

Despite substance abuse and serving jail time for assault, Tyson made one final run at boxing supremacy, but in his last world title fight he was knocked out in the eighth round by Britain`s Lennox Lewis at Memphis, Tennessee.

Tyson filed for bankruptcy in 2003 and retired after losses to Britain`s Danny Williams in 2004 and American Kevin McBride in 2005.

Tyson quit after six rounds in his final fight, finishing his last round sitting on the canvas.

"I don`t have the stomach for this," Tyson said. "I don`t have that ferocity. I`m not an animal any more."

Outrageous and controversial remarks were Tyson`s stock and trade, but a kinder, gentler Tyson has emerged since then, appearing in "The Hangover" films and in reality television shows exploring his love of training birds.

Bureau Report

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