But on Friday, he divulged a new chapter in the tumultuous story of his life—drug and alcohol abuse.
"I'm on the verge of dying because I'm a vicious alcoholic," Tyson told reporters at the Turning Stone Resort in New York, where Argenis Mendez retained his IBF junior lightweight title after battling to a 12-round draw with challenger Arash Usmanee.
Friday night's main event, however, was overshadowed by Tyson's press conference-turned-confessional from earlier in the day.
"I haven't drank or took drugs in six days, and for me that's a miracle. I've been lying to everybody else that think I was sober, but I'm not.
"This is my sixth day. I'm never gonna use again," a choked up Tyson told the media, who gave him a standing ovation.
You can listen to his comments below, including his desire to make amends with former trainer Teddy Atlas.
Say what you will about Tyson, but there has always been something so refreshing and beautiful about his honesty. To watch him and listen to him speak about his personal struggles with drugs and alcohol, it's clear that his confession is genuine and his emotions are real.
In revealing these problems, Iron Mike is revealing his weaknesses to others, shedding the fear of judgement and fighting to grow past those weaknesses. It's a vulnerable side that demands admiration.
There's little question that Tyson carries demons around with him, some earned, some given to him by the circumstances of his life and perhaps a few that simply came with the package. But at his core, Tyson has also always been a fighter.
In the past, he used his fists to win his fights in the ring. At one point, lawyers provided the jabs for some of his actions outside the ring. But now, it seems he is finding new ways to bob, weave and swing to conquer adversity.
Tyson can't change the mistakes of his past, but he can become a better man in the present and future, one that earns the second chances he's been given and rises above the circumstances of his youth that hardened him.
The next great bout of his life is against the substances that have held control over him. Here's to hoping he emerges victorious.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!