Mike Tyson Owed $60 Million In Debt—Here’s His Secret to How He Turned Things Around

Mike Tyson is widely considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, and with his 50-6 record, it’s hard to argue with the statement. Thanks to his massive success in the ring, he was able to earn obscene amounts of money in his prime, collecting $400 million and spending it on 150-foot yachts

Unfortunately, a string of bad life decisions and horrible money management led Tyson down a dark path and into bankruptcy. While it’s common knowledge that Tyson lost everything by the end of his career, few people knew just how deep in debt the former champion was. Apparently, he owed the government $60 million but was somehow able to change his financial standing and get out of debt. 

Mike Tyson was one of the richest boxers ever

Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson | Photo by Donald Kravitz/Getty Images)

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During the golden age of heavyweight boxing, professional fighters were able to make a ton of money from pay-per-view matches. During the 1908s and 1990s, boxing was one of the most popular sports in America and the intense matches were a huge draw for cable providers nationwide.

Tyson, being the boxing prodigy that he was, attracted millions of viewers from around the world during his bouts, and was paid handsomely to do so. In his biggest matches, he earned $30 million, and by the end of his career, he had received $400 million, according to Forbes. With endorsements from brands such as Pepsi and Nintendo, Tyson became one of the highest-earning athletes of all time.

Iron Mike lost his money due to reckless financial habits and controversy

Despite his significant earning ability, Tyson was not able to hold on to his money. He was known for spending his money with no restraint, spending millions on cars, jewelry, and clothing. He even claims that he would give away some of his most expensive items, including 17 cars that he gifted to people. 

Aside from his bad spending habits, Tyson began to lose endorsements and potential earning opportunities due to his tumultuous personal life. In 1992 he was convicted of rape and sentenced to several years in prison, which significantly hurt his public image and cost him endorsements. The wild incident in which he bit Evander Holyfield’s ears in the ring also tarnished his marketability as a sportsman. 

By 2003, Tyson filed for bankruptcy.

Tyson owed the government $60 million dollars but managed to get out of debt

Although the news of his bankruptcy filing was made public instantly, few people knew the particulars of Tyson’s financial situation. However, on a recent episode of his Hotboxin’ podcast, Tyson revealed that he owed $60 million in debts. He explained that the government assumed he planned on boxing to cut down the debt, but he had no plans of doing so. 

Ironically enough, his strategy for reducing his debts was to not pay them at all; because he owed them money for so long, debtors began to forgive his outstanding balances, reducing his debts by up to $7 million at a time. Eventually, the balance got so low that he was able to pay back $2 million and clear his name. 

Tyson also revealed that to rebuild his wealth, his current wife helped him produce a Broadway show that earned him a significant amount of money.