“I’m the biggest fighter in the history of the sport. If you don’t believe it, check the cash register.”
At the top of his game, Tyson beat James Smith and Tony Tucker, winning the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) titles, respectively, in 1987. As a result, Tyson made an estimated $50 million from his matches, and the endorsement deals started to pour in.
Tyson was tapped by then-Nintendo president Minoru Arakawa to create Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, which sold over two million units worldwide, and is now regarded as one of the best video games of all time. According to the L.A. Times, Tyson was “demanding two million dollars per fight in 1987, and earned $35 million in boxing purses in 1988.” He made millions more in endorsement deals with Pepsi, Eastman Kodak and Nintendo. That same year, having already won 34 bouts in a row (30 of which were knockouts) and seven world title wins in 16 months, the 5’10”, 218-pound behemoth knocked out Michael Spinks in what is widely regarded as the most dominate performance of his career. The bout was deemed the richest fight in history at the time, and earned Tyson a record purse of $22 million.