The film first aired on HBO on April 29, 1995.
Mike Tyson grows up a troubled youth, who vows to be a professional boxer in the future. Manager and trainer Cus D'Amato begins turning the young Tyson into an undefeated fighter. However, Tyson becomes a difficult pupil who is often exposed, and slacks off during his training.
D'Amato surrounds Tyson with a group of trusted people, including managers Jimmy Jacobs, Bill Cayton, and trainer Kevin Rooney. D'Amato tells Tyson that as long as he keeps good people nearby, they can keep him out of trouble.
Tyson quickly rises through the ranks, but becomes devastated when D'Amato's health deteriorates, and he dies. Jacobs then takes over as Tyson's manager. In 1986, Tyson takes part in the match against Trevor Berbick in Las Vegas at the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship. At twenty years of age, Tyson wins, and becomes the youngest champion ever. In 1987, the match against Tony Tucker takes place, which Tyson wins, and he retains his title.
Tyson marries his pregnant girlfriend, actress Robin Givens. However, the happy event is followed by the sad news of Jacobs' death due to leukemia. Cayton takes on the job of managing Tyson. Don King approaches Tyson with an offer to manage his career. Tyson declines, but King is brought on as his new promoter instead. A battle of words flies between King, Givens, and Cayton in the media, as they accuse one another of swindling Tyson.
When Robin suffers a miscarriage, Tyson slacks off during his training again. This causes Rooney, in a fit of frustration, to tell him that Robin was never pregnant to begin with. Tyson is livid at the accusation, and knocks out two of his training fighters.
In 1988, the match against Michael Spinks takes place. Before the match, Cayton learns that he's been fired. Tyson defeats Spinks and everyone becomes elated, except for Cayton and Rooney.
Meanwhile, police arrive at the home where Robin lives, where Tyson is throwing a temper tantrum, and storms out. Robin tells the press that Tyson has become emotionally unstable and abusive. She moves out and files for divorce.
In Tokyo, on February 11, 1990, the match against Buster Douglas takes place. Tyson fights hard, but his team is poorly organized, and lacks the proper supplies. The match ends with Douglas knocking Tyson down and him failing to get up.
In 1991, Tyson is brought to trial for raping beauty pageant contestant, Desiree Washington. He is convicted of rape and criminally deviant conduct, and sentenced to six years in the Indiana Youth Center. Rooney files a suit against Tyson for civil damages. Upon release in 1995, Tyson announces he will attempt a comeback. King remains his promoter, but is scheduled to strand trial for insurance fraud.George C. Scott - Cus D'Amato
Paul Winfield - Don King
Michael Jai White - Mike Tyson
James Sikking - Bill Cayton
Malcolm-Jamal Warner - Rory Holloway
Tony Lo Bianco - Jimmy Jacobs
Clark Gregg - Kevin Rooney
Holt McCallany - Teddy Atlas
Kristen Wilson - Robin Givens
Sheila Wills - Ruth Roper
Regal Hanley - Young Mike Tyson
Lilyan Chauvin - Camille Ewald
Rebekah Johnson - Desiree Washington
Reg E. Cathey - Michael Winston
June Chandler - Barbara Walters
Michael Jace - Mitch Green
Duane Davis - James "Buster" Douglas
Mills Lane - Himself
Awards and nominations
Tyson was nominated for the 1996 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. However, the award was given to another HBO film, The Tuskegee Airmen.
Tyson was released on VHS on January 13, 1998. A DVD release followed years later, on June 16, 2008.