Donald Trump and Mike Tyson had a bizarre “father-son” relationship which spilled over into chaos when the boxer almost killed himself after becoming convinced the President was sleeping with his wife.
The unlikely pair formed a close bond at Donald’s Trump Plaza Hotel at Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1988 where Tyson defended his world title against the then-undefeated former light-heavyweight champ Michael Spinks.
After winning the fight in 91 seconds, Tyson ditched his coach manager Bill Cayton and hired Trump as his “chief strategist”.
Trump publicly gushed about his new pal, telling reporters Mike knew how to use “fear and outrage as a psychological weapon”, according to a report by Chris Ayres in the April issue of British GQ.
Ayres goes as far as to suggest Trump’s tactics of ridicule and intimidation which ultimately won him the keys to the White House came from Iron Mike.
“Mike would say things like, ‘When I hit him, he screamed like a woman’ or ‘I wanted to push his nose bone back into his brain’,” Trump wrote in his 1990 memoir Surviving At The Top.
“He [Tyson] was hoping that the reporters would print his outrageous remarks and that his next opponent would read them and become a beaten man.”
Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson puts an arm around his wife, Robin Givens. Her mother, Ruth Roper looks on accompanied by Trump in 1988
Trump noted how the press played along because such outlandish comments get ratings and sell newspapers “like nothing else”.
The same weapons Trump so used during his US election race, pummelling his Republican rivals and Hillary Clinton with a barrage of insults.
Although Tyson was said to have an “unsettling air”, novelist Joyce Carol Oates wrote that he was also extremely sensitive and intelligent.
And the difference between Trump, the privileged son of a millionaire, and Tyson, a fatherless ex-criminal raised by an abusive mother in a Brooklyn slum, could not be more stark.
But there were some similarities: Both motivated themselves to conquer their chosen fields with utter self-conviction and pomposity which has followed Trump into the White House.
Heavyweight challenger Tyrell Biggs with promoter Don King, Mike Tyson and Donald Trump during a 1987 press conference
The now-US president even adopted Tyson’s self-affirmations that he was a god, akin to legendary warrior Achilles, in his 1987 self-help book The Art Of The Deal.
In Surviving At The Top, Trump wrote: “He’s a professional warrior, yes, but he’s no semi-human being who was born to fight.
“He grew up on the mean streets where any sign of weakness could be fatal.”
They differed wildly when it came to money: Trump wrote of an odd incident where he handed Tyson a $10million (£7million) cheque after winning his fight against Spinks – but the boxer never cashed it.
It is unclear how the two met but Tyson trusted the property mogul enough by 1988, the year he knocked out Michael Spinks in 90 seconds, to install him as his “special adviser” after firing his long-term manager Bill Clayton.
But their cosy connections began to fall apart when Tyson reportedly convinced himself that his wife, Robin Givens, was sleeping with Trump.
In a heated discussion, a furious Tyson is said to have repeatedly asked Trump: “Are you f*****g my wife?”
Tyson installed Trump as his new adviser in 1988 after knocking out Michael Spinks in 90 seconds
Trump strongly denied his claims saying the “thoughts never appeared in his mind”.
Tyson later bizarrely drove his BMW into the tree while completely sober in a suspected suicide attempt and it’s rumoured that his paranoia about Trump was one of the causes.
Despite years of rocky relations, their fondness for one another appears not to have faded over time.
When Tyson performed his one-man show, Undisputed Truth, Trump went backstage to say it was “beautiful”.
Tyson also returned the favour by endorsing the President when he announced his candidacy three years later.