On this day in 1988, boxing great Mike Tyson signed a seven-fight deal with HBO for $26.5 million.
Unlike most other prize-fighters, Tyson was surrounded by trustworthy management that let him keep the majority share of that contract. In 1988, Iron Mike earned a total of approximately $35 million just through boxing; he made millions more via endorsement deals with Eastman Kodak, Pepsi, and Nintendo.
The most lucrative fight of the deal with against Larry Holmes in 1988.
In our $26.5 million deal, people assumed -wrongly, I might add – that the money was divided equally for the seven fights. But it didn’t work that way. The Larry Holmes fight, for instance, went for $5 million. Others were priced at $2 million.” – Seth Abraham of HBO
Tyson handed Larry Holmes the only knockout loss he ever had in 76 fights as a pro [video below]. Once Holmes went down, the only boxer considered to have any type of chance against Tyson was Michael Spinks. Read about the Spinks fight here.