Mike Tyson is tied up in a corner, still struggling with an opponent he’s yet to beat.

In a roped-off canvas ring, Tyson was a heavyweight boxing champion, beating bigger, sometimes, stronger men. But when that foe is drugs or alcohol, the 41-year-old, New York native can’t find the knockout punch. For a man used to beating any Las Vegas odds, it must be unnerving to look down at your immobilized hands, the only “tools of the trade” you ever had.

Former Heavyweight Champ Pleads Guilty to Drug Possession, DUI

This time, it was in Mesa, Arizona, two days before last New Year’s Eve, when Tyson was stopped for suspicion of DUI. On October 1, Tyson pled guilty to a single felony count of cocaine possession and misdemeanor DUI count. He faces up to 52 months in prison when sentenced November 19. Dropped as part of his plea agreement were a felony charge of drug paraphernalia possession and a second misdemeanor DUI charge.

"It's obvious this was a crime he was committing against himself," his attorney, David Chesnoff said after his client issued the plea in court.

Moments after he was pulled over by Maricopa County police, the arresting officer said he saw Tyson wipe a white substance from the dashboard. The officer also said Tyson’s speech was slurred. Upon searching the suspect, police discovered bags of cocaine in Tyson’s pocket and inside his car.

Later, Tyson told officers he used cocaine, "whenever I can get my hands on it." He told police he used marijuana that day and was also taking the antidepressant, Zoloft. The drug, Sertraline hydrochloride, belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. Besides treating clinical depression, the drug is prescribed to treat obsessive-compulsive, panic and social anxiety disorders. According to Wikipedia, in 2006, it was the most-prescribed antidepressant on the U.S. retail market with 28,060,000 prescriptions.

Arizona District Attorney Wants Tyson Jailed

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas wants Tyson locked up. "Mike Tyson is a repeat offender with a violent past," he said. "I believe only a prison sentence will send the right message and properly protect the public."

Tyson was convicted of rape in Indiana in 1992 and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault charges in Maryland seven years later.

At 20 years of age, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history when he knocked out Trevor Berbick. However, four years later, he lost the title when James "Buster" Douglas knocked out the champion in the 10th round.

Bob Battle
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