Through the school, Tyson met up with legendary fight trainer Cus D'Amato, who turned the scrappy youth into the heavyweight champion of the world. In 1986, at the age of 20, "Iron Mike" became the youngest man ever to win the top three world heavyweight titles. Unfortunately, his mother, who died when he was 16, didn't live to see it.
With success came controversy.
In February 1988, Tyson married actress Robin Givens. Their mismatch ended eight months later with accusations of physical abuse (her) and fraud (him) and reportedly cost Tyson $10 million.
"I never thought it affected me, but internally I clammed up," Tyson told Travers about the famous interview the couple gave to Barbara Walters at the tail end of their troubled marriage.
At the time, money appeared to have an endless supply. When Tyson crashed his Bentley convertible in a minor traffic accident in 1988, he reportedly told the police officers at the scene, "I've had nothing but bad luck and accidents with this car. You guys take this car and keep it."
Then, in 1992, Tyson was sent to prison for three years after he was convicted for raping 18-year-old beauty queen Desiree Washington.
"It was just a wild experience, having these different personalities in one congested and contained room, just a bomb waiting to explode," he told Travers about his prison experience.
Coming out of prison, Tyson signed an agreement with Don King, the flamboyant fight promoter, that would give him 30 percent of his earnings, according to the Washington Post.
He regained a portion of the heavyweight title, before losing it to Evander Holyfield in a 1996 fight. In their notorious 1997 rematch, Tyson bit a chunk out of Holyfield's ear and was disqualified from the fight and his boxing license was revoked for a year.
After going through a psychological evaluation ordered by the Nevada Athletic Commission, it was learned that Tyson was "experiencing a significant depression," in part because of his financial problems.
Tyson reportedly earned over $300 million during his boxing career, but lost most of it to ex-wives, a lavish lifestyle that included dozens of hangers-on and shady managers who got rich because of him. He has accused King of bilking him out of millions of dollars.
In 2002, Tyson a lack of funds prevented him from paying his second wife, Monica Turner, the mother of two of his children, $10 million in a divorce settlement.
Owing $13 million in back taxes in 2003, Tyson filed for bankruptcy. Recently, he's been working with former Muhammad Ali associates to dig himself out of the hole. They've been involved in both the film and book projects, neither of which has been easy for the former champ.
"It evoked a lot of feelings I had never liked to come to face with, that I still deal with as demons…and say this is who I am and I don't like that person," Tyson told Travers about seeing the film. "I look at me now and look at that guy, look at my outbursts and think 'oh, I'm afraid of that guy.'"
"I try so hard to forget those memories," he added. "Once I go to those memories I go to liquor, drugs, getting high, because there is no recapturing that experience."
Tyson's years of drug and alcohol abuse caught up with him in 2006 when he was arrested for a DUI and drug possession after nearly crashing into a police vehicle. He went to rehab in 2007 in lieu of prison time and in a recent interview said he had been sober for two and a half years.