AN "IDIOT" passenger who got battered by boxing legend Mike Tyson on a plane is a convicted thief and fraudster, it has been claimed.
Tyson unleashed a flurry of punches onto Melvin George Townsend III after he allegedly harassed the boxer aboard a JetBlue airplane at the San Francisco Airport.
The convict, from Punta Gorda, Florida, has a lengthy criminal record having served 20 and 15-month prison sentences for a variety of crimes.
These include possession of Oxycodone, burglary, grand theft, fraud, and trafficking stolen property, according to a records search.
The 36-year-old stole a trailer in 2018 by trespassing and hitching it to his pickup, TMZ reports.
Townsend was last released from a Florida prison in July of 2020 after serving 15 months of a 25-month sentence for that incident and his use of a fraudulent personal ID.
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He previously did time for trafficking stolen property in 2009 and 2010.
Video from Wednesday's assault shows Tyson punching Townsend before the JetBlue flight had taken off from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale.
The punches left the Florida man with a bloody forehead.
However, a representative for the Brooklyn-born boxer claims he was reacting to Townsend, an unruly passenger who had been harassing him and actually threw a water bottle at Tyson.
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A spokesperson for Tyson said: "Unfortunately, Mr. Tyson had an incident on a flight with an aggressive passenger who began harassing him and threw a water bottle at him while he was in his seat."
According to TMZ, Tyson took exception to a fan sitting behind him who kept talking "in his ear" after the American heavyweight asked him to "chill".
Sources close to the boxing great claimed the passenger continuously provoked Tyson and that is allegedly when he snapped.
Tyson was caught on camera throwing a series of punches to the man's face, leaving his forehead bloodied.
His team claim the passenger threw a bottle of water at the former heavyweight champ.
Witnesses added that Tyson disembarked from the aircraft just seconds later.
Meanwhile the man who was punched received medical attention and spoke to police after the incident.
But the incident doesn't seem to have phased the 55-year-old too much.
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Tyson was pictured arriving at his hotel in Miami with a big smile on his face, and happily stopped to pose for selfies with fans.
The Baddest Man on the Planet was also seen smoking what appeared to be a joint as he made his way into the building.
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