Mike Tyson makes Muhammad Ali feelings clear ahead of controversial Jake Paul fight - 'Absolutely'

Mike Tyson makes Muhammad Ali feelings clear ahead of controversial Jake Paul fight - 'Absolutely'

WATCH NOW: Netflix trailer for Mike Tyson and Jake Paul fight

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 04/05/2024

- 10:31

The boxing icon has spoken out as the showdown on July 20 rapidly approaches

Mike Tyson has lavished praise on the late, great Muhammad Ali as his seismic showdown with Jake Paul creeps closer.

The two men are due to do battle at the AT&T Stadium in Texas on July 20, despite a big backlash to their fight due to the huge 30-year age gap between the two fighters.

Tyson has now sat down with Nick Kyrgios to discuss the upcoming bout.

When asked who inspired him to get into boxing, he said: "Oh, Roberto Duran. Number one, yeah."

Mike Tyson Muhammad Ali

Mike Tyson insists Muhammad Ali was a better boxer than himself ahead of his fight with Jake Paul later this year


When quizzed on whether Ali was among the greats to inspire a young Tyson, the 57-year-old then added: "No, Ali caused me to be interested in boxing, but Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard made me want to fight.

"This is what I'm going to do. Yeah."

Tyson also says Ali was better than himself because he 'made me', with the heavyweight icon showing his humble side in the process.

"Absolutely because he made me," he said.

"How could you be something better than what made you?"

Ali and Tyson first met while the latter was at a New York juvenile detention centre.

Children in attendance were shown a film about Ali, only for the boxing icon to walk and introduce himself as a special guest.

They later became close friends and Tyson was left in tears when Ali was beaten by Larry Holmes back in 1980.

Tyson later avenged his hero by beating Holmes himself in 1988, however.

Discussing that victory last year, he said: "We went to see Muhammad Ali fight Larry Holmes on closed circuit. [Holmes] beat the s**t out of Ali.

“We all went back home, 30 miles south, nobody said a word in the car for 30 miles.

"We got in the house, went to our beds, all went to sleep, nobody said nothing.

“The next morning [Tyson’s trainer Cus D’Amato] is on the phone with Ali.

"I’m hearing him say, 'He’s a bum, Ali, why you let that bum beat on you?’”

He added: “I was on the phone, I said [to Ali], ‘When I get big I’m gonna avenge you.


Mike Tyson Muhammad Ali

Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali became friends prior to the death of the boxing icon in 2016


"'I’m gonna knock him out for you.’

“Ali said, 'Yeah I’m the greatest fighter ever and I took medicine. And I got sick and I’m gonna come back and knock out Holmes.'

“I’m on the phone crying.

"He thought he was making me happy but he was making me sad cause he ignored the fact of me saying I’m gonna avenge you.”

Meanwhile, Tyson's focus at present is on beating Paul in July.

Mike Tyson Jake Paul

Mike Tyson is in the spotlight with the boxing legend set to fight Jake Paul in July


And Paul, speaking on his podcast, has revealed the 57-year-old wanted the bout to be a professional fight instead of an exhibition.

"I think it’s a win-win....They’re just going to say he’s old and you disrespected him and all that s**t, but I just want to make it clear, Mike Tyson was the one who wanted it to be a pro fight...Mike got into training camp and called up people on my team...Netflix was like, ‘Let’s make it a pro fight. We’re down.’

"And I said, ‘If that’s what Mike wants, then that’s fine, but make sure you tell Mike that there’s no holding back."

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