Ex-boxing champion Mike Tyson has reiterated his worrying plans to attempt to compete with the best modern heavyweights in his mid-50s – but returning UFC fighter Conor McGregor has backed his claim to have been “revived by gods”.
Heavyweight great Tyson was on even more bullish form than usual as he looked ahead to his upcoming veterans’ exhibition with Roy Jones Jr, boldly insisting that higher powers were urging him to return to the ring more than 15 years after he last fought.
Fans again questioned the wisdom of the move as he revisited his fanciful suggestion that he could rival prime modern powerhouses such as Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, arguing that his skills would make match-ups “mind-boggling”.
“Old guys – that word don’t even make sense,” Tyson told an interviewer as he again appeared to deny that he was past his peak despite his inaction since being easily beaten by journeyman Kevin McBride in 2005.
“Old? This is just a new time, a new thinking period in our lives. This is what we want to do.
“Sometimes the gods of war, they revive you and say, ‘you have to do more.’ Now I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t prepare for this.
“You know, I box people to see if I’m able to do this stuff, so I can do this stuff.”
Now 54, Tyson has looked sharp on the pads in his preparations for the meeting with Jones Jr next month, with new trainer Rafael Cordeiro hyping him as having the potential of a 21-year-old.
Commissioners have warned that neither Tyson nor his 51-year-old opponent, who won a cruiserweight title in 2018, will be allowed to knock each other out amid health concerns for the middle-aged adversaries.
He’s been watching too much vikings
— Scott (@Scottcharlie123) November 6, 2020
“Wait, this is a practice round to see if he can fight heavyweights right now?” asked a fan in response to the remarks by “Iron Mike” that appeared to suggest he was looking beyond Jones Jr and aiming to become a legitimate force in the elite ranks again. “Damn.”
Another joked: “Sometimes the managers of your bank ring you and say, ‘you have to do more.'”
Former two-weight UFC title holder McGregor, who is plotting his own comeback after a lengthy layoff and his third retirement announcement earlier this year, highlighted Tyson’s comments with a message of support.
The provocative pair have traded sharp words and voiced their respect for one another in the press and on social media in recent years, and McGregor even visited Tyson’s marijuana ranch in the US a month after his defeat to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.
McGregor’s response provoked more excitement among fans who are excited to see the 32-year-old make his own long-awaited comeback, which is likely to come against former victim Dustin Poirier in January.
While McGregor is certain to be a contender again at the age of 32, Tyson’s chances of revisiting his two decades as a champion and challenger seem less likely.
“I’m exerting myself and this is going to be pretty interesting,” he said, describing a shot at the current generation of leading fighters as “a novelty”. “I’m interested in waiting to see what happens as well.
“Me using my skills, matching my skills now against the best heavyweights in the world – that would be mind-boggling.”
Tyson and Jones Jr are due to meet in Los Angeles on November 28.
Sometimes the managers of bank, they ring you and say ‘you have to do more’
— 145 (@WMKING2425) November 6, 2020
Wait this is a practice round to see if he can fight heavy weights right now? Damn
— _Brb_ (@Br_Nard12) November 5, 2020
Everything that Tyson says is quotable
— Mamba (@BradChilling) November 5, 2020
“They can exhibit their boxing skills but I don’t want them using their best efforts to hurt each other,” Andy Foster, the executive director of the California State Athletic Commission, demanded when the scrap was announced.
“They’re going to spar hard but they shouldn’t be going for a knockout. This isn’t a record-book type of fight.
“This is not world championship boxing right now. It’s not what this is.
“People shouldn’t be getting knocked out. The public can see what kind of shape Roy and Mike are still in.”