Two of the greatest fighters in the history of the boxing world? Who wouldn’t love to see the two of them–Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali–face off in the boxing ring?
Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali never fought each other, even though many people wish that they could have seen the two of them face off. Instead, Tyson looked up to Ali as an idol–someone who would inspire the success that he experienced in his boxing career.
In this interview, Mike Tyson becomes emotional talking about Muhammad Ali. You can watch the interview on YouTube, using the link below.
A Role Model, Not an Opponent
Mike Tyson was 14 years old when the man who was his trainer and would be his adoptive father, Cus D’Amato, took him to watch Muhammad Ali face Larry Holmes in his last fight. The fight did not end well for Muhammad Ali, but it could have been one of hte most transformative moments in Tyson’s boxing journey.
Muhammad Ali lost badly to Larry Holmes, and, for some reason, Mike Tyson took it personally. He claims he was “personally offended” by the beating that Ali had taken.
As one of the most well-known, greatest boxers in the history of the sport, it seemed wrong for Ali to take such a beating. The morning after the fight, D’Amato was on the phone with Muhammad Ali and said, “I have this young black kid who is going to be heavyweight champion someday and I want you to talk to him.”
To this day, Mike Tyson can still remember the exact day that he and Muhammad Ali had this conversation–October 2nd, 1980. On that day, Mike Tyson said to Ali, “When I grow up, I’ll fight Holmes and I’ll get him back for you.”
True to his character, Tyson kept his promise. Approximately seven years later, Tyson was 21 and defending his title against the former champ, finding himself in the ring with none other than Larry Holmes.
This time, the roles were switched. D’Amato invited Ali to be ringside for Tyson’s fight, and right before the fight, Ali had some parting words for the young boxer.
Ali told Tyson, “Remember what you said–get him for me.” So, Tyson did.
He knocked him out in the fourth round and solidified his name in the record books. It was a pivotal moment for Tyson’s career, and a special moment for Ali and D’Amato to witness.
A Fantasy Fight
This sweet story exemplifies the special relationship between Tyson and his role model, Ali. Still, as two of the most powerful boxers in history, boxer fans of all ages fantasize about a time when the two oppose each other in the ring.
Tyson’s boxing record was 50 wins and 6 losses. Ali’s boxing record included 56 wins and 5 losses.
Both men have skill, determination, a competitive edge, and a ton of heart. Still, even for Mike Tyson, his ego does not outweigh his appreciation for Muhammad Ali.
Tyson claims that while he might win the fantasy match, even he knows that he could not beat Ali in a real fight. He says, “Ali is the greatest there ever has been.”
It is an incredible admission that holds immense weight from a man who is known for his ego and violently competitive nature. His admiration speaks volumes for the boxer that Ali was–a boxer whose accolades will never be forgotten.
Not to mention, more importantly, the notable person that Muhammad Ali was outside the ring.
You can see a glimpse of who Muhammad Ali was in this quote, lined in the Instagram post below.