Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson thinks the public has been too hard on top pound for pound boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
In light of a second negotiation collapse this year with Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather has been slammed in the press for apparently brushing off the fight in favor of a vacation.
In a candid interview with Sports Illustrated, Tyson defended Mayweather as a smart fighter playing a toned down version of his villain role from the 90s.
“I always wanted to be that guy who said, ‘fuck you.’ When I see people doing that, trying to imitate me, these tough guys trying to emulate me, I’m sitting there thinking, like, ‘This guy’s an idiot, so I know I’m an idiot,’” he said. “Floyd Mayweather doesn’t stand a chance as far as that idiocy. He’s not even in my league as an a–hole. He’s a good kid. Everyone’s hard on him, but this is a great kid. He’s just a kid having fun, living in a fantasy world.”
Many fans have noted Tyson’s recent dramatic weight loss. In the years immediately following his retirement in 2005, the former champ revealed that he had ballooned too well over 300 pounds. The extreme weight gain from his prime fighting weight of 215-218 pounds motivated him to get back in shape.
“I don’t want to be grotesque, but when you’re 330 pounds, it’s hard to wipe your ass. You know?” Tyson admitted. “I didn’t like living like that. I felt like an animal. I’m more active than I have been in years.”
The Brownsville, Brooklyn native famously converted to Islam while serving four years in prison from 1991-1994 for rape. He expressed disdain at the “sick people” who have used religion, God and prophets to justify atrocities against their fellow man.
“You know, people say, ‘My god is better than your god.’ But how do we prove whose god is better? And this is when it gets really interesting,” he explained. ‘This is how we prove whose god is better than whose: [by saying,] ‘I’m going to kill you, or you’re going to kill me first.’ And that’s real godly. That’s real godly. Yeah. I bet you people think, I wonder who would win a fight with the Prophet Mohammad and Jesus? These are sick people. This is crazy, you know what I mean?”
The full interview hits newsstands this week.
As a 20-something year old, I grew up thinking Mike Tyson was invincible. I vividly remember joining other kids in the playground where we took turns alternating between playing Mike Tyson and his many hapless KO victims. And who can forget playing Mike Tyson’s Punchout for hours on the NES (Tyson code 007-373-5963 lol)?
Mike Tyson was also the fighter that made me realize the imperfect humanity that affects us all. As a kid I witnessed the Robin Givens fiasco and walked around in an unbelieving haze after seeing his KO loss to Buster Douglas in 1990. And of course, his 1991 rape conviction.
Instead of looking at him and wondering what could have been if he was more focused and stable, I just pray that he has finally found the peace of mind he could never get in the boxing industry.
He’s given us enough thrills and shocking moments to last a lifetime. No longer does he have to be “Iron” Mike Tyson.