Like most others in the sport, Mike Tyson hasn’t been shy in saying that Muhammad Ali inspired him.
Both legends in their own right, the pair represent an exciting time in the sport of boxing when the heavyweight champion of the world was something almost god-like.
A three-time world champion known simply as ‘The Greatest’, Ali officially hung up the gloves 1981. Tyson grabbed the heavyweight reins in 1985, going on to serve as undisputed champ from 1987 to 1990.
Never was Tyson’s appreciation for Ali clearer than in a podcast with Michael Rapaport back in 2019. ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ spoke emotionally about how they were different.
“I always like to think I’m a bad motherf**ker, vicious motherf**ker, I don’t give a f**k. That’s the part of Ali where he overshines me, cause I can’t understand a man that’s willing to really die for this.
I talk that sh*t, but he’s the real deal. Ali’s a giant. There’s no way other fighters can match him. He’ll die for this sh*t. He’ll die. I’m not gonna die for this. That’s real talk. Ali’s a savage. He’s an animal. A different breed of person. He’s not like us.”
Ali, all things considered, transcended boxing – becoming a global icon in the entire sports world and wider conversations of role models and humanity. He passed away in 2016 following a battle with Parkinson’s syndrome, leaving a legacy like no other.
Tyson retired in 2005, and still comments on the sport and its stars today – albeit in a less vicious and more mellow manner than he was known for in his day.
Both men are widely considered to be two of the greatest heavyweights of all time.