The boxing legend said that any bout between the pair has to happen in 2022
Former ‘baddest man on the planet’ and world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has spoken on a potential showdown against novice YouTuber-turned-fighter Jake Paul, which he says must take place in 2022 or not happen at all.
The pair have been linked to facing one another in Las Vegas in past months, with Tyson denying reports that their respective camps were already in advanced talks for an exhibition bout.
Speaking on the Jimmy Kimmel Live talk show program, though, the 55-year-old remarked that although he has never taken talk of a meeting seriously, a fight against Paul “could be very interesting”.
“He’s skilled enough, yes,” Tyson confessed of the Ohio native 30 years his junior, who has put together a 5-0 record in the squared circle thus far while taking on former MMA champions Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren.
“I’m [going] to give it to him, he’s skilled enough because he’s winning. Even if he’s fighting guys that you don’t believe are good enough fighters, they should be able to beat him but they can’t. He is beating people that he shouldn’t really be beating so you got to give him that credit,” Tyson insisted.
“He’s beating people he really should not be beating. He is doing good for a guy that is just doing it, and he is doing so much good for boxing,” it was also said.
Tyson also pointed to Paul’s popularity, which is greater than that of many active and established pugilists.
“Listen, this guy has seven million people following him every time he fights,” Tyson said.
“The champions of the world don’t have that many people following them so what he is doing for boxing is just sensational. No one should be hating on that, let’s just fight ‘em. He’s helping everybody get money. Why are people mad at him?” Tyson asked.
With the Brooklynite not getting any younger, however, and about to turn 56 at the end of the month, Tyson demanded that the fight between them gets made post haste.
“Anything is possible, yes,” Tyson conceded. “But it has got to happen this year. It has got to happen this year.”
Sharing a clip of Tyson’s remarks on Twitter, Paul thanked him for “the respect and opportunity.”
“This year we are making it happen,” he vowed.
Should the fight come to fruition, it would be a first appearance in the ring for Tyson since late 2020 when he took on 1990s pound-for-pound great Roy Jones Jr in a well-received exhibition bout.
As for Paul, he was last seen knocking out Woodley in their second of two 2021 meetings back in December, and already has his next outing lined up for August 6 at Madison Square Garden against a still unnamed opponent.