When Tyson dissed Mayweather
By Robert Ecksel on December 19, 2019
"He's a little scared man," said Tyson. "He's a very small, scared man.” (Photo: Robert Ecksel)
He wasn’t the first person, nor will he be the last, to question Floyd Mayweather’s assertion that he was “The Best Ever.” But Mike Tyson’s opinion carries enormous weight, especially when it comes to boxing history, having studied films of the all-time greats alongside his late trainer and mentor, Cus D’Amato, as part of his education in the sweet science.
Mayweather had declared in an interview with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN, during the buildup to his fight with Manny Pacquiao, “No one can ever brainwash me to make me believe that Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali was better than me.
“No one could ever brainwash me and tell me that. But one thing I will do—I'm going to take my hat off to them and respect those guys because those are the guys that paved the way for me to be where I'm at today.”
Mayweather elaborated, using the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” and Ali’s first fight with Leon Spinks as examples.
“He only fought in one weight class. Leon Spinks only had seven fights,” Mayweather said. "Never put a fighter in there with Floyd Mayweather with seven fights. Take punishment and let a man tire yourself out from beating you? You hit him with a few punches and go down and quit and you want to be glorified for that?
“Rocky Marciano, Sugar Ray Leonard, Sugar Ray Robinson. It's no different from Ali.”
Ali playfully objected by tweeting, “Don’t you forget, I am the greatest!” George Foreman sided with Mayweather, saying, “Pound for pound, Floyd is better than me and Muhammad Ali ever were.”
Tyson couldn’t believe his ears and responded as only Tyson can.
“He's very delusional,” Mike said. "Listen, if he was anywhere near that realm of great as Muhammad Ali, he'd be able to take his kids to school by himself.
“Okay, he can't take his kids to school by himself, and he's talking about he's great?
“Greatness is not guarding yourself from the people. It's being accepted by the people.
“He's a little scared man. He's a very small, scared man.”
The feud between Tyson and Mayweather peaked during a WBC convention at The Mirage in Las Vegas in 2015.
Tyson pantomimed throwing a punch at Floyd, who to his credit did not flinch.
Some in attendance praised Mayweather’s courage. He did not lose his cool.
Others saw things differently.
One wag quipped, “He didn't flinch because he didn't have time to.”
Another said, “He didn’t flinch, he froze.”
While the most astute observer remarked, “Deer don't flinch when a truck is about to hit them.”