At what age does a boxer become too old to fight professionally?
Most observers would agree boxers are in physical decline by the time they enter their 30s and their days of fighting for prize money are numbered.
That doesn’t include Mike Tyson, 53, and Evander Holyfield, 57, who have both released training videos on social media and are making noises about stepping back into the ring to reignite a famous rivalry.
— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) May 1, 2020
Not everybody is enthused about the prospect.
UFC boss Dana White is worried for Tyson’s safety.
White says he is pleading with his friend to not step back into the ring.
“I love Mike Tyson,” White said on the Tim and Sid show.
“I’m begging him not to go fight. I said ‘you look awesome, you’re still explosive, you’re obviously still powerful, you’re one of the all-time greats. Mike, you’re 53, please don’t do it, please.’”
British promoter Eddie Hearn says he would like to see former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson fight again, but is questioning whether boxing should be encouraging a 53-year-old to return to the ring.
Tyson, who became the youngest heavyweight champion of all time when he beat Trevor Berbick in 1986 aged 20, caught the attention of the boxing world by posting training videos on Instagram and has said he was considering exhibition bouts to raise money for charity.
“I would probably like to see it but … is it a bit irresponsible to let a 53-year-old legend back in the ring?” Hearn told British Boxing Television.
“I had a message from someone saying they wanted to talk to me about Mike. He looks pretty dangerous. What’s compelling is could he actually go back in at 53 and do some damage? But should we be encouraging that from an all-time great?
“There’s a fine line and I’ve crossed it a couple of times – between integrity of the sport and entertainment delivering numbers. Our job is to deliver numbers for broadcasters but we have to keep it as close to the right mark as we can.”
Tyson won’t be wanting for opponents wanting the opportunity to line up against the boxing great.
Former Sydney Swan forward Barry Hall has responded to claims he could battle with the heavyweight legend.
“This is great news!! Now I didn’t comment on the rumours around my name and 2 others potentially fighting @miketyson,” he posted on Instagram.
“Firstly it would an insult to him to be in the ring with any of us that were mentioned! But would I do it?? Of course I would! Would I beat him?? I think we all know that answer!
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This is great news!! Now I didn’t comment on the rumours around my name and 2 others potentially fighting @miketyson . Firstly it would an insult to him to be in the ring with any of us that were mentioned! But would I do it?? Of course I would! Would I beat him?? I think we all know that answer! It Would be a honour but very unlikely at the same time. I got a lot of hate when my name was mentioned with Mike and I get it! But come on guys it’s not like I called him out or think I could match him!!! No one spoke to me about it at all!! And my name was in an article??!! Sorry ha ha. We all need to just breathe sometimes. Keep smiling 👍👊
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Similarly, New Zealand rugby star Sonny Bill Williams has expressed his enthusiasm about a potential bout.
However, Tyson’s management have been insistent that if he does get back in the ring, it will be with a ‘real’ boxer.
Tyson fought two epic bouts with Holyfield during their professional careers, including their controversial 1997 encounter in which Tyson bit off a chunk of Holyfield’s ear.