Deontay Wilder: Mike Tyson’s legacy could be ‘tarnished’ in Jake Paul fight

Former heavyweight champion Tyson will be 58 when boxes YouTube star Paul, 27, in July

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Friday 10 May 2024 14:10 BST
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Deontay Wilder has expressed fears over Mike Tyson’s upcoming boxing match against Jake Paul, with the pair set to fight at the AT&T Stadium in July.

Former heavyweight champion Tyson will be 58 when he boxes Paul, 27, in Texas. Tyson last fought in 2020, drawing with Roy Jones Jr in an exhibition bout, but last competed professionally in 2005. Meanwhile, YouTube star Paul is 9-1 as a pro.

The Americans’ contest will be an officially-sanctioned pro fight, scheduled for eight two-minute rounds at heavyweight, with knockouts allowed. The bout will stream live on Netflix.

“I think it's bad the commission has licensed Mike Tyson, because he hasn’t been active in 20 years, so they should not just license him because of who he is,” Wilder told Sportsbook Review. “That’s how people get hurt. God forbid he gets hurt.

“People can get hit in the wrong place and at the wrong time, there’s lots of examples where guys have been hit into a coma. It’s easy to do, he’s too old for this.

“At the end of the day, no one gives a f*** about Mike. We can talk about the pros and cons, but at the end of the day, they don’t give a f***. I don’t think anyone cares about Mike, because if they did, they wouldn’t sanction the fight.

“They may say they’ve done tests and all that, okay, but as long as you’re willing to suffer the consequences if something bad goes wrong...”

Wilder, also a former heavyweight champion, continued: “His power may not have left completely, but you still need to set it up, your stamina needs to be a certain way, or it's going to look like a clown show.

Paul (left) will box Tyson in Texas on 20 July (Getty Images)

“I don't want to see it to be honest. I don't want to see one of my legends fight a YouTuber. If [Paul] goes in there and he knocks Mike out, that's going to tarnish the reputation of Mike.

“I don't want the last thing I remember of him [to be] him getting knocked out by a Youtuber. The last thing you do, that's what people remember you by.”

Wilder last fought in December, suffering a decision loss to Joseph Parker. The American, 38, is due to return on 1 June, boxing Zhilei Zhang in Saudi Arabia, where he was beaten by Parker.

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