Mike Tyson on modern boxing: You have to be entertaining, Some guys are like watching grass grow

Boxing icon Mike Tyson has solidified his status as one of the greatest boxers of all time. He had a 20-year career, which spanned from 1985 to 2005. In that time, he accumulated an enormous estimated wealth of over $430 million [£343 million].

Tyson also seized the chance presented by the evolving boxing scene. He has already engaged in an exhibition match with Roy Jones Jr. in 2020 and has said he would take on Jake Paul in a high-profile match on July 20.

Tyson was an excellent self-promoter. He recently spoke about how boxers with exceptional skill like Terence Crawford, are finding it difficult to make a living and sell out major events.

While speaking to tennis star Nick Kyrgios, he said: “You know, this is a funny question because of technology, more people are able to see fighters now than they did when I was fighting.”

With advancements in media and connectivity, boxers today enjoy greater visibility than ever before. Despite this broader reach, many struggle to convert fame into fortune.

Tyson continued: “When you see these fighters, we made a lot of money when we were fighting for our time. I’m talking about the little guys too; Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearn. These small guys now they’re not making money like these. These guys are making $15million in the 80s. That’s like, well I don’t know, that’s like $45 million now.”

Tyson singles out contemporary talents like Terence Crawford, lamenting their inability to translate their exceptional skills into substantial earnings. He points to the dwindling attendance figures at events featuring these boxers, highlighting a stark disparity from the lucrative opportunities of his era.

“Look, Terence Crawford in the box, he’s fighting Errol Spence, he’s the best fighter in the world but he can’t draw 5,000 people. You have to be entertaining. You have to be exciting. They could beat anybody in the world, but they can’t draw 5,000 tickets.”

“You know, that’s because they’re not exciting. The way they make their money, because their opponents are very, like famous. But there’s people, I’m sure they’re a talented guy that could beat anybody, but they look like s***. Like watching grass grow, you know.”

According to Tapology, Crawford has only made a small portion of Tyson’s career earnings so far. He earned around $21.8 million [£18.6 million] before defeating Errol Spence.

However, it has been rumored that Crawford received $25 million to box Spence. It is possible that he has other high-profile bouts in mind, such as a major matchup with Canelo Alvarez.

During his prime, Tyson won enormous sums of money. It includes $30 million for his two well-known matches against Evander Holyfield in 1996 and 1997.

His biggest payday was $35 million for the unified title match in 2002 against Lennox Lewis.