Following Deontay Wilder’s audacious declaration that he would “kick the hell” out of Mike Tyson in his prime, Tyson responded with great humility.
After enduring a relentless series of overhand rights and left hooks, Wilder lost to Joseph Parker by unanimous decision recently. He had earlier boasted that he could defeat a younger Mike Tyson.
In 2018, Wilder was questioned by TMZ about his chances against Tyson in his prime. Wilder confidently affirmed that he would prevail.
Wilder continued by saying he had no fear of heavyweights from the past or present. He stated: “Me vs Tyson in ’86, I’d kick the hell outta that guy. Listen, I’ve got to keep it real. I know people always go back to the old school or look at the new school and there’s no school where I’m not No 1 on Earth.”
However, Tyson remained gracious in his reaction to Wilder’s claim. Addressing Wilder’s claims in an interview with TNT Sports recently, Tyson admitted uncertainty about the hypothetical match’s outcome. He appreciated Wilder’s confidence, acknowledging that such self-assuredness is important for a heavyweight champion.
He said: “I don’t know [whether I’d beat him]. I love the fact that he thinks that, because that’s the way I would think as well. He’s supposed to think that way, he is the heavyweight champion of the world and that’s something very special.”
On the other hand, former British heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis offered a more critical perspective on Wilder’s assertion.
He said: “I just heard Deontay Wilder said he would destroy a young Mike Tyson. My thoughts are that it’s easy to talk until you actually get in the ring. I like Wilder but he’s never been in there with someone that ferocious who truly wants to break his ribs with every punch. I don’t see it.”
“I love Wilder’s confidence… you need that to sit atop the heavyweight division… he’s hungry and shows up in probably best shape in division… but there’s levels to it… and he’s still adding to his arsenal.”
Lewis emphasized the significance of making a mark within one’s era, cautioning against getting caught up in unverifiable claims. He stressed the importance of letting one’s accomplishments define their place among the heavyweight greats.
Lewis went on to say: “My best advice to the entire crop of young heavyweight champs is to focus on being the best of YOUR era! Out of respect and reality. It’s unprovable. Of course people asked, but I found no need to speculate or compare myself to my idol Ali or any other of the past greats.”
“History will decide your place among the all time greats… so go out there, clean up the division, defend your title, reign supreme and your work will speak for itself.”