It’s actually happening.

Mike Tyson, at 57 years old, is getting back in the ring. Tyson, who last fought a real, professional fight that counted in 2005, is actually trash-talking again. Tyson, who admitted his “body is s–-t,” is back in fight mode.

Mike Tyson versus Jake Paul is officially underway.

Mike Tyson and Jake Paul face off during a press event Monday at the Apollo Theater in Harlem ahead of their July fight. Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

The two took over the iconic Apollo Theater in Harlem on Monday evening for a raucous introductory press conference for their highly anticipated, and much scoffed at, heavyweight bout July 20 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which will be streamed live on Netflix. It marked their first official pre-fight event since the bout was announced.

Why is Tyson, a boxing legend and one of the most famous — and infamous — athletes of all time, fighting a 27-year-old YouTuber-turned-boxer?

“It was a no-brainer,” a jovial Tyson, dressed in all black, said. “He’s the new up-and-coming guy on the scene. I like shaking the sports world to its core, and I’m doing that now. It’s just something I want to do.”

Tyson scoffed at critics who are skeptical of his age and just how capable he still can be inside the ring.

And beyond his ability, whether it presents a health risk.

“No one else can do this,” Tyson said. “Who else can shut the sporting world down? No one else can do it.”

Paul has leveraged his massive social media following to a new endeavor in boxing, bringing large audiences to each of his fights. He owns a 9-1 professional boxing record with six knockout victories.

Mike Tyson and Jake Paul pose during their press event Monday at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

The bout has been officially sanctioned as a heavyweight fight, meaning it will count on both fighters’ records. Tyson owns a 50-6-2 record, with 44 knockouts.

The intrigue in seeing Tyson fight again coupled with Paul’s following has helped make what is expected to be an extremely lucrative fight for both in one of the country’s largest venues. Netflix is banking on it, as the bout marks its first foray into streaming live combat sports. It will be available to all Netflix subscribers — without any additional pay-per-view cost.

“This is quite literally the biggest fight of the 21st century,” Paul said. “Because of the fact that it’s Mike Tyson versus me, but also the fact that it’s in 700 million households.”

Mike Tyson and Jake Paul being asked questions by Ariel Helwani during the press conference. Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post
Mike Tyson holding up a sticker as he was introduced during the press conference at the Apollo Theater. Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

Paul hasn’t fought many professional boxers — the majority of his bouts have come against ex-UFC stars (Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley, Anderson Silva and Nate Diaz), other YouTubers (Ali Eson Gib) or even an ex-NBA star in Nate Robinson. He lost by split decision to Tommy Fury, a professional boxer, in 2023, though he has two wins over low-level pros Andre August and Ryan Bourland.

“I know I will be able to [take Tyson’s power],” Paul said. “I’m a natural-born heavyweight. … I’m gonna show Mike who has more power. I think he’s underestimating me, I think everyone else is underestimating me.”

The two were largely respectful of each other, often choosing to praise rather than belittle the other. It was a far cry from Tyson’s press conferences in his prime, and he hardly seemed to be taking it too seriously, cracking jokes rather than insults. Tyson and Paul smiled as they faced off for the first time, with Tyson throwing a few playful jabs at Paul.

(l-r); Katie Taylor, Mike Tyson and Jake Paul and Amanda Serrano, posing for a photo during a press conference at the Apollo Theater on their upcoming matches on July 20. Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

Clearly, they both know they’re about to make each other a lot of money.

But Tyson delivered one stern warning Paul’s way. Once the punches start flying, will he revert back to his old self?

“I really like Jake a lot,” Tyson said. “But once he’s in that ring, he’s gotta fight like his life is depending on it. Because it will be.”

Source link