Former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield has said he is open to facing one-time rival Mike Tyson in a trilogy fight for charity on the condition that Tyson asks for the bout to be set up.
Tyson, 53, fought two epic bouts with Holyfield, 57, during their professional careers, including their controversial 1997 encounter in which Tyson bit off a chunk of Holyfield’s ear.
‘Iron Mike’ had released several training videos in recent weeks fuelling speculation he could be returning to the ring, while Holyfield announced his return for a charity bout on Instagram earlier this month.
“If I ask him it’s almost like me being a bully saying I want to go against somebody I’ve beaten twice,” Holyfield told the BBC. “I don’t want pressure on me that ‘you just want to fight Mike because you know you can beat him’.
“If he hits me I’m going to hit back. I’m going to be 58, he’ll be 54, you talk about being in good health and doing things the proper way that respects it. I don’t have no problem with it.”
Tyson, the first heavyweight to hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, retired after a loss to Kevin McBride in 2005, while Holyfield called time on his career nine years later.
If they do return, they will be following in the footsteps of Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao in coming out of retirement for an exhibition fight.
British promoter Eddie Hearn meanwhile says he would probably like to seeTyson fight again but has questioned whether boxing should be encouraging a 53-year-old to get back in the ring.
Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion of all time when he beat Trevor Berbick in 1986 aged 20.
“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.”