Boxing legend Mike Tyson has paid tribute to his idol Muhammad Ali on social media with an incredible throwback photo.
As a young up-and-comer, former undisputed heavyweight king Tyson idolized The Greatest – watching his legendary career on TV and on old videos.
Tyson still holds the late Ali – who passed away in June 2016 – in the highest regard and further expressed his admiration for the sporting icon by uploading an old photo of himself to Instagram.
Her accompanying caption read: “Still a fan @muhammadali #thegreatest.”
A 14-year-old Tyson saw his hero in action in the final fight of his career in 1980, pitting him against then-WBC Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes.
Ali, a 38-year-old, was beaten by a brutal Holmes before retiring at the end of the tenth round.
Tyson – who had been involved in a Vegas fight with his mentor Cus D’Amato – was heartbroken, saying: “I was outraged at how badly he beat Ali.
“When we went home to the Catskill [about an hour from Albany]No one in the car said a word, we were all very upset.”
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But little did Iron Mike know that he would be talking to his hero on the phone the very next day.
Tyson said: “He said to Ali, ‘I have this little black kid who’s going to be the heavyweight champion someday and I want you to talk to him.
In that phone call, a young Tyson vows to take revenge on Holmes—which he destroyed eight years later.
He told Ali: “When I grow up, I will fight Holmes and I will bring him back for you.”
For decades, boxing fans have wondered how a fight between a Prime Ali and a Prime Tyson would be.
Ali is the most competitive fighter ever
Mike Tyson on Muhammad Ali
But for Tyson, the answer to the frequently asked question is simple.
He told Yahoo Sports: “I know it’s a fantasy sport.
“Most likely I’ll win the fantasy, but I won’t win the real fight. Ali is the greatest of all time.”
Tyson is considered by many to be the most brutal fighter in the history of the sport, but he believes Ali’s tenacity was much more than that.
In 2016, he told GQ: “He’ll fight you to the end. He’s really game, like pitbull or f*****g cock.
“But he looked more like a model in his prime! He looked more like a model than a fighter.
“He was just a dead-game guy. He was dead-game. He was too proud. He refused to give up.”
He added: “Ali is the most competitive fighter ever.”
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