EVANDER HOLYFIELD did not push Mike Tyson into a trilogy of fights because he didn’t want to ‘bully’ him into a comeback scrap.
The 58-year-old will be the latest high-profile name to dust off his gloves when he takes on Kevin McBride on June 5.
But before agreeing to take on the 47-year-old Irishman, Holyfield was locked in negotiations with his old foe.
Holyfield won the WBA heavyweight title from Tyson in 1996 before Iron Mike was famously disqualified for biting his opponent’s ear in the rematch seven months later.
Speaking to SunSport, Holyfield admitted how big-money talks with Tyson collapsed even when it seemed like a done deal.
He said: “They started about talking about a fight and how much money I could possibly get.
“So they made it kind of interesting that possibly a fight between Mike and I could be a big one.
“And with the Covid situation, people are looking for things to watch at home and all that, and with the amount of money they were talking about paying me to do an exhibition, I thought, ‘Oh wow, OK.’
“So I told them I was interested, but I didn’t want to ask Mike myself because I have beaten Mike twice and I think if I asked him myself it would make me kind of a bully trying to fight somebody that I have beaten twice already.
“But if somebody got him to call me and he said he wants to do it then I would.
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“His people talked two different times. I don’t necessarily think that was him that pulled out.
“I think in general, like you say, it was a lot of money.
“And so when you’ve got a lot of money, you’ve got all these different people with you and they start thinking about how they could get their money. So, of course , it’s not going to be that way.”
Despite his age, Holyfield is not short of confidence ahead of his comeback.
And it is no suprise having reigned as undisputed champ at cruiserweight and heavyweight. He is also the only four-time world heavyweight champion.
Holyfield made it no secret of his desire to reignite negotiations with Tyson if he brushes aside McBride.
He added: “I will say this: with me I’m the only first four-time heavyweight champion of the world.
“I’ve been undefeated in the cruiserweight, and heavyweight.
“I’m the only person who has been undisputed in both these divisions. So I have been the first to do this, great things, I know I’m good.
“I’m precautious. I’m not going up against somebody who is 22, 30 or 35.
“I’m going up against Kevin McBride who is in his late 40s. Whole thing is it’s a good match up. I will beat him.
“As for Mike Tyson, like I said, if he wants to do it, I will still fight him.”