Beyond Muhammad Ali: The Heavyweights Who Ignited Mike Tyson’s Aspirations

Heavyweight boxing icon, Mike Tyson, has always had the utmost respect for Muhammad Ali, often praising the three-time world champion for both his abilities inside of the ring and his character outside of it.

However, despite his love for ‘The Greatest’, Tyson has admitted that he never aspired to be like Ali.

Known worldwide as ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’, Tyson has famously shown his emotional side when speaking of Ali, claiming that God was ‘showing off’ when he created the Sportsman of the Century (Sports Illustrated).

But Tyson claims he never wanted to be like his hero because he didn’t come from the same world. Instead he looked more towards the ‘ferocious’ Sonny Liston and Jack Dempsey for inspiration.

“I didn’t want to be like Muhammad Ali, because Muhammad Ali didn’t come from the world that I came from. I came from filth and scum and sewage, so I wanted to be mean like Sonny Liston and Jack Dempsey. I wanted to be ferocious, I wanted to kill you with my stare. I wasn’t like Muhammad Ali, I love and respect Muhammad Ali, but Muhammad Ali is not like me.”

“Much like Tyson, both Liston and Dempsey were feared by other fighters in the division throughout the course of their careers, with Dempsey’s punch power and Liston’s otherworldly aura striking each of their opponents with dread upon stepping into the ring.”

It’s safe to say that Tyson was successful in his attempts to reach the heights that the pair achieved, with many considering him as one of the most terrifying heavyweights of all-time, as well as one of the greatest.

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