Possible Tyson return raises questions for promoter Hearn

WBA Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield (right) connects to the jaw of challenger Mike Tyson in the first round of their title fight June 28, 1997.
WBA Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield (right) connects to the jaw of challenger Mike Tyson in the first round of their title fight June 28, 1997.
Image: Gary Hershorn

British promoter Eddie Hearn says he would probably like to see former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson fight again but has questioned whether boxing should be encouraging a 53-year-old to get back in the ring.

Tyson, who became the youngest heavyweight champion of all time when he beat Trevor Berbick in 1986 aged 20, caught the attention of the boxing world by posting training videos on Instagram and has said he was considering exhibition bouts to raise money for charity.

"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."

Meanwhile, former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield has released a training video on Twitter, fuelling speculation that he could come out of retirement to face one-time rival Tyson in the ring.

Tyson, the first heavyweight to hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, has released several training videos of his own in recent weeks, with the most recent on Monday ending with the message, "I'm back".

Tyson fought two epic bouts with the 57-year-old Holyfield during their professional careers, including their controversial 1997 encounter in which Tyson bit off a chunk of Holyfield's ear.

"My first week back in the gym and I feel great," Holyfield, the only four-time heavyweight champion in boxing history, said on Twitter.

"I'm looking forward to stepping up my training sessions and intensity as I prepare for my fight."

Holyfield had announced his return to the ring for a charity bout on Instagram last week.

"I'd like to announce that I will be making a comeback to the ring," he said. "I'm training to promote a charity that's very close to me.

"Our #Unite4OurFight campaign aims to fill the void the pandemic has created on access to resources our youth needs for emotional development and education."

Tyson 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.

- Reuters