Mike Tyson envisions close fight

Updated: March 19, 2012, 8:41 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Mike Tyson believes today's fighters view themselves more as businessmen than boxers, which may be why Tyson is convinced that the sport's top two draws ultimately will square off.

Tyson wouldn't pick a winner in a potential Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao blockbuster, but he did say it wouldn't be a one-sided bout.

"Absolutely, I'm interested in seeing two equally competitive fighters fight," Tyson said Monday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "That's going to be a fight, not no blowout ...

"I just believe they're going to have a fight at some time. If they don't fight, that's the question mark of their era. What happened?"

There have been several reported obstacles to the bout, including Mayweather's demand for enhanced drug testing for Pacquiao, purse splits and bad blood between the camps.

Tyson, who is promoting his upcoming live Las Vegas variety show, isn't blaming either fighter for delaying the bout.

"They're two fighters, they should be able to do what they want to do," Tyson said. "We as fans want to see them fight, but if they're not happy, not comfortable fighting, they should be entitled to do what they want.

"I want to see the guys fight, and they know we want to see them fight and are going to pay as much as they ask us to see them. Until it happens, we don't know what's going to happen."

Some believe Mayweather is ducking Pacquiao, and blame him for the delay. But Tyson is a Mayweather fan.

"I don't know what Floyd thinks about this situation," Tyson said. "Maybe this is his strategy. Maybe he's waiting Pacquiao out. Who knows?

"I think he's awesome. He's just a young guy, caught up in ... this is a serious, vicious system that we're in, this boxing business. And it's just tough."

Tyson, who became the youngest heavyweight champ in history in 1986 at the age of 20, seemed to be channeling some of his own experiences in describing what Mayweather may be facing. Tyson's meteoric rise was followed by a precipitous fall, including a prison stint for rape and severe financial woes.

Tyson I just believe they're going to have a fight at some time. If they don't fight, that's the question mark of their era. What happened?

-- Mike Tyson

Mayweather was sentenced to 90 days in jail for a domestic violence case. The sentence was postponed until June so Mayweather could fight Miguel Cotto on on May 5.

"He must have some trust issues," Tyson said of Mayweather. "He has to have trust issues. Because wow. You have your friends around you, but when you really think about the situation, you really don't know anybody. You don't know anyone good enough, that well, even our family members. I don't know. Money is a strong motivator for deception. Just from my experience.

"It might have changed. Everybody must love each other now," Tyson added, laughing. "We don't do that stuff. We don't rip off our friends no more. Only 20 years ago, 25 years ago. They stopped that."

Meanwhile, tax officials in the Philippines have filed a criminal complaint against Pacquiao for failure to submit documents to investigators looking into his tax returns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.