Mayweather, who calls himself TBE — The Best Ever, caused a stir when he explained why he thought he was better than his two compatriots, who are often cited as one and two on the all-time list of boxers, during an outburst in the lead up to tonight’s megafight with Manny Pacquiao.
The 38-year-old is currently unbeaten in 47 fights and could define his legacy with a victory over his Filipino rival at the MGM Grand Garden tonight. Mayweather insists that body of work is enough proof that he is the No.1 fighter in history.
But Tyson, whose own career was defined by some huge nights here at the MGM, says Mayweather is way off the mark.
“He’s very delusional,” the 48-year-old said. “He can’t listen. If he was anywhere near that realm of greatness of Ali, he would be able to take his children to school by himself. He can’t take his kids to school by himself — and he’s talking about he’s great? Greatness is not guarding yourself from the people, greatness is being accepted by the people. He can’t take his kids alone to school by himself — he’s a little scared man. He’s a very small, scared man.”
But despite that scathing assessment, Tyson thinks his compatriot could end the Fight of the Century by stopping his Filipino rival inside the 12-round distance.
The man once dubbed The Baddest Man on the Planet is an expert in knocking people unconscious after winning his first 19 fights by stoppage. He eventually ended his career with an 80% KO ratio.
And although Mayweather carries little of the sort of power which marked Tyson out as one of the most destructive fighters of his generation, ‘Iron Mike’ has seen enough in Mayweather’s s arsenal to foresee an early night.
He said: “At first I said Floyd never knocks anybody out but in this fight it’s possible it could be Floyd who gets the knock-out. People never look at what his strongest assets are as far as his punches. He has a left hook that you can’t see, he doesn’t throw it enough but when he throws it, it’s dangerous.
“He dropped Juan Manuel Marquez with it. It comes out of nowhere like a flash of light but he doesn’t use it enough, In this fight he might use it. It’s blinding, you don’t see it.
“And he does a double right hand that no-one does — I’ve never seen that in my life. He has the arsenal.”
But Tyson also had some words of advice for WBO champion Pacquiao, who is vying to become the first man to ever beat Mayweather in a professional prizefight.
Tyson added: “He has to pressure him, he can’t fight him in the middle of the ring, regardless of his speed or his power, he can’t fight Mayweather in the centre. He has to keep Mayweather thinking, thinking, thinking.
“That’s the purpose of putting pressure on these smart fighters: so they can overthink.
“In my opinion Mayweather is more sophisticated than he is intelligent — it just happens. Intelligence is thinking and this is just a 10th of a second reaction. Pacquiao has been beaten but he’s war-ready. He’s hardened and he’s ready for anything.”