Mike Tyson ‘didn’t want anything to do with boxing’ in 2003 when Roy Jones Jr tried to set up £33m heavyweight fight
Roy Jones, a former middleweight champion, made the unprecedented step up to heavyweight 17 years ago to win the WBA title against John Ruiz.
Afterwards he insisted only facing Iron Mike would keep him in the blue ribbon division.
But he claims Tyson’s lack of passion for boxing led to the super-fight collapsing.
Jones told Luke Thomas: “I tried right then but he said he didn’t want anything to do with boxing.
“Because he said he was through with boxing – I don’t want to fight a guy who’s not got boxing in his heart.
“If I beat him back then, after he said he was through with boxing, I’m not beating the best Mike Tyson.”
Jones would make the ill-fated decision to move back down to light-heavyweight, where he beat rival Antonio Tarver.
Andre Ward, who had the same manager as the four-division champ, said Jones turned down £33m to face Tyson, believing he could come back to the heavyweight headliner after Tarver.
But the American great would be knocked out in the rematch and then lose the trilogy, never looking the same legendary fighter after leaving heavyweight.
Tyson fought just once in 2003, beating Clifford Etienne.
But he would lose twice consecutively before retiring 2005.
In the years following Jones, 51, continued to box, only retiring in 2018 aged 49.
But he and Tyson – who has not fought in 15 years – will come out of retirement to box in an eight-round exhibition on September 12.