Evander Holyfield insists he bears no ill will towards Mike Tyson after his heavyweight rival signed a deal to fight Roy Jones Jr.
Iron Mike has teased a potential return to the ring over the course of the last two months and Holyfield looked set to follow suit and face his old rival for a third time.
The pair exchanged digs and have both regularly posted clips of them in training ahead of a potential trilogy fight, but Holyfield will now have to wait his turn with Tyson set to face former Super Middleweight king Jones Jr on September 12.
‘Mike may have wanted another exhibition before fighting me,’ Holyfield told BoxingScene.com.
‘By him doing this, it may mess up a future one [against me]. We’d talked about it, but there was nothing solid on paper. We knew we wanted to do it first. When you do it second, people are going to judge how the first one is.
‘Fans may not want to see it again once you stink up the place. It comes down to, ‘does he really want to fight me?’ Everybody wants to see me and him do it, so what is he doing?’
Asked whether he felt Tyson had ducked him, he added: ‘I can’t speculate. Whatever happened has happened. I was only dealing with one person. I’ll call my guy and see what we choose to do.
‘It’s not like [a Tyson bout] was a guarantee. People do what they choose to do. I don’t have a problem with people choosing and making a decision based on what direction they want to go in.
‘That’s fine with me. We just have to move on. I have no problems. We’re OK with it. I’m not upset. There is no reason to be upset. I wish him well.’
Despite the setback, Holyfield has not totally discounted the possibility of earning another shot at Tyson down the line and will press ahead with his plans to return to the ring with Ridick Bowe another potential opponent.
He said: ‘I don’t know. It just all depends. He looked good [in the training videos]. Right now, everything is OK with me. No problem. I’ll do it because I want to do it. That’s just the way it is. I’ll do what I have to do.
‘I’m still going to do mine and get the practice, too,” said Holyfield. “I have quite a few opponents that we’re looking at. I don’t want anyone holding me to something that may not come through.
‘I’ve been training [before they reached out about a potential Tyson fight]. I’m not training because of Mike. I train because that’s what I do. I try to maintain good health and physique. I’m not going to burn myself out thinking ‘when is it going to happen?”
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