Boxing great Mike Tyson has shrugged off worries about his safety from former champion George Foreman and ignored a ruling by bosses that no knockout will be allowed when he meets Roy Jones Jr, claiming he wants an early finish.
Tyson appeared to contradict the rules of his eight-round exhibition against Jones Jr on September 12, which the California State Athletic Commission has said will not be allowed to culminate in a knockout, by promising to "seek and destroy" fellow celebrated veteran Jones Jr.
The 54-year-old has looked sharp and powerful on the pads in training clips as he prepares to take on the Russian-American who last won a belt in 2018 and was a world champion in four weights in his prime.
"If the opportunity comes, I'm always looking for it," Tyson admitted about the prospect of knocking out his rival, speaking to TMZ.
"The fighting game is what I'm about and hurting people is what I'm about. We're both professionals, we know how to handle ourselves and whatever happens, happens."
Jones Jr, who is three years younger than his opponent, warned Tyson that an early finish would offer his only chance of victory. "If he doesn’t kill quick, he's got problems on his hands," he explained. "If he doesn’t get it quick, his ass belongs to me."
Commission executive Andy Foster appeared to quell concerns over a possible ferocious ending to the fight.
"This isn’t a situation where they’re going out there to try to take each other’s heads off," he insisted to Yahoo shortly after the hotly-anticipated scrap was announced last week.
"They’re just going to be in there moving around the ring and letting fans see these legends."
Two-time heavyweight champion Foreman said the bout could be "really dangerous" and revealed that he had been talked out of one last return to the ring when he was 55, conceding that it was "death to a fighter to realize you're never gonna fight anymore."
"There's a time when you've got to worry about your health," said the ex-contender to fight Tyson, having returned from a 10-year absence at the age of 38 and become heavyweight king again at 45 before, only retiring when he was 48.
"You can't tell them, 'don't do it.' They're not gonna hear that. Even me – big fool like me, back in the day, I only saw what I wanted to see."
Tyson has admitted that he has found his intense training sessions painful but played down Foreman's fears ahead of his first fight in more than 15 years.
"Don't worry about us," he said. "[George] wasn't worried about getting hurt when he went on his tour of coming back and fighting."Also on rt.com 'I'm an ANNIHILATOR': Mike Tyson insists he's the best fighter since 'conception of GOD' but admits his ego is 'f*cking' with him