Why did Mike Tyson never fight Bob Sapp despite call-out? Looking back at their famed beef

While he’s largely considered a bit of a joke today, ‘The Beast’ wasn’t always seen that way. In fact, in 2003, he was considered not only a massive draw but a top kickboxer and MMA fighter. In K-1, he captured back-to-back wins over the legendary Ernesto Hoost.

Meanwhile, over in PRIDE, he was undefeated, save for a submission loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Given his fame and star power, especially in Japan, a fight with ‘Iron Mike’ would make some sense. After a K-1 decision over Kimo Leopoldo in Las Vegas, Sapp called out Tyson.

Mike Tyson was in attendance that night, charging the ring. Luckily the two didn’t get into a full-blown fight, but things were still intense. Sapp and Tyson shouted over how the bout would go, as the boxer wanted it to be held in the boxing ring.

Mike Tyson was rumored to go up against a long list of big names when he first announced his comeback last year. Although he ended up facing Roy Jones Jr., several fantasy matchups had allured the combat community before ‘Captain Hook’ bagged the final deal. Renowned MMA fighter Bob Sapp appeared to be one of the many viable opponents for Mike Tyson for a brief period back in the day.

Following a win at K-1 in 2003, Sapp had publicly called out Tyson who was live in attendance. While the potential matchup grabbed a lot of attention, it didn’t come to fruition. Now, Mike Tyson has revealed exactly why he didn’t end up facing Sapp.

Speaking on his HotBoxin podcast, Mike Tyson said, “I don’t know, because so many people used to ask and so many people wanted like this.”

“They put out who you want Mike to fight? and they. Roy was one, Holyfield was one, Lennox was one.”

However, the fight could have happened back in 2003 when Tyson was still active. He fought for the next two years before calling it a day. It was clear that the heavyweight boxer had passed his prime by then. However, his extraordinary stardom could have staged a mega-fight with Bob Sapp, which ultimately never happened.

Seventeen years later, Tyson returned and amused several veteran fighters again. Starting from active pugilists like Tyson Fury to several UFC fighters, many people expressed their desire to compete against ‘Iron’. But none of them could bag the deal. Akin to Sapp, Roy Jones Jr. was also looked at as a potential opponent for ‘The Baddest Man on The Planet’, in the late 90s. So, it topped the race amongst all.

Will we ever see Mike Tyson vs Bob Sapp?

It’s bizarre to even picture the fight happening at this stage. 55-year-old Tyson had claimed to be fighting again after his draw against Jones Jr. But 47-year-old Sapp might not want that scrap anymore.

While Shannon Briggs, Evander Holyfield, and several others have taken the chance to call out Tyson, there has been almost no effort from Bob Sapp. Meanwhile, Tyson hasn’t guaranteed to appear in action again. He has only hinted at the possibility. So, it leaves a very narrow window for the Sapp vs Tyson fantasy matchup to come to fruition.

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