The famed boxing champ appeared on Michael Rapaport’s I Am Rapaport Stereo Podcast where he touched on Ali’s final title fight at age 38 against WBC champion Larry Holmes in 1980.
“Splendid fighter. Great left jab,” Tyson says of Holmes.
“But what made him more special than anything was the internal fortitude. He was tough as nails. He got knocked down, he’d get back up and he’d fight you to the death. You know what I mean? And he got that from Ali — he was Ali’s sparring partner.
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“This is the thing about Ali, when we were watching him get beat up as an old man — even when I was a young kid — he’s not going to quit, you’ve got to kill him. He won’t quit.
“He was getting beat up every round, he had the s*** kicked out of him by Larry Holmes.
“Is the champ done? No, come on, let me out. They wouldn’t stop. He had to stand up there and take the beating like a man. He wouldn’t quit.
“In that way I respect the guy so much. I have so much admiration for the guy. So much, but it’s just not right to do that as a human being. Just say, ‘It’s over. I’ll come back another day. It’s over. You got me’.
“I always like to think I’m a bad motherf***er. A vicious motherf***er. I don’t give a f***, but that’s the part where he, Ali, overshines me, because I can’t understand a man that’s willing to die for this. I talked the s***, but he’s the real deal.”
Tyson then freezes mid-sentence as the clearly becomes overwhelmed with emotion.
Rapaport then asks why he feels so emotional about the subject and Tyson replies, “Ali is a giant.”
“There’s no way other fighters can match him. He’d die for this s***. I’m not going to die for this. That’s real talk. Ali is a savage, he’s an animal. He’s a different breed of person. He’s not like us.”
Scroll up and watch the moment via the clip above.